NVIDIA FreeBSD kernel feature requests

Michal Mertl mime at traveller.cz
Sun Jul 2 21:53:45 UTC 2006

Miguel Mendez wrote:
> On Thu, 29 Jun 2006 13:12:31 +0200
> Christian Zander <czander at nvidia.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> I just saw an article on OSNews about this, seems I missed it.
> > NVIDIA has been looking at ways to improve its graphics driver for the
> > FreeBSD i386 platform, as well as investigating the possibility of adding
> > support for the FreeBSD amd64 platform, and identified a number of
> > obstacles. Some progress has been made to resolve them, and NVIDIA would
> Yes, I'll tell you what the obstacle is: Lack of documentation. If you
> guys released the specs of your hardware this wouldn't be a problem.

I think that this reaction wasn't called for. Modern GPUs are
extraordinarily complex HW and to write a decent driver will take
appropriate effort. I understand that open source "infected" people
(like me) prefer having the detailed HW documentation but we shouldn't
refuse the vendor's efforts to provide good driver to us.

I haven't understood much of Mr. Zander's questions but I am pretty sure
some readers did and probably have been talking to him off-list. I also
tend to believe that his requests for features were based on good
understanding of FreeBSD kernel internals (better that mine and probably
also yours) and if we add the features or help him effectively use
what's there everyone will benefit.

> Maybe not for the latest GPUs but I'm sure a lot people would be happy
> if they could use not-so-new NVidia hardware on FreeBSD/amd64. I built
> and AMD64 box from scratch with the sole purpose of running
> FreeBSD/amd64 on it. When it came time to choose the gfx card the choice
> was obvious: Ati Radeon 9250.
> I know that a lot of FreeBSDers are more than happy to have proprietary
> drivers which I personlly won't touch with the proverbial 10 foot
> pole :)
> So please, do tell, is there any _real_ problem with releasing a
> register spec doc for last year's hardware so amd64 users can hope to
> have more than a framebuffer some day? How about the proprietary
> nforce4 chipset?

They well may have reasons not to disclose everything. There is probably
lot of their market success hidden in the full specs. I bet that Mr.
Zanders can't answer the question (and definitely can't decide to give
the specs) anyway.

And - again - it will probably take a couple of very skilled
programmers' years' time to write good driver from scratch. 

> Cheers.

More information about the freebsd-hackers mailing list