Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (911 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] nvidia or nouveau?
On Thu, Dec 24, 2015 at 12:34 PM, jdd <jdd@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
does this mean than nvidia drivers are now free?

There are three drivers you should know about when dealing with Nvidia
graphics cards.

The "nv" driver is an open source driver (MIT license) that Nvidia
originally developed/wrote and later depreciated in 2010. It only
works up to Tesla microarchitecture GPUs (e.g. the GeForce 300
series). This driver only provides 2D acceleration. This driver
provides no 3D acceleration.

The "nouveau" driver is a community driven project which brings 2D and
3D accelerated drivers to GNU/Linux. It is licensed under the MIT
License and is compatible with the GPL. This driver requires immense
amounts of reverse engineering by the developers since Nvidia does not
release internal hardware specifications to the open source community.

The "nvidia" driver is the closed and official proprietary driver
released by Nvidia. There is a lot of pre-compiled binary blobs, etc.

The "nv" driver was never really meant for daily use by end-users. It
was more so a bridge to allow users to easily install GNU/Linux and
then download the proprietary driver from Nvidia. Nvidia even included
obfuscated source code at one point.

"nvidia" performance is slightly better than "nouveau" performance
from the last time I checked, but your end use and application should
direct you to research which driver suits your philosophical and
performance needs.

Brandon Vincent
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