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Old 12-31-2010, 07:48 PM
 
Default Stupid consumers and inferior hardware

On Fri, 31 Dec 2010 15:08:27 -0500
Doug <dmcgarrett@optonline.net> wrote:

> On 12/31/2010 12:50 PM, briand@aracnet.com wrote:
> > On Thu, 30 Dec 2010 10:03:24 -0500 (EST)
> > Stephen Powell<zlinuxman@wowway.com> wrote:
> >
> >> Manufacturers are not doing this because the consumer wants it.
> >> They are doing it to cut costs.
> /snip/
> > they get away with it because most people run windows, the mfr
> > provides the driver, and when it breaks, people expect it because
> > it's windows.
> >
> /snip/
> > You will always be in trouble with hardware under Linux because of
> > the lack of mfr's drivers, and when they do provide drivers they are
> > generally binary objects, e.g. NVIDIA.
> >
> > It's very frustrating, so I for one appreciate your rant :-)
> >
> > Brian
> >
> >
> Why does it bother you that the driver is a binary? Are you
> qualified to modify it if you had the source code? Certainly 99% of
> us are not, nor would we want to if we could. In the immortal words
> of Anne Landers, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
>
> (I, for one, am very happy that NVIDIA provides the driver. I just
> installed a card with their GeForce code in it, and I needed the
> driver.)
>

Having NVIDIA supply the driver, especially the accelerated 3D driver
is, of course, better than nothing.

yes i am capable of modifying drivers, and have done so, although
not for video. however, making the source accessible speeds the fixing
of bugs and generally makes the driver more robust.

having source means not (necessarily) having to wait on nvidia to apply
a patch. sometimes patches to fix a problem are very simple and even
somebody not that familiar with the subsystem in question can fix it.
when the graphic card, or any other hardware, gets old enough which is
common for MANY linux systems, nvidia will stop fixing bugs completely
for old cards. planned obscelence and all that.

so having NVIDIA provide support is a good thing, but I think it's
perfectly ok to be bothered by the fact that source is not available.
don't forget you are discussing a video card. why do companies keep
source "secret" for their old tech 10/100 cards. why do old tech, been
around for 1000000 years cards have bugs in the first place ? They
have bugs because they rev the silicon to save 0.005 on the price of
the chip and then don't tell anybody. why don't they tell anybody ?
because you're getting a binary driver from them for windows.

lack of robustness is due to cost cutting and general ass-hattery on
the part of the mfrs. it will always be thus unless source is
available, or even better, open hardware.


Brian


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Old 12-31-2010, 08:14 PM
Klistvud
 
Default Stupid consumers and inferior hardware

Dne, 31. 12. 2010 21:08:27 je Doug napisal(a):

On 12/31/2010 12:50 PM, briand@aracnet.com wrote:

On Thu, 30 Dec 2010 10:03:24 -0500 (EST)
Stephen Powell<zlinuxman@wowway.com> wrote:

Manufacturers are not doing this because the consumer wants it.
They

are doing it to cut costs.

/snip/
they get away with it because most people run windows, the mfr
provides
the driver, and when it breaks, people expect it because it's
windows.



/snip/
You will always be in trouble with hardware under Linux because of
the

lack of mfr's drivers, and when they do provide drivers they are
generally binary objects, e.g. NVIDIA.

It's very frustrating, so I for one appreciate your rant :-)

Brian


Why does it bother you that the driver is a binary? Are you
qualified to
modify it if you had the source code? Certainly 99% of us are not,
nor

would we want to if we could. In the immortal words of Anne Landers,
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"


Precisely the problem. I had this problem with at least two pieces of
hardware:
- a Belkin PCMCIA wireless card that lost any support about 2 years
after I purchased it. No Windows after XP support it. As opposed to
that, I can easily make it work in Debian via ndiswrapper. Now just
imagine if that driver wasn't binary: Linux volunteers would probably
support it for another 10-20 years.
- the in-built Broadcom wireless card in my laptop. Has been having
problems from the very beginning. Uses a binary blob. In my experience,
if there was no binary blob, and the development was handed over to the
Linux community, the card would probably work without a hitch.


Just my 2. YMMV

I just don't TRUST proprietary developers.

--
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Klistvud
http://bufferoverflow.tiddlyspot.com
Certifiable Loonix User #481801 Please reply to the list, not to
me.



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Old 12-31-2010, 09:50 PM
Brian
 
Default Stupid consumers and inferior hardware

On Fri 31 Dec 2010 at 15:08:27 -0500, Doug wrote:

> Why does it bother you that the driver is a binary? Are you qualified to
> modify it if you had the source code?

