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Thread: There's Hope For DMA-BUF With Non-GPL Drivers

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  1. #1
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    Default There's Hope For DMA-BUF With Non-GPL Drivers

    Phoronix: There's Hope For DMA-BUF With Non-GPL Drivers

    There's some resurrected hope for the kernel symbols of the DMA-BUF buffer sharing mechanism to be not restricted to only GPL drivers, which started off as a request by NVIDIA. This could lead to better NVIDIA Optimus support under Linux, among other benefits...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTA1OTU

  2. #2
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    I'm still not sure this is a good thing

    I foresee lots of fights over the years, NVIDIA are probably better off incorporating an Intel driver into their code like AMD did with their binary driver

    It sets a bad example and it won't encourage SOC manufacturers to create open drivers

  3. #3
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    Release open drivers already, Intel and (mostly) AMD have done that, and no rogue manufacturer has been seen feasting with their super-secret IP.

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    Let's bargain: you want us to export these symbols? Well we want KMS

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    The upstream open-source Linux kernel developers weren't really in favor of this change to allow non-GPL drivers access to DMA-BUF.
    Are there any upstream closed-source Linux kernel developers? This weird statement and the highlighting of Rob Clark's post as positive implies that there's something negative with the kernel developers not being interested in helping proprietary drivers. I think it's exactly the opposite, there would be far fewer open source drivers support directly by the kernel if it wasn't a chore for companies to maintain them as binary modules. NVidia is the big holdout these days, which thanks to the amazing work by the Nouveau devs is less of a nuisance with each release.

    NVidia will never care one lick for Linux as an ecosystem, they only support Linux with drivers because Linux is a powerhouse in the 3D/SFX market. Judging from the follow-up posts in that mailing lists the other kernel devs chiming in was anything but entusiastic about that idea and I concur.

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    If I were a kernel developer answering this question of whether NVIDIA should be allowed to link its driver to DMA-BUF, based in history and on legal grounds, I'd say:

    OVER. MY. DEAD. CORPSE.

    The fact that NVIDIA fought a pathetic fight to keep their nForce code closed and to support a binary blob for something as basic as a NIC (an already lost battle thanks to the guys behind forcedeth) doesn't help.
    Last edited by Alejandro Nova; 02-20-2012 at 02:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peppepz View Post
    Release open drivers already, Intel and (mostly) AMD have done that, and no rogue manufacturer has been seen feasting with their super-secret IP.
    They haven't released any super-secret IP.

    Most of the "magic" in the AMD/NVIDIA proprietary drivers is nowhere to be seen in the Open ones, particularly their shader compilers, command queue schedulers, video decoding, and so on.

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    I have to laugh at all the people here who feel like making comments without even reading the LKML thread. If they did, then they would know that the issue is not that the kernel should be enforcing the GPL on external modules, but the contrary; it should not. The current behavior is a bug. External APIs have to be flagged as such. That's Linux kernel policy and it has been there for ages. It's vital that Linux can be used by proprietary vendors and that you can run proprietary software. But the DMA-BUF API, even though it is a driver interface, has not been flagged as an external interface, even though it should have been.

    But if you guys would even care to spend 3 minutes to read the LKML message, then you would have known this. Instead, you chose to make up an issue that doesn't even exist: Linux infecting all software that runs in it with its own license, trying to prohibit people who disagree with it from making their own choices. Linux clearly doesn't do that, never did and never intended to. That's Microsoft's business model, not Linux's.
    Last edited by RealNC; 02-20-2012 at 07:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elanthis View Post
    They haven't released any super-secret IP.

    Most of the "magic" in the AMD/NVIDIA proprietary drivers is nowhere to be seen in the Open ones, particularly their shader compilers, command queue schedulers, video decoding, and so on.
    And what magic did they have in the register layouts of their ethernet chips, that prevented them from releasing an open driver even for those? They could at least release datasheets, even deprived of the video decoding interfaces in the case of graphics cards. Their competitors, if that's their concern, can already obtain that information by reverse engineering their Windows drivers.

    Intel's drivers seem to work under Linux pretty much as well as they do under Windows, so they at least can manage to achieve acceptable results even without any special technique that supposedly they woudln't want to use in the open. I hope that in the future, either their upcoming hardware or AMD's open source drivers will raise the bar for open source graphics stacks, as Linux did for open source operating systems. Then Nvidia will feel it more "natural" to join the others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireBurn View Post
    I'm still not sure this is a good thing

    I foresee lots of fights over the years, NVIDIA are probably better off incorporating an Intel driver into their code like AMD did with their binary driver

    It sets a bad example and it won't encourage SOC manufacturers to create open drivers
    Nvidia should have indeed incorporated an Intel driver and supported hybrid graphics, as most mid-range laptops with Nvidia graphics are Optimus-based. However, I am not really a big fan of this setup - there is a slight but noticeable lag on my laptop with hybrid Intel-ATI graphics, so I wonder if there is a faster setup. I haven't checked how it performs on Windows though - perhaps these muxless hybrid graphics systems are inherently laggy.

    I also think the dma-buf should be opened up to closed-source drivers -- as I understand, the debate is mostly political than technical.

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