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Old 3rd April 2014
guitarfreak guitarfreak is offline
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Default A question about DragonFlyBSD and NVIDIA

Hello all, this is my first post so I'm hoping I put this in the right forum. Anyway, I am a Linux user looking to switch to either DragonFlyBSD or OpenBSD; I have played with FreeBSD in the past but have decided I would rather go with a different option. Here is the problem, though; my video card is an NVIDIA GTX 550 Ti. The reason I bought this card two years ago is that NVIDIA's proprietary driver for Linux and FreeBSD is quite good, and everyone on the FreeBSD forums and over at linuxquestions.org recommend NVIDIA.

Well, after reading posts on this board, I realize how wrong I was. But until I can afford another card, I've been trying to figure out whether it is possible to use the FreeBSD NVIDIA driver on DragonFlyBSD (I know I'm going to have to go with ATI if I want decent performance on OpenBSD). I saw on phoronix that the Radeon driver had been ported to DragonFly:
Quote:
In late August an open-source AMD Radeon KMS graphics driver was added to FreeBSD after being ported over from the Linux kernel; this new Radeon KMS driver will be a feature of FreeBSD 10.0. DragonFlyBSD developers have now in turn ported the FreeBSD Radeon graphics driver to their BSD distribution.

With DragonFlyBSD being derived from FreeBSD, it wasn't too much of a challenge and mostly leveraging the work done by the FreeBSD developers in porting the code from Linux. DragonFlyBSD developers though did leave out the compatibility layer for running 32-bit applications on 64-bit systems.
Searching the mailing list, here is the most recent post I found related to NVIDIA:
Quote:
On 2/22/2013 22:52, rll@insightbb.com wrote:
> How do I get "pkg" installed? Sorry to be dense on this but its not in
> pkgsrc.

When you try to build any port from source, pkg is built first. You can
also built pkg by "cd /usr/dports/ports-mgmt/pkg && make install".
At that point you could install binaries if you had a repository.

> Do I need to do a rm -rf pkgsrc and get rid of pkgsrc?

/usr/pkgsrc can stay.
I'd would recommend "mv /usr/pkg /usr/pkg.moved" so the conflict
resolution isn't so drastic.

> Isn't kde4 a phone app interface? If I wanted Window 8 I'd go get a
> psychiatric evaluation first or just go blow my brains out.

xfce 4.10 might be for you then for the basic desktop.

> Too bad about nvidia. I thought dragonfly bragged about have good
> drivers for nvidia.

I'm not aware of that bragging.
John
So in summary, here are my questions:
1. Has anyone gotten an NVIDIA card functioning decently on DragonFlyBSD or OpenBSD with a card similar to mine? If so, could you give me some pointers, googling and digging through the mailing lists hasn't helped me much other than getting responses of "Buy an ATI card", which I plan on doing, but until then I'm stuck with this card.
2. Specifically in the case of DragonFlyBSD, given that they have ported the FreeBSD Radeon driver, does anyone know if they plan to port the NVIDIA one as well? Part of why I ask is that I dug through their github page, and found nvidia-settings, but not the FreeBSD driver itself.

Last edited by guitarfreak; 3rd April 2014 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 3rd April 2014
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DragonFly was forked from FreeBSD 4.x branch. This is before the Nvidia driver for FreeBSD, so you answer is probably it's not going to work at all.

I never been able to get DragonFly to successfully install on any machine I have so I can't tell you 1st hand how Nvidia cards work in general on DragonFly.

I have used Nivida cards in OpenBSD with the nv driver and as long as you are not running dual screen or wide screen resolutions "it works".

I mainly run FreeBSD with the Nvidia driver on my workstations.
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Old 3rd April 2014
guitarfreak guitarfreak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roddierod View Post
DragonFly was forked from FreeBSD 4.x branch. This is before the Nvidia driver for FreeBSD, so you answer is probably it's not going to work at all.

