AboutWelcome to Free Software Daily (FSD). FSD is a hub for news and articles by and for the free and open source community. FSD is a community driven site where members of the community submit and vote for the stories that they think are important and interesting to them. Click the "About" link to read more...
Thanks to the surprise push this morning of the Nouveau driver for the Linux 2.6.33 kernel, this free software, reverse-engineered NVIDIA driver stack is on its way to being used in a lot more Linux systems and distributions. The xf86-video-nv driver just doesn't have any future compared to the Nouveau driver.
This is the first year that there were more people using the open-source ATI driver (through the xf86-video-ati DDX driver) than AMD's official Catalyst (fglrx) driver! There were 3,117 counts for xf86-video-ati, 2,770 for the Catalyst driver, and then 1,185 installations still using the xf86-video-radeonhd driver.
While there is now DRM support in the Linux 2.6.33 kernel for the Nouveau driver that carries the bits for kernel mode-setting, 2D (EXA) acceleration, and other fundamental functions on NVIDIA graphics processors, the Gallium3D driver still is incomplete. However, a new Mesa DRI driver has emerged for Nouveau that provides *working* 3D support for older NVIDIA hardware.
When it comes to Intel's X.Org driver for Linux, xf86-video-intel, the most recent release was version 2.10 and it arrived in early January complete with Pineview (their next-generation Intel Atom systems) support, X-Video improvements, and various other features.
With the Linux 2.6.33 kernel having been released last week where the ATI kernel mode-setting (KMS) DRM code left the kernel's staging area, we knew a new ATI X.Org driver release was imminent. Over the night a new stable DDX driver update has been pushed out for xf86-video-ati as well as a new pre-release for the KMS-supportive 6.13 version that also carries other changes.
Linus Torvalds has merged the kernel code for the GeForce-compatible nouveau open source graphics driver as a staging driver into the Linux main development tree – from which kernel version 2.6.33 will emerge in around two and a half months.
Your NVIDIA video card will work on your Fedora 11 box without this driver, however if you want to enable the 3D acceleration (if you want to use Compiz Fsuion) you need to install it.
Which driver to use?
The latest nvidia driver: This is a proprietary driver that works with newer nvidia cards.
NVIDIA's open-source Linux efforts as it concerns their GPU support have historically been minimal. The xf86-video-nv driver has been around that provides very basic 2D acceleration and a crippled set of features besides that (no proper RandR 1.2/1.3, KMS, power management, etc) while the code has also been obfuscated to try to protect their intellectual property.