Video Card for FreeBSD 9.0 (RC2) AMD64

Doug Barton dougb at
Tue Dec 13 21:07:40 UTC 2011

On 12/13/2011 04:54, Matt Dawson wrote:
> On Monday 12 Dec 2011 19:22:55 Dieter BSD wrote:
>> Full support requires full documentation or full
>> reverse-engineering. nVidia is openly hostile towards FLOSS, I
>> don't expect any documentation from them in the forseeable future.
>>  AMD/ATI is working on documenting their chips, but seems to be
>> concentrating on features for games, and never getting around to
>> UVD (video decode) or GPGPU, etc.  The only fully documented card
>> I know of is the Open Graphics Project's OGP-D1, which is a PCI-X
>> FPGA development card. It has linux drivers, but I suspect it
>> doesn't have support in BSD.
> Just a quick comment on this: One of the reasons I choose FreeBSD over 
> $OTHER_OS is that a lot of us are remarkably free of political 
> encumbrance when we're trying to get things working, ergo the nVidia 
> binary blob and the support from nVidia on the forums is generally 
> accepted as a best-effort endeavour. 
> When you're sitting in the living room setting up and HTPC with SWMBO 
> looking on and making clicking noises and muttering things like "the 
> XBox can already do this stuff" because of your dislike of decisions 
> being imposed by large corporations, the ability to cd 
> /usr/ports/x11/nvidia-driver && make config && make && make install to 
> get something that Just Works [TM] rather than trying to get around 
> other people's political views can be the difference between violent 
> rejection and passive acceptance.
> There are reasons why nVidia cannot release specifications, 
> particularly on their PureVideo technology, which happen to be the 
> same reasons AMD can't release theirs: They don't fully own those 
> technologies. As it stands, I'm resigned to trading off full freedom 
> of code for functionality. The important part, the interface between 
> the kernel and the blob, is fully open in that you can see what passes 
> between the two and ensure there's nothing freedom and privacy 
> threatening going on.
> Idealism is all well and good, but general acceptance in the real 
> world requires a certain amount of compromise. There's another example 
> right in our kernel: The Highpoint RocketRAID (hptrr(4)) driver has a 
> closed binary component. It's right there in the man page for all to 
> see.

Very well said, and I agree 100%. I've been using nvidia exclusively for
many years now, and their support of FreeBSD is one of the reasons why.

The only thing I can add to your excellent text is that some of us in
the FreeBSD community understand the realities of the business world,
and are happy that companies like nvidia are willing to work with us
within those limitations.




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