I never been able to get DragonFly to successfully install on any machine I have so I can't tell you 1st hand how Nvidia cards work in general on DragonFly.

I have used Nivida cards in OpenBSD with the nv driver and as long as you are not running dual screen or wide screen resolutions "it works".

I mainly run FreeBSD with the Nvidia driver on my workstations.
I really appreciate the feedback, I should probably clarify a couple of things I forgot to mention:

1. I have already installed OpenBSD and DragonFlyBSD sucesssfully on my hardware. Everything is detected, and works, with the exception of that card. The problem is that I can only get a very low quality VGA resolution in 4:3 via the VGA out, my mini-HDMI to HDMI doesn't work at all. I have a a 27" Widescreen monitor that does 1080p, so it's a waste of that card to just use VGA output for me. When I installed FreeBSD with the proprietary driver, I was able to use my mini-HDMI to HDMI and get very good quality with HD videos. I'm not worried about Flash or linuxulator, though, I just want to watch my media files in a decent widescreen resolution.

2. What I'm really trying to do here is settle on a permanent desktop OS. I really like the BSD design philosophy/license, but I'm not wild about ZFS. To be honest my ideal OS would be OpenBSD with HAMMER, I really want to be able to do full disk ecnryption on a next gen file system but I like the philosophy behind that project a lot, I'd just rather not keep using UFS. I liked DragonFly very much as well from what little I toyed with it, though, I don't mean to say the only thing I appreciated was HAMMER.
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Old 3rd April 2014
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OpenBSD doesn't have HAMMER. Not yet, and perhaps not for some time to come, if ever.

Until Nvidia provides open engineering interfaces for third party driver developers, you are unlikely to ever see a modern Nvidia driver on OpenBSD. That day may eventually arrive, but it is not yet here.
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Old 3rd April 2014
guitarfreak guitarfreak is offline
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Thanks for clearing that up. To be honest, I can wait for Hammer if that is a good distance off yet. However, I do have a question about the ATI manual page if you wouldn't mind answering. Of the models listed at the OpenBSD radeon Manual Page for current, I see it stated that
Quote:
o Textured XVideo acceleration including anti-tearing support (Bicubic
filtering only available on R/RV3xx, R/RV/RS4xx, R/RV5xx, and
RS6xx/RS740);
So with that in mind, what you would say is the best currently supported ATI card/series for watching HD videos (I'm not so worried about 3d)? If I can't get this card working decently on DragonFly I think I will go ahead and buy an ATI model when money permits, but I'd like to future proof a bit and get one good enough to not need replacing for awhile.

Also, sorry if I'm taking this thread a bit off topic, I'm still very interested to know if there is any way possible to get that NVIDIA driver working on DragonFly. Considering that Nouvea doesn't use nvidia-settings/nvidia-utils, I'm wondering why it's there on the github page if they aren't planning on it being useful in the future?
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Old 3rd April 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarfreak View Post
I do have a question about the ATI manual page ...
I beleive you mean radeon(4). The ati(4) man page is for legacy ATI devices.
Quote:
...what you would say is the best currently supported ATI card/series for watching HD videos...?
You're better off asking on the misc@ mailing list, where you will be able to reach thousands rather than tens of people. This is likely to be too small an audience to give you a good poll for this sort of thing.

FYI - Kernel Mode Setting (KMS) was added to inteldrm(4) with OpenBSD 5.4, and KMS was added to radeondrm(4) for OpenBSD 5.5, which will be released in four weeks.
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Old 3rd April 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jggimi View Post
I beleive you mean radeon(4). The ati(4) man page is for legacy ATI devices. You're better off asking on the misc@ mailing list, where you will be able to reach thousands rather than tens of people. This is likely to be too small an audience to give you a good poll for this sort of thing.