Maybe he could; maybe he couldn't. But somebody could.

> Certainly 99% of us are not, nor would we want to if we could.

Really?

> In the immortal words of Anne Landers, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

'Tis the season of non sequiturs.

> (I, for one, am very happy that NVIDIA provides the driver. I just
> installed a card with their GeForce code in it, and I needed the driver.)

Everyone else is happy for you too.


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Old 01-01-2011, 12:33 AM
John Jason Jordan
 
Default Stupid consumers and inferior hardware

On Fri, 31 Dec 2010 12:48:06 -0800
<briand@aracnet.com> dijo:

>On Fri, 31 Dec 2010 15:08:27 -0500
>Doug <dmcgarrett@optonline.net> wrote:

>> > You will always be in trouble with hardware under Linux because of
>> > the lack of mfr's drivers, and when they do provide drivers they
>> > are generally binary objects, e.g. NVIDIA.

>> Why does it bother you that the driver is a binary? Are you
>> qualified to modify it if you had the source code? Certainly 99% of
>> us are not, nor would we want to if we could.
> >
>> (I, for one, am very happy that NVIDIA provides the driver. I just
>> installed a card with their GeForce code in it, and I needed the
>> driver.)

>Having NVIDIA supply the driver, especially the accelerated 3D driver
>is, of course, better than nothing.
>
>yes i am capable of modifying drivers, and have done so, although
>not for video. however, making the source accessible speeds the fixing
>of bugs and generally makes the driver more robust.
>
>having source means not (necessarily) having to wait on nvidia to apply
>a patch.

It will be a long time before I install an nVidia proprietary driver
again.

1)
I have a Thinkpad T61 with nVidia Quadro NVS 140M. I needed to do a
presentation and the projector was capable of 1400x1050. For reasons
not worth bothering with here, I needed every pixel I could get. I had
been using the nouveau driver since installing the OS a year ago, but
couldn't get it to give me the full resolution from the projector. I
installed the nVidia driver instead, but it wouldn't work well either.
Finally, I discovered how to get the proper resolution using the
nouveau driver, so I uninstalled nVidia's driver and reinstalled
nouveau. Going back to nouveau turned out to be a major PITA. I finally
got the nouveau driver working again, and then later discovered that
Fontmatrix, ksysguard, VirtualBox and Avidemux would not launch. The
error message is that they are looking for an nVidia library. I have
spent hours trying to figure out what makes those apps think there is
an nVidia library, but have not yet succeeded. I reinstalled the nVidia
driver and then the apps will launch, but I have to boot to safe mode
and startx separately or it hangs on boot (two competing drivers). At
the moment I am running the nouveau driver and hoping I won't need one
of those apps until I can figure out what happened.

2) I have a desktop that started out with Intrepid, and I installed the
nVidia driver for the GeForce 6150 chip on the motherboard. Everything
was fine until I did several dist-upgrades to Lucid. Afterwards X would
not start. I had to uninstall the proprietary drivers and install the
nouveau drivers to get it to boot normally. I have upgraded dozens of
computers with the nv and nouveau drivers and never had a problem.

I don't generally have a problem with proprietary drivers, but it sure
is easier figuring out and resolving a problem when the driver is open
source.


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Old 01-01-2011, 12:53 AM
Bob Proulx
 
Default Stupid consumers and inferior hardware

John Jason Jordan wrote:
> It will be a long time before I install an nVidia proprietary driver
> again.
> ... so I uninstalled nVidia's driver and reinstalled nouveau. Going
> back to nouveau turned out to be a major PITA. ...
> ... I have spent hours trying to figure out what makes those apps
> think there is an nVidia library,

You didn't say but I think from this I can tell that you installed the
binary nvidia driver using the vendor nvidia installer. Which is
different from installing the non-free Debian packaging of that same
driver.

The vendor installer doesn't track the files and therefore
uninstalling is particularly a problem. There isn't a handle on what
to remove. Unless extreme care is taken it is difficult to get back
to the state from before the installation.

That is one of the big advantages of installing using a package
manager such as dpkg. When uninstalling the package the system state
is returned to the known previous state.

Bob
 
Old 01-01-2011, 07:37 PM
Chris Jones
 
Default Stupid consumers and inferior hardware

On Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 08:33:28PM EST, John Jason Jordan wrote:

[..]

> It will be a long time before I install an nVidia proprietary driver
> again.

