Re: radeon driver heading in wrong direction :-(.

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Robin Laing wrote:
> I will recommend the nVidia.  Their site states that they support the
> FX58000.

Nobody asked YOU. It was a question directed specifically to me (and I 
wouldn't recommend a card which requires proprietary drivers).

> Now there is a problem here.  It is the card interface.  I have gone
> through this twice in the past.  Needing faster 3D and looking at video
> cards.  I couldn't get a card to fit my motherboard.  I needed to
> upgrade from PCI to AGP.  I had to get a new computer.  This was due to
> dropping of support for my ATI card.

The cards we were talking about are all PCI-Express cards (both the new ones 
and the older ones which actually have working Free drivers). For older 
computers, there are also AGP and PCI versions of the same cards (but these 
days they're actually more expensive).

> The new computer had AGP support.  I purchased an ATI with it.  I went
> home and fought for two months trying to get the 3D working using the
> ATI drivers.  No joy.

Which drivers? The proprietary driver? Have you tried the Free one? 
Depending on what card you picked and when, it might just have worked. 
Radeon 7xxx and 9xxx series (r1xx and r2xx chips) have been supported for 
years! And AGP as an interface was definitely supported, too.

FWIW, these days the Free drivers have full support for all the Radeons up 
to HD 4xxx (r7xx), on any interface: PCI-Express, AGP, PCI.

> On a whim one day, I decided to try an nVidia card that was on sale.  In
> less than 30 minutes of paying for the card, I had beautiful running 3D on
> my Linux box.  This included all the downloads and reading the readme.  No
> RPM here.

You used the script directly from NVidia? Yuck!!! I hope you enjoyed it 
overwriting your system libraries. (By the way, this may also break because 
Fedora often updates Mesa and so you can end up with the overwritten libGL 
being replaced by the one from the Mesa update. The proper solution is to 
install the libGL to a different directory and to override the search path 
as the RPMs on RPM Fusion do.) See:

> I have a Dell computer with Intel video and guess what.  It doesn't work
> for 3D in Linux.  I searched and no joy on a fix as it was a known
> support issue.  Found a old nVidia and all is well.

What model computer? What's the exact model of the video card? When have you 
last tried the Intel driver? The issue you found may already be fixed. (Try 
throwing out the NVidia card and see what happens. Though if you let the 
driver overwrite your system libraries, it might not work just because of 

> I do believe in support for OSS but there are times where you have to
> have a working system over using OSS.  This discussion about the video
> is just part of the bigger picture.

My Free Software systems just work, too.

> In general, most computer users just want their systems to work.  My 13
> year old can install F12 on a laptop and manage it.  I think that is
> great.  Of course, I chose nVidia over the Intel or ATI choices because
> ATI and Intel didn't list support for the product options I was looking
> at.  nVidia did.

They can list the exact supported products because they completely control 
the driver because it's proprietary. Those manufacturers who actually work 
with the community work on the upstream projects, and so different 
distributions ship different versions and thus it depends on the 
distribution whether a card works or not. But Fedora usually supports the 
most hardware with Free drivers as it is very up to date. And the place 
where you find out what hardware is supported by the latest Free drivers is 
once again the upstream project, not the manufacturer:
in particular:
This is something you need to get used to as a GNU/Linux user: don't ask the 
manufacturer whether their card works under GNU/Linux, ask the projects 
actually responsible for the (Free) drivers.

> My desktop at home was replaced one afternoon after the motherboard
> died.  I didn't have time to order on line or struggle with searching
> for cheaper/older products to support OSS.  I had to take what was on
> the shelf and available before I walked out of the store.  I ended up
> with hardware that I wouldn't have purchased if I had time to review
> product.  But the nVidia card I chose, worked as expected.

I'm sure you would have found an ATI card in the wide supported range if you 
had actually looked for it.

> The developers must understand that the users want systems to do their
> work with.  This requires 3D and acceleration in this day and age.
> People going to "Joe's Computer Store" down the street will purchase
> pretty modern hardware.

Do you really think the average user buys a EUR 500+ video card? If they do, 
they're just wasting their money. The EUR 20-30 cards they can get cover all 
their needs and if they choose a Radeon, in that price range it's almost 
certainly a supported one (good luck finding a HD 5xxx / r8xx for EUR 30). 
And the cheap low-end cards are usually passively cooled, too.

> If they cannot install Linux, then we have lost a user to Windows.  I
> would rather see nVidia getting their money than Microsoft.  But that is
> me.

I don't see any difference. In both cases they're paying for and using 
proprietary software. (Yes, the NVidia driver is technically gratis, but you 
pay for it through the hardware. Which is actually the model Window$ is 
often using too, see the bundled OEM installs.)

> Lets not forget that part of our goal is to get more and more people to
> use Linux as well as supporting OSS.  This type of debate, though good
> for the more advance community isn't good for the new user that wants to
> play Tux Racer and watch You Tube videos.

There's also Free Software which works with YouTube, see Gnash and Swfdec. 
And they're now phasing in HTML5 support. (That said, software patents are 
an issue there. We haven't won until they support Ogg Theora with HTML5.)

        Kevin Kofler

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