Is nouveau preferable to prorietary graphics drivers?

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Is nouveau preferable to prorietary graphics drivers?

Postby MagicPoulp » 2020-03-04 08:30

The nouveau driver package is called xserver-xorg-video-nouveau.

Does that mean it is highly dependent on the X server?
If the desktop is using gnome and wayland, does the nouveau driver require a fallback to the X server (x-wayland interop)?

And does it affect performance?

I had small flickering on the screen (first in gnome, then in xfce and with kernel 4.19 and 5). I installed gpahical drivers from nvidia and the problem disappeared. I thought the nouveau driver worked very well. During a long time nouveau was recommended and proprietary drivers were jsut a last resort if really you need it. But it seems now there is good linux support. Any thoughts if one should stick to nouveau for stability nowadays?

THe only constraints is that one must reinstall the nvidia drivers after each kernel update. But one does it via apt-get and it is simple. A few years ago, one had to download manually a deb file from nvidia.


I installed the nvidia-driver from teh backports because I thought it would match better my backports kernel. But during the isntallation, there was a warning, the driver is experimental. Seems more like a legal stuff than a serious issue.
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Re: Is nouveau preferable to prorietary graphics drivers?

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-03-04 17:46

The source code for the NVIDA proprietary drivers is not available so we have absolutely no idea what it is doing.

NVIDIA has recently open-sourced their hardware documentation[1] so the nouveau developers should be able to improve their drivers but it might take a while.

The feature matrix shows what nouveau can do now: https://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/FeatureMatrix/

I don't know if nouveau works with GNOME and/or Wayland, I would never give money to NVIDIA because they aren't very open-source friendly.
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Re: Is nouveau preferable to prorietary graphics drivers?

Postby sunrat » 2020-03-04 22:10

Nouveau is good for older Nvidia cards ie. GTX700 series or earlier.
However, from - https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page= ... 6-Firmware

These latest NVIDIA signed firmware drops also don't cover the PMU firmware, which means that the Nouveau performance will continue to be piss poor due to being stuck at boot clock frequencies rather than the rated GPU/vRAM frequencies. Until this gets sorted out, the GeForce GTX 900 series and later performance off the Nouveau open-source driver is extremely limited.
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Re: Is nouveau preferable to prorietary graphics drivers?

Postby NFT5 » 2020-03-04 22:53

sunrat wrote:Nouveau is good for older Nvidia cards ie. GTX700 series or earlier.


I'd qualify that by adding that the experience is very good with Jessie and Stretch. With Buster I haven't been really happy at all. Just minor niggles, hence not having done any serious analysis yet, but suspect it's in how nouveau ties in with X.
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Re: Is nouveau preferable to prorietary graphics drivers?

Postby sunrat » 2020-03-04 23:01

NFT5 wrote:
sunrat wrote:Nouveau is good for older Nvidia cards ie. GTX700 series or earlier.


I'd qualify that by adding that the experience is very good with Jessie and Stretch. With Buster I haven't been really happy at all. Just minor niggles, hence not having done any serious analysis yet, but suspect it's in how nouveau ties in with X.


I run a GTX 560Ti multiboot with both Buster and Sid. Haven't had any issues. Nouveau works better with this particular card as nvidia driver freezes occasionally.
My newer system with GTX 970 works well with nvidia driver, not so well with nouveau.
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Re: Is nouveau preferable to prorietary graphics drivers?

Postby MagicPoulp » 2020-03-05 06:26

I have a portable USB 3.1 SSD disk with buster on it.

Can I install firmwares and nvidia and amd graphics drivers on it so that it can work on any computer I plug into? Or do they work only when installed on the right machine?

I guess the firmwares are generic. But I am not sure.

Since nvidia uses dkms, it probably depends a lot on the GPU present at the time of installing the driver. It seems quite obvious but we never know.
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Re: Is nouveau preferable to prorietary graphics drivers?

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-03-05 17:42

MagicPoulp wrote:Can I install firmwares and nvidia and amd graphics drivers on it so that it can work on any computer I plug into?

Yes, that's how live systems work. Use nouveau though, the proprietary versions only support particular cards and you can't co-install several versions of those (AFAIK).
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Re: Is nouveau preferable to prorietary graphics drivers?

Postby MagicPoulp » 2020-03-05 19:05

With nouveau, I had a very unpleasant flickering. screen color fluctuating. Someone else in this threat mentioned minor issues in buster.

I strongly believe that a nvidia driver install is very fined tuned and configured for the hardware.

Maybe the dkpg --configure that is run when isntalling a firmware also adapts to the hardware.
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