When I installed ‘lenny’ on this new laptop, the ‘nv’ driver was the
default. At some point I figured I'd watch some TV news, and I noticed
that the successive frames were not rendered smoothly and that the audio
was unpleasantly lagging. I noticed the same with diverse podcasts and
yotube flsame flash videos.

I proceeded to install the version of the proprietary nvidia driver that
comes with ‘lenny’ and everything I threw at it was just about as smooth
as on my TV.

Am I mistaken in assuming that you now need hardware acceleration for
a pleasant video experience?

I have not tried the ‘nouveau’ driver and have not had the time to
research it and verify how well my card is supported.

I could be wrong but my impression is that due to Nvidia's policies,
support for recent video cards is usually either non-existent or
incomplete (?)

So, depending on your hardware and what you plan to do with it, I'm not
sure you can stay away from proprietary drivers at this point.

cj


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Old 01-02-2011, 10:13 PM
Enrico Weigelt
 
Default Stupid consumers and inferior hardware

* briand@aracnet.com <briand@aracnet.com> schrieb:

> yes i am capable of modifying drivers, and have done so, although
> not for video.

Same for me. It's one of the things I earn my money with.

> having source means not (necessarily) having to wait on nvidia to apply
> a patch. sometimes patches to fix a problem are very simple and even
> somebody not that familiar with the subsystem in question can fix it.
> when the graphic card, or any other hardware, gets old enough which is
> common for MANY linux systems, nvidia will stop fixing bugs completely
> for old cards. planned obscelence and all that.

ACK.

BTW: Nvidia's binary blobs never really worked for me.
(okay, >10yrs ago, the riva128 X-server somehow worked, but badly)
Last time I had the unpleasant experience was on my previous notebook,
the blob kernel module crashed the whole system as soon as X came up.
A little analysis showed up funny things like self-modifying code.

No, these guys simply cannot be trusted. I don't let any proprietary
code into privileged areas (not even speaking of the kernel)
whatsoever. Period.

In recent years I've warned by customers not to buy nvidia stuff
anymore. My little contribution that about 1k of nvidia boards
did not get sold. Not enough for them to care, but if more and more
people do so, they will have to, or get optimized away by the market.

> why do companies keep source "secret" for their old tech 10/100 cards.

That happens when excelsheet jerks rule over things they dont
understand. They simply can't imagine that there're really valid
reasons for some people bying mainframes worth >100k$ which run
seamlessly for decades.

BTW: one of the funniest arguments for not releasing the sources I
got back from NV jerks was the fear that leaks could be found.
Well, seems they *know* how bad their code is ;-o

> They have bugs because they rev the silicon to save 0.005 on the
> price of the chip and then don't tell anybody.

Funny: these excelsheet jerks are really good in calculating the
total of their milicent-per-unit savings, but they dont have the
slightest idea to what damage do themselves with their bad quality.

> lack of robustness is due to cost cutting and general ass-hattery
> on the part of the mfrs. it will always be thus unless source is
> available, or even better, open hardware.

Well, better hardware would probably be the better approach in
the long run. Why does every GPU require its own kernel driver ?
Why can't they simply have one generic hardware interface/protocol
for attaching shared memory and command channels and let the
rest be done via some standardized highlevel language ?

Todays GPUs are so powerful that they can easily render whole
hires 3D scenaries completely on their own, but making them
complete display servers speaking some standard protocol would
be too expensive ? Absurd.


cu
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Old 01-03-2011, 12:41 AM
John Jason Jordan
 
Default Stupid consumers and inferior hardware

On Mon, 3 Jan 2011 00:13:24 +0100
Enrico Weigelt <weigelt@metux.de> dijo:

>> why do companies keep source "secret" for their old tech 10/100
>> cards.
>
>That happens when excelsheet jerks rule over things they dont
>understand. They simply can't imagine that there're really valid
>reasons for some people bying mainframes worth >100k$ which run
>seamlessly for decades.
>
>BTW: one of the funniest arguments for not releasing the sources I
>got back from NV jerks was the fear that leaks could be found.
>Well, seems they *know* how bad their code is ;-o

It has far more to do with the legal department than the coding folks.
These days chips are so complex that it is difficult to design one
without inadvertently infringing on someone else's patent. If the
source code for the driver is available it makes it a lot easier for
competitors to figure out the design of your chip. Keeping the driver
binary and secret makes it a lot harder for them to make legal claims.
And these days suing a competitor into bankruptcy is just as effective
for your bottom line as making a better product at a lower cost. Either
way the competitor is not around any more, and the legal approach is
usually more cost effective than the expense of designing a better and
cheaper product.


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