nVidia BLOB driver

Michal Varga varga.michal at gmail.com
Tue Apr 19 12:46:01 UTC 2011

On Tue, 2011-04-19 at 13:44 +0200, O. Hartmann wrote:
> I have some questions about the state of the x11/nvidia-driver.
> At the moment, the "stable" driver is beyond version number 260.XX, but 
> FreeBSD's port contain only version 256.53. Is there a reason why there 
> is no more recent version in the ports?

I cannot speak for the port maintainer, obviously, but no, there isn't
(also this has been asked few times in the past with very little in the
term of answers, if any). Anyway, me and some other people I know, have
been always using the latest Nvidia drivers, usually right from day one
they're released (and there have been tons of important bugfixes since
256.53 so not like it's out of boredom) and unless you run into issues
that specifically affect you (this is by my knowledge extremely rare,
but obviously, your own mileage may vary), there is no reason not to,
even in case your goal is "only" a support for a new board (as if in
that case you had any other option).

> The next question is about a problem with nVidia NV560Ti boards. The
> ar not supported yet by any "official" driver, even not by any Linux
> BLOB, but there seems to be a "Beta" driver that already has support
> for this kind of board. Are the efforts and costs too high to provide
> a BETA driver, like x11/nvidia-driver-beta?

With regard to "Beta" drivers, they're as much official as they can be,
and again, even if based just on my experience, you have very little to
be afraid of (just in case you haven't tried already and are somehow
discouraged by the beta flag). In the worst case scenario, if you find
the beta driver not working (would be the first time for me in a
decade), you can easily roll back an earlier, or any other, version (see
further below).

With speed that FreeBSD port of Nvidia drivers usually gets updated
(read: this speed is almost approaching the speed of moving backwards in
time), there is probably very little point in asking for another
x11/nvidia-driver-beta branch, as those are usually relevant only for
days, or weeks in the worst case, and either get further fixed (if there
is still something to fix), or soon promoted to stable.

So in case you're only looking for a more recent version of nvidia
drivers as the port currently has (as I'm not going to argue about port
maintainer's politics, whatever the current 'reasons' for not updating
are), you can easily edit the port's Makefile and substitute the version
for any other you want. Nvidia drivers very rarely change in terms of
file structure and at this point in time (and for the past few years
actually), the worst thing you're risking is leaving a few stale files
behind between upgrades because of the possibility of outdated
pkg-plists (and this is almost non-issue on its own).

In any case - just edit your "/usr/ports/x11/nvidia-driver/Makefile"

and replace DISTVERSION with either 270.26 (has support for your board),
or the currently latest (not yet properly listed on the site) 270.41.03:

DISTVERSION?=   270.41.03


# cd /usr/ports/x11/nvidia-driver/
# make makesum
# portupgrade -vfu nvidia-driver

And you're done. For a time.


Michal Varga,
Stonehenge (Gmail account)

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