2008-02-24

Nvidia closed binary driver

I remember back in the days, when I bought my first nvidia card (GeForce 2) , the linux 'nv' open source driver was actually pretty great for 2D stuff. Everything painted very fast. The only problem was the lack of 3D acceleration. There was the closed source, binary 'nividia' driver out there. It was very good for 3D stuff, but was actually slightly worse than the open source driver for 2D; when switching workspaces I could notice that the new workspace took longer to appear than with the open source driver.

Now fast forward to 2008. The nvidia closed binary has gotten better at everything, even 2D is pretty fast. However, because the nvidia driver is split into a userspace part (xorg driver) and a kernel module, and the versions have to match between xorg driver and kernel module, I find myself not able to run it if I want to boot with an older kernel. I switch to the open source 'nv' driver, but I am finding it surprisingly slow, much slower than it was back in the day when I had a GeForce 2 (now I have a GeForce 6700). Everything seems sluggish now. It's a pain to have to use this driver now.

So what happened to the nv driver? Maybe this is what the linux kernel guys were afraid of, that when using binary closed drivers with linux becomes easy then the open source alternative might begin to bitrot. Well, but it's not like linux users ever had any real choice. In the mean time I sure hope the nouveau effort comes through!

1 comment:

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