The proprietary drivers are coming home to roost…

I am astounded to read that Ubuntu has one Xorg developer. And he’s got a bit of a problem with bugs.

If you head over to his chart of bug reports, you’ll see an interesting thing. Except for the No. 1 cause (Xorg itself), the next 7 reasons that Ubuntu bug triagers have have filed bugs under are either lrm (linux-restricted-modules – basically proprietary mush), nvidia or ati binary blobs.

Incredibly, it would appear Ubuntu doesn’t even support nouveau yet. I’ve been using it without issue for the last two Fedora releases. F-12 even has plymouth/kms support.

Come on Ubuntu, its time for you guys to drop fglrx and nvidia and get on the radeon and nouveau train. You don’t need that proprietary crutch no more.

Ph34r my g1mp skillz!

Original image: Crutches, by Diego Cupolo

Update: As Karl quite rightly points out, Mark Shuttleworth promised to actively support these efforts years ago…

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13 thoughts on “The proprietary drivers are coming home to roost…

  1. I am also quite surprised that they didn’t even package nouveau or radeon, while others smaller distros, with less ressources ( like mandriva ) have done it.

    I can understand that they do not want to use it by default yet, but at least, pushing it as a technology preview, or for the users who refuse nvidia binary blob, it would make sense. But maybe free software enthousiast is not the target of Ubuntu, more the ex-windows users ( cf their bug #1 ).

  2. Did you try suspend/resume with nouveau?
    I did give it a go with F12, and removed it as it had too many issues with above, to be usable.
    Cant even compare with nvidia driver, and at the end,does it really matter which one is it, as long as it gets work done!

  3. “Did you try suspend/resume with nouveau?”

    Yes, it works awesomely in Fedora 12. If it doesn’t work for you, where is the bug report?

  4. Ubuntu’s focus seems to pit it as working with and making deals with vendors rather than fight them by circumnavigating their poducts with FOSS equivalents.

    In return, they have pretty good relations with consumer vendors.

    So I think in one part it depends on the distro’s focus.

    1. They’re not “circumventing” their products at all. The radeon effort is done with the co-operation of ATI and I’m sure nouveau must be good for nvidia’s business. I certainly don’t think that creating open source drivers is “fighting” vendors.

  5. nouveau is really nice with KMS and so forth. Smooth Fedora startup, all very gorgeous.

    Shame I can’t run compiz or GNOME Shell with it though. When it comes down to brutal practicality, I have to go with the nvidia driver. Going back to window management using a window list and alt-tab is not an option.

  6. I always try the open source video drivers with each release, hoping I can get by with them. The last year has been pretty problematical with the change to new technologies. Compiz / compositing is no longer optional, and should be considered in go/nogo release decisions.

    Video bug reports seem to languish (at least the problems I encounter); I’m sure it’s because the developers are swamped or 3D is not considered essential. Not everyone has the ability to pick and choose components to build a stable video experience, and that’s unfortunately sometimes necessary at the moment.

    I ended up buying an nvidia card and using it in place of my Intel X4500HD – with the proprietary driver, just for some stability. It’s great that new technologies are pushed out by Fedora, but some of them should stay in the testing repositories a lot longer.

  7. Canonical have said that 10.04 will get nouveau by default – http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=NzczMA .

    As others have pointed out, the lack of any 3D support in NVIDIA, and vaguely reliable 3D support for recent Radeons, is a rather big stumbling block for a distro like Ubuntu. They’ve been shipping with 3D support for these cards for a long time, any switch to _not_ providing it would look like a huge regression to their users. Of course, that’s a trap they laid for themselves.

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