Remove the nouveau driver

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Remove the nouveau driver

Postby Geri » 2019-09-18 23:11

I suggest partially removing the nouveau graphics drivers from Debian alltogether.

I understand this will generate debate, but the driver has serious issues everywhere. I have tried 3 different configurations with debian and nvidia graphics cards in the past days. A relatively new, a relatively old, an a really old. (The test hardware is fine, it work well with Windows.)

Test hardware 1: Integrated GeForce 7025 with Ascork N68 AM3 motherboard
Result: Computer crash every time you maximize a window with video acceleration (such as video playback or opengl).

Test hardware 2: GeForce 6100 in Asrock ALiveNF6G
Result: Computer crash with firefox or chromium. Video corruption in chromium even after disabling video acceleration.

Test hardware 3: Old AGP based motherboard with GeForce4 MX440
Result: Computer crash with firefox after a minute.

I understand that a few 1000 people maybe want to play some opengl based games, but there is 6 billion people who just want to use their computer without causing a system crash when he wants to watch a video.

(btw, cirrus logic and sis drivers are totally broken as well, x11 crashes with those cards at boot)

The solution could be keeping nouveau's 2d driver so the gui will stay fluid, however, everything that has anything to do with video acceleration, must be eradicated from the operating system to protect system security and realibility, and opengl should be supplied with llvmpipe instead.
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Re: Remove the nouveau driver

Postby piperdan » 2019-09-19 00:53

Works fine with my setup

Code: Select all
danny@debian:~$ inxi -F
System:    Host: debian Kernel: 4.19.0-6-amd64 x86_64 bits: 64 Desktop: KDE Plasma 5.14.5 Distro: Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster)
Machine:   Type: Laptop System: Dell product: Latitude E6430 v: 01 serial: <root required>
           Mobo: Dell model: N/A serial: <root required> BIOS: Dell v: A12 date: 05/20/2013
Battery:   ID-1: BAT0 charge: 28.4 Wh condition: 53.9/62.2 Wh (87%)
CPU:       Topology: Dual Core model: Intel Core i5-3340M bits: 64 type: MT MCP L2 cache: 3072 KiB
           Speed: 1197 MHz min/max: 1200/3400 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 1196 2: 1196 3: 1196 4: 1196
Graphics:  Device-1: NVIDIA GF108GLM [NVS 5200M] driver: nouveau v: kernel
           Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.20.4 driver: modesetting unloaded: fbdev,vesa resolution: 1366x768~60Hz
           OpenGL: renderer: NVC1 v: 4.3 Mesa 18.3.6
Audio:     Device-1: Intel 7 Series/C216 Family High Definition Audio driver: snd_hda_intel
           Device-2: NVIDIA GF108 High Definition Audio driver: snd_hda_intel
           Sound Server: ALSA v: k4.19.0-6-amd64
Network:   Device-1: Intel 82579LM Gigabit Network driver: e1000e
           IF: eno1 state: down mac: f0:1f:af:1b:c2:dd
           Device-2: Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 [Taylor Peak] driver: iwlwifi
           IF: wlp3s0 state: up mac: 6c:88:14:7d:ae:fc
Drives:    Local Storage: total: 232.89 GiB used: 21.40 GiB (9.2%)
           ID-1: /dev/sda vendor: SK Hynix model: HFS250G32TND-N1A2A size: 232.89 GiB
Partition: ID-1: / size: 212.53 GiB used: 21.40 GiB (10.1%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda1
           ID-2: swap-1 size: 15.95 GiB used: 0 KiB (0.0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda5
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 64.0 C mobo: 47.0 C sodimm: 41.0 C gpu: nouveau temp: 56 C
           Fan Speeds (RPM): cpu: 2895
Info:      Processes: 179 Uptime: 19m Memory: 15.62 GiB used: 1.37 GiB (8.7%) Shell: bash inxi: 3.0.32
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Re: Remove the nouveau driver

Postby stevepusser » 2019-09-19 02:49

Some Nvidia hardware does require firmware from firmware-misc-nonfree: ... sc-nonfree
for the nouveau driver.

