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3Dfx Drivers: Sad future?
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Thread: 3Dfx Drivers: Sad future?

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  1. #1
    JimH
    Guest

    3Dfx Drivers: Sad future?

    I asked Mike Harris, RedHat's XFree86 maintainer, a couple of questions regarding a conversation Spot and I were having on IRC regarding Spot's Voodoo5 card. I thought Mike's answer might be of interest to owners of 3Dfx based video cards, so I am posting it here.

    ----forwarded message----

    Question:
    I had seen somewhere awhile back that the XFree86 drivers only support using one of the chips on the Voodoo5. Is this correct?

    Mike's reply:
    Correct. Only one chip is supported for any Voodoo hardware. As such, a Voodoo 5 turns into a Voodoo 4 under Linux. SLI mode of the Voodoo cards is not supported.

    Question:
    IAre the maintainers working on a driver that uses both chips?

    Mike's reply:
    No. At the time 3dfx collapsed, the hardware level documentation of the Voodoo 4/5 was not publically available. Some of the DRI project members had the specs and had worked on the code, however it was not ever completed, and will never be completed now. I've talked with Darryl, and his opinion was that even if the specifications were available publically to the community, the hardware is sufficiently complicated that it would require direct communication with actual 3Dfx engineers in order to get it working in SLI mode.

    Since 3Dfx no longer exists, and Nvidia holds all of that information now, it is highly unlikely that SLI will ever be supported on any 3Dfx hardware.

    All 3D and 2D development of tdfx hardware has more or less frozen on the DRI, Glide3, and XFree86 sides of things. If anything, I fear the code will rot now until it is unusable.

    One of the down sides to locked away information. ;o(

    ----end forwarded message----

    Doesn't sound to good for any future development on the 3Dfx drivers. :'(

    Jim H

  2. #2
    Spot
    Guest

    Re: 3Dfx Drivers: Sad future?

    :'(

  3. #3
    JimH
    Guest

    Re: 3Dfx Drivers: Sad future?

    Some addition comments from a continuing dialog I was having with Mike Harris.

    ----begin forwarded message----

    Mike's comment from before:
    Since 3Dfx no longer exists, and Nvidia holds all of that information now, it is highly unlikely that SLI will ever be supported on any 3Dfx hardware.

    My response:
    You are probably right. Getting any information from Nvidia seems to be akin to getting M$ to release the source code for Windows. Even though it is probably a waste of time, are you aware of any attempts to contact Nvidia about the possibility of them publically releasing the Voodoo4/5 specifications? I know, I'm dreaming here.

    Mike's Reply:
    Yes, and no they wont. Releasing specs for 3dfx hardware, allows people to continue to use existing hardware instead of generating revenue. Nvidia would in all honesty not benefit a dime if they were to release the specs for Voodoo 4/5, so it would take some large amount of generousity on their part for that to happen.

    They have been very clear to me personally that their bottom line is what is important to them, not pleasing quote "some open source zealots".

    My reply:
    Just the reponse I expected from them. Nivida is becoming the M$ of the graphics chip industry.

    Mike from before:
    All 3D and 2D development of tdfx hardware has more or less frozen on the DRI, Glide3, and XFree86 sides of things. If anything, I fear the code will rot now until it is unuseable.

    One of the down sides to locked away information. ;o(

    My response:
    Not good news for anyone owning a 3Dfx based video card. Myself included in that group. 3Dfx's collapse is a sad end for the company that really brought 3D graphics to the PC.

    Mike's reply:
    Indeed. That is why I actively support and recommend hardware from vendors that _do_ support open source. I'm an open source advocate for a very long time now, and think open source is the one true future of software. I guess that is how I ended up here. ;o)

    By promoting companies that work with us all, and work with open source and our community, we increase the chances they will continue to do so. That means that eventually, when market forces show them there is money to be made in Linux that are truely worthy of their eye, they will all most likely have more full time in-house developers and/or fund development of complete open source drivers.

    My reply:
    [rant mode on]

    I agree with you 100% Mike. I DO NOT use Nvidia based video cards and WILL NEVER USE OR RECOMMEND the use of a Nvidia based product until they wise up and open source their drivers.

    [/rant mode off]

    Jim H

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