NVIDIA's Oldest Legacy Driver Will Not Gain New Support
Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA on 18 July 2010 at 09:50 PM EDT. 103 Comments
A few days back there was the release of two updated NVIDIA legacy drivers for Linux, but only their newest legacy driver (they have three different legacy drivers at present) gained support for X.Org Server 1.8. This support though is needed for the older NVIDIA drivers to operate on newer Linux distributions like Fedora 13 and openSUSE 11.3. On this Sunday evening we have now confirmation from NVIDIA that they have no plans on providing xorg-server 1.8 support for their oldest legacy driver.

The NVIDIA 173.14.75 legacy driver released provides X.Org Server 1.8 support so that those customers with GeForce 5 (FX) graphics cards can continue using the proprietary driver for 3D/OpenGL and XvMC video acceleration support when they update their X Server when updating their distributions. The other NVIDIA 96.43.18 legacy update provided some bug-fixes, but went without any server 1.8 support. NVIDIA though will be updating the 96.xx.xx driver in the future with this updated X.Org support.

NVIDIA's Andy Ritger wrote to us, "Yes, we will eventually add xserver 1.8 support to the 96.xx.xx series. We do not plan to backport new X server support to the 71.xx.xx series." In other words, it's basically the end of the line for the NVIDIA 71.xx.xx Linux legacy driver.

This is the driver for any customers with GeForce 3, GeForce 256, TNT / TNT2, Riva 128, Vanta, and Quadro 2 Pro graphics cards. This NVIDIA hardware is quite old so it shouldn't affect too many people, but those running such vintage hardware will have the only choice of switching over to using the Nouveau graphics driver stack when updating their X.Org Server or Linux distribution. Those with GeForce 2 Go, GeForce 4 MX, GeForce 4 Go, and GeForce 4 Ti graphics cards still should be getting this new support within the 96.xx.xx driver, but you may have to wait a while.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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