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Thread: Which Linux Graphics Driver Bugs Do You Hate?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Which Linux Graphics Driver Bugs Do You Hate?

    Phoronix: Which Linux Graphics Driver Bugs Do You Hate?

    This week we received a note from Matthias Dahl, a Phoronix reader, who wanted to remind us about current problems plaguing the NVIDIA 180.xx driver series. Using any of the newer NVIDIA Linux drivers can cause graphics corruption followed by the system locking up...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    Wow, I consider myself lucky then - 8600gt here and it's all working out just fine.

    No real driver bugs either, save for S2 getting a drop in fps sometimes after switching focus. But I can't complain - it's 1% of the linux games that has the basic capability to alt+tab in fullscreen.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009


    I noticed this bug too on Ubuntu. But when I switched to ArchLinux, the problem didn't occur any-more. Maybe it has to do with Ubuntu.

    By the way, I've just registered, this is my first message. Long live to Phoronix !

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    The intarwebs


    Oh, X freezes up every once in a while and I have to Ctrl+Alt+Backspace..
    Aside from that it's hard to know which packages bugs I encounter are actually in; I don't know how polished compiz is right now.. I'm just looking forward to nouveau maturing so when a problem does show up, I know what the heck is going on.

    Third party proprietary drivers are a huge part of the reason Windows sucks so hard, but they'll affect any system that depends on them, really, and it makes me sad to see that be the case..

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009


    The bug that I hate the most is tearing. I see it on videos (with or without Compiz enabled) with my intel 4500MHD. It makes watching video useless on Ubuntu for the moment.
    The worst part is I also have an ATI 3650HD on my laptop, which show the exact same problem with the fglrx driver.

    I don't know maybe I should have bought a laptop with an Nvidia card , well maybe in a few months this problem will be history (either with the intel driver or maybe the radeonhd driver).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    with NVIDIA drivers i've had stability issues with my 8600GTS but not many of my other cards. with fglrx i've had tearing problems and unusable video for a year on my 2600xt. Till recently the 2600xt had unusable video with radeonhd since it didnt have xvideo support for r600 chips.

    sadly the graphics cards that work best are a number of GMA950 based machines (mac mini, acer aspire one) and one ati rs200 based laptop. One uses the open source intel drivers and the other has used the open source ati drivers.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Cool No big errors with nvidia driver


    I have 4 machines with opensuse 11.1 installed ( and KDE 4.2).
    MSI Wind (intel GME 450): Pretty good performance for that type of computer. Compositing works awesome. But if I shut it down, the vt switch doesn't work and I see only fullscreen graphic corruption.
    While system runs I can switch vts, the problem only appears if I shut it down.

    Acer Extensa Notebook (intel GMA): Good performance too. I had very bad opengl system lockups but after a driver update they were gone.

    MSI X48C (Nvdia GF 8800GTS with 180.35): No problems at all. GL, Compositing, VT switching. No lockups or something like this. Window resizing is slow. If I logout and relogin GTK apps won't work and I have to reboot. But I don't know if this is an error of nvidia.

    Abit P45 (GF 9600 with 180.35): No problems. I had lockups on video playback and Xid errors but there gone.

    So overall I'm quite happy with linux graphix at the moment. The qt4.5 dependency from opensuse are making plasma ugly on my intel notebooks. On my nvidia PCs nearly all looks fine under qt4.5.
    But thats opensuses fault...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Stuttering

    My intel card loves to stutter:
    E.g. I play a video or scroll down a web page and nothing moves for half a second or so, then more quickly for .1 second or so. It can get extremely annoying... I checked it out in latencytop and found nothing there. I'm using the most up to date drivers.

    The current driver in Ubuntu 8.10 also often doesn't recover some suspend correctly. I have to switch back and forth between X and console to get a working screen. But that's not as bad.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007


    Currently NVidia focues on implementing new features but seems to ignore serious bugs which are affecting a lot of people.
    The people writing the new features (VDPAU is meant here) aren't the same who are responsible for the X11 or kernel parts where the bugs are. So adding this new features does not take man power away from the other parts.

    In fact, just while typing this news post a Pidgin window became unusable on NVIDIA hardware.
    I suppose you where using compiz, this is not a bug in the nvidia driver but a race condition in the way the XDamage extension work.

    The reason why it does not happen with older drivers was that not all pixmaps where stored in video memory and therefore it was unlikely to trigger. Now pixmaps are stored in video memory by default which improves performance a lot but causes this.

    This corruption does not happen if you use strict bindings (which is used in all open source drivers and fglrx) but on G80+ hardware it is slow due to a bug, that's why people/some distro scripts enable loose-binding for nvidia hardware.

    Plagman (an nvidia dev) investigated the issue and told me that it should be fixed in the next driver series. (18x ; where x > 0 )
    It cannot be backported to 180.xx because it was a rather huge change.

    There might be problems and bugs in the nvidia drivers, but they aren't that bad as this article tries to show it.

    In fact the 180.xx drivers work very well for me (compiz works fine with good performance, 2d and 2d is fast, video playback works fine, suspend/resume works fine.)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008


    Quote Originally Posted by Dragoran View Post
    The people writing the new features (VDPAU is meant here) aren't the same who are responsible for the X11 or kernel parts where the bugs are. So adding this new features does not take man power away from the other parts.
    You sure about that...? It doesn't look that way if you consider some postings over at where some of the devs state that they had a look at issue x or issue z but don't have the time to fix it just yet. Or similar things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragoran View Post
    There might be problems and bugs in the nvidia drivers, but they aren't that bad as this article tries to show it.
    I really beg to differ. My 8600 GTS card died on me in January and I had to get a replacement fast because I need my computer for work. Since I already tried an AMD 4870 in early Q4/2008, I decided to go with NVidia again because the experience I made with the AMD one wasn't too good, to say the least. So after driving around in my city, I ended up with a Palit 9800 GTX+ which is actually overkill for me but at least silent and was the only thing I could get which wasn't a total vacuum cleaner soundwise.

    To make a long story short: with the 8600 GTS, my system was rock solid, no freezes or anything like it, no matter what 180.xx release I used. Once I got the 9800 GTX+, I had total freezes with graphical corruption. Totally erradic. Working was impossible that way because you could get everything from zero to 10 freezes a day. Disabling the Composite Extension and similar things naturally didn't fix the issue. Only reverting back to 177.82 "fixed" it for me... well... more a workaround actually.

    Head over to and have a look at that lengthy thread. You will soon realize that a lot of people are bitten by this bug and there are a total of <5 dev postings there if I remember correctly which are more or less useless to be honest. And this is still ongoing since Nov 08.

    So... I'd say, and many from would agree, that depending on your GFX card, at least the 180.xx series is a total mess and nvidia is unable to fix it or keep their users in the loop about what's actually going on.

    Best regards,

    PS. I don't use Ubuntu but Gentoo on x86_64 and also tried X 1.6.0 snapshots, different kernels and what else. The bug is _clearly_ with nvidia.
    Last edited by RobotMarvin; 03-01-2009 at 10:15 AM.

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