Video Card for FreeBSD 9.0 (RC2) AMD64
matt at chronos.org.uk
Wed Dec 14 14:08:39 UTC 2011
On Tuesday 13 Dec 2011 22:21:55 Dieter BSD wrote:
> Matt writes:
> > [The n]Vidia binary blob and the support from nVidia on the forums
> > is generally accepted as a best-effort endeavour.
> Binary blobs are completely unacceptable, and there are multiple
> good reasons for this.
There are advantages and disadvantages. I've already given one example
of a binary blob that is integrated into the kernel for pragmatic
reasons. There was ath_hal for a while. I'm sure if I look a bit
harder, I'll find some more. iwi(4) springs immediately to mind. It's
all down to weighing up the pros and cons. It's easy to become
polarised on this issue but it really doesn't help when you are
sitting in front of a box that you require certain functionality from
that is sitting there flipping you the digital bird and stubbornly
refusing to fulfil its general purpose computing remit.
Given the choice between the not-quite-fully-derrierred OSS support of
the Radeon  and Intel integrated devices coupled with lagging
behind in the DRI2/KMS/GEM/TTM/Gallium alphabet-soup-eating contest
due to other OS bias within X.org or the excellent quality of the
nVidia 64 bit driver it's a no-brainer, especially when the portion of
the driver that has the most potential for freedom and privacy
breaches is supplied as source. I, for one, am not prepared to abandon
FreeBSD over these issues, so a compromise was necessary.
Christian Zander was very open and approachable while the amd64 driver
was being developed and worked closely with the community to see that
goal come to fruition. He also did an interview for the BSDtalk
podcast to discuss the importance of FreeBSD support at nVidia.
> Do we really need to rehash this over and over again?
No, no we don't. We pragmatists will continue to run what fits the
purpose best for as long as the option is available and the idealists
will continue to complain when they'd be better served by a release
from that other OS such as gnewsense (a *very* apt name indeed) or
similar that emphasises politics over function. There's no need for a
discussion at all unless it's to point out to people such as the OP
that there are options.
Here in the FreeBSD world, such decisions are made by the user or
sysadmin. It is never going to be the default but it will be made
available as painlessly as possible for those who wish to use it.
That's the key factor: Choice. We have it, it's not going away and
nobody is holding a gun to anyone's head. It fits very nicely into the
BSD ethos: Here's some software. Use or use not, there is no pressure.
 I have three Radeon X850XT cards here which were, until the r600
import, the fastest 3D cards supported by FreeBSD's DRI subsystem.
While they worked, FSVO "work," the humble GF 210 wipes the floor with
them in terms of stability, ease of maintenance and functionality.
 I'm not just blindly ranting, nor am I a fanboy; I have been
through the gamut of graphics support on FreeBSD. if you want to know
just how thoroughly I went into this, I wrote a full Handbook chapter
on DRI a couple of years ago but didn't submit it due to it rapidly
becoming outdated. You can view that here and make your own mind up:
matt at chronos.org.uk
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