Poor support for graphic cards

Polytropon freebsd at edvax.de
Tue Sep 15 14:25:43 UTC 2015

On Tue, 15 Sep 2015 15:10:31 +0100, Erik Lauritsen wrote:
> Why does FreeBSD has such poor support for graphic cards?

Support for graphics card (with the intention of "display
graphics") is primarily a thing of X, not of FreeBSD.

> I would never consider using a Nvidia card with a closed source
> driver so I need something other than Nvidia.

I'm using the closed source driver and it works much better
than the alternatives. For nVidia cards, those are "nv" and
"nouveau". Both work fine for usual desktop use, but aren't
fast at 3D (typical use for gaming); this is where the "nvidia"
driver achieves much better results.

In the past, the X supplied driver "ati" worked very good for
ATI cards. I don't know if this is the case today, but I think
I read that the use of ATI cards is somehow discouraged (and
only a subset of cards works sufficiently well).

Additionally, I've been using Intel graphics (in laptops) with
the corresponding driver - works very good as well.

> I have looked at the wiki for supported cards and the list is very small.

Look at X and the documentation of the three "major brands":
nVidia, ATI, Intel. You will see that a _ton_ of cards is
supported. Maybe not all imaginable models, especially the
bleeding edge ones, will be supported similarly.

> Is that because people are simple recommended using Nvidia cards
> with their closed binary driver so it is not considered "that
> important", or is it because of a lack of developers or something
> else?

I can't speak for others, but I may say that I've not chosen
nVidia - it was in the machine, so I only had choice on the
driver, and the closed source driver simply delivered the best
results in comparison. Previously, I've _decided_ to buy ATI,
but that was many years ago. I'm not sure if I can recommend
ATI today simply because of a lack of experience. It's not that
I buy graphics cards every day... :-)

> It makes it almost impossible to run FreeBSD on a desktop with
> video watching capabilities.

Nonsense. You could watch videos with FreeBSD for decades. Has
graphics hardware disimproved that much that it isn't possible
anymore? Sure, I know, the requirements have been increasing
to watch postage stamp sized videos in web browsers, but hey,
this is the year 2015 (still no flying cars though), so if I
tell you that I could watch videos in fullscreen with a 10 years
old ATI card on a FreeBSD 5 system with a singlecore processor
and 512 MB RAM, why shouldn't it be possible today?

Please note that this is my _very individual_ opinion and personal
experience. I'm running FreeBSD exclusively on my home desktop
for gaming, video watching and editing, multimedia, web browsing
and many other things. For more than 10 years now. It's simply
hard for me to believe that something "so normal" could be a
problem with our advanced technology today...

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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