Take a look at the number of nvidia files included in the description!
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Re: Remove the nouveau driver

Postby Geri » 2019-09-19 09:09

Piperdan, i have that kernel as well on the 64 bit machine i was testing with
Linux debian 4.19.0-6-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 4.19.67-2 (2019-08-28) x86_64 GNU/Linux

The previous kernels i tested, did had the same phenomon, also, the intel and radeon drivers are just fine.
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Re: Remove the nouveau driver

Postby Geri » 2019-09-19 09:16

stevepusser: thankyou but i didnt opened this topic to fix this issue ony *my* computer (btw i have that package installed). my intention was to make debian better. as if users first impression is a deadlocking operating system every time they try to open facebook, is not really a behaviour. therefore, this driver should not be in the system to begin with, installing x should not automatically install this driver at all. debian should not contain totally unrealible drivers. of course if some user wants to install it, then he should able to install. just like as he is able to install various non-free frimwares, and he is able to download the official nvidia drivers if he wants to.
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Re: Remove the nouveau driver

Postby kedaha » 2019-09-19 10:18

Just to comment that, while some Debian users―as opposed to users of other, more proprietary-friendly distros―may share Linus Torwald's low opinion of such hardware, which he gave back in 2012, others may simply prefer, as advised by the Debian GNU/Linux Installation Guide here "to avoid proprietary or closed hardware" altogether. Since proprietary software is wholly opposed to the Debian Project, whose common cause to create a free operating system, it cannot be included by default.
"Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member".—Groucho Marx
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Re: Remove the nouveau driver

Postby NFT5 » 2019-09-19 10:29

I think that recommending removal of the nouveau driver(s) is a bit of a knee jerk reaction. In my case I experienced some crashing of X in Buster and solved the problem by changing the graphics card. Another member, using the same card as I had, went the Nvidia route and didn't fully solve his problem, IIRC.

Although I haven't confirmed this I suspect that there may be some differences in the nouveau drivers in Buster that cause problems with some cards that previously (i.e. in Stretch or Jessie) exhibited no problems. In my opinion it's a 'horses for courses' situation that needs evaluation for each case. Sometimes the proprietary driver is the solution, sometimes not. Just installing the non-free firmware package can make all the difference too. There is no panacea.

Curiously, despite Torvalds feelings towards Nvidia, I have some machines with onboard AMD graphics and they caused so many problems that I put basic Nvidia cards in all.
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Re: Remove the nouveau driver

Postby Geri » 2019-09-19 10:49

I have contiued the testing. I have put in an FX5200 PCI which works with nouveau just fine, and does not crashes any more. Well, fine, except the fact that glxgears is around 7 fps on fullscreen and chromium sidebars are now moving at 5-6 frame per second, taking about 10 seconds to scroll the webpages. So its around 50% slower than a dumb VESA based pixelcopy. And this is how it is: actually, everything is hardware accelerated. :D

kedaha: i'm totally agree that the distro should not include proprietary driver, but it also should not include this.

NFT5: I think drivers like nouveau had a place in the operating system only retroperspectively, For example, when your 1 ghz single core pentium 3 cpu needed every drop of performance to move windows around, and when the unoptimized software rendrerers of mesa ran with less than 1 fps. Nowdays this is not a problem, so keeping nouveau driver only as a frame buffer driver, and otherwise disabling every graphics acceleration fixes the issue. With nouveau we maybe save a few percent of battery life, if it works, but it usually just refuses to work. What nouveau really offers? It offers a frame buffer driver, thats fine. It offers hardware accelerated opengl which is probably needed by zero users, as llvmpipe is already fast enough. And it offers acceleration for surfaces in video players. This acceleration alongside with opengl is totally broken, and will freeze your computer (the first 3 newer and older computer i have tried), or it will malfunction and it will be actually slower than no acceleration at all (with the old fx5200 i have put in now). This isnt specific to any kernel version, nouveau just does not works. Have a driver in the system that will most likely causing crash for every nvidia users, just to have 5% more batery life for nvidia users?
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