Having Linux Support For Your Hardware At Launch
Phoronix: Having Linux Support For Your Hardware At Launch
Support for running Linux on new hardware -- whether it be motherboards, wireless adapters, graphics cards, or complete systems -- has largely eased up in the past few years. As can be seen from Phoronix reviews of new hardware at launch, in many cases there is Linux support available (e.g. with AMD's launch today of the FirePro V5900 and FirePro V7900 there is already Catalyst support) that continues to be refined over time whether it be in closed or open-source drivers. Even for vendors committed towards delivering open-source Linux hardware support, the path to new hardware enablement is not easy...
We all know what happened with Sandy Bridge, but now Intel have learned from it and already merged the first Ivy Bridge support into the 2.6.40/2.8.0/3.0(.0) kernel. While most graphics cards work quite well out-of-the-box at the moment, except Sandy Bridge, NVidia is still a problem because they don't help open-source development as the only major graphics vendor and their proprietary driver is even worse than ATI's.
I have always thought fglrx was worse than nvidia's blob due to how difficult it is to install and also the lack of support for recent kernel releases. If you read about all the issues people had with fglrx you'd then see that nvidia's driver is a bit more solid in comparison. While nvidia's driver has its share of bugs it has been pretty well supported
Originally Posted by AlbertP
except, when it's not, like with Tegras. but you're right about everything else.
Originally Posted by DeepDayze
In most cases there are 3rd party patches for fglrx for better kernel support. But something you usually can not fix on your own is new xserver support (it was possible in one case as only the versioning changed, there i binary patched fglrx) is missing newer xserver support. For that nvidia provides updates faster (at least for the current drivers). When a distro like Fedora was shipping a new xserver often fglrx was not ready. Only when Ubuntu shipped new xserver then they add they support - often for the first time with an U only hotfix driver.
If you read the Linux Mint forum, where people can install both drivers from the repository, you will see much more NVidia problems than ATI. The ATI driver is very reliable and the repository's fglrx package works fine in most cases. While with NVidia, you often have to reinstall or retry installing. And there are many people still having problems (the infamous 'run `nvidia-settings` as root' error) when the driver is finally installed. Or the driver is installed, but it just does not load, causing the system to return to vesa or nv.
But I agree, NVidia is often faster to support newer kernel / X server versions and still supports older cards in their legacy drivers. If your computer is very new and you want to use the proprietary driver, NVidia may have better support. But if you want to use the open-source driver, I would prefer ATI over NVidia as Nouveau packaged with distros does not yet contain open-source firmware for Fermi. And the first Fermi's have already been released a year ago.
Last edited by AlbertP; 05-26-2011 at 03:43 AM.
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