FYI - Kernel Mode Setting (KMS) was added to inteldrm(4) with OpenBSD 5.4, and KMS was added to radeondrm(4) for OpenBSD 5.5, which will be released in four weeks.
Right, that was a slip on my part, I originally pasted the link instead of naming it only to realize I can't since I don't have 5 posts yet. I just used ati for so long I slip up sometimes. Anyway, I will ask on the mailing list, I really appreciate your helping me with this.
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Old 3rd April 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarfreak View Post
...I can wait for Hammer if that is a good distance off yet.
Answered separately, as I expect your thread to be split, since you've been asking questions on divergent topics.

Distance: Not even on the horizon.

At this point, the only activity I'm aware of is a solicitation by the project for a feasibility study under GSOC 2014. If a study is undertaken, and if a successful study shows portability is feasible, I would not expect to see HAMMER or HAMMER2 integration for some years. (A study may be successful yet show that porting the filesystem is not possible.)

I'm not aware if Bob received any proposals.
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Old 3rd April 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarfreak View Post
1. Has anyone gotten an NVIDIA card functioning decently on DragonFlyBSD or OpenBSD with a card similar to mine? If so, could you give me some pointers, googling and digging through the mailing lists hasn't helped me much other than getting responses of "Buy an ATI card", which I plan on doing, but until then I'm stuck with this card.
This questions makes no sense at all. There is no documentation, no code, no binaries (for DragonFly and OpenBSD at least) for any NVidia hardware. So how are people suppose to get thing working? I am surprised that you got any answers on mailing lists.


Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarfreak View Post
2. Specifically in the case of DragonFlyBSD, given that they have ported the FreeBSD Radeon driver, does anyone know if they plan to port the NVIDIA one as well? Part of why I ask is that I dug through their github page, and found nvidia-settings, but not the FreeBSD driver itself.
To port what? Binaries which were compiled by NVidia on FreeBSD for FreeBSD? I do not want to sound rude but I would edit that part of your questions because you never know when such kind or Internet trail can hurt you. I personally would never hire a person who asked such question for any kind technical work.

Last edited by Oko; 4th April 2014 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 3rd April 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roddierod View Post

I never been able to get DragonFly to successfully install on any machine I have so I can't tell you 1st hand how Nvidia cards work in general on DragonFly.
I am sad to hear that you had poor experience with DragonFly but for the record I think that DragoFly is one of more interesting BSD projects and very fine OS. Unfortunately due to the tiny size of the community it is missing some critical peaces of infrastructure necessary for production deployment in larger organization but in my personal experience Hammer is true gem.

Last edited by Oko; 4th April 2014 at 12:41 AM.
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Old 3rd April 2014
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I recently attempted to install DBSD 3.6.1/i386 on two different platforms without success -- the install kernel wouldn't boot on either of them. I could get it to boot inside a VM, but not on my hardware.
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Old 4th April 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jggimi View Post
I recently attempted to install DBSD 3.6.1/i386 on two different platforms without success -- the install kernel wouldn't boot on either of them. I could get it to boot inside a VM, but not on my hardware.
For all practical purposes DragonFly BSD is amd64 system only. i386 is being phased out. Have you tried amd64? I am actaully really surprised to hear that you got it going in VM as DragonFly has lots of problems in particular with KVM.
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Old 4th April 2014
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The i386 system was the only one I downloaded, as I wanted to test it on an Atom N270 system that is not 64-bit capable before migrating to another platform. When it did not boot I moved the install media (USB stick) to another platform, where it failed in the same manner.

I wouldn't call that "phased out" -- rather "inoperable". The booloader would not function. Not debuggable without two machines, cabling, and gdb. I wasn't interested in doing that.

The bootloader worked and the kernel booted under emulators/qemu. I tested it there because it was a quick and easy test of the USB stick and the image. I stopped once the dmesg began to appear, and did not run the OS.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jggimi View Post
The i386 system was the only one I downloaded, as I wanted to test it on an Atom N270 system that is not 64-bit capable before migrating to another platform. When it did not boot I moved the install media (USB stick) to another platform, where it failed in the same manner.
Yes it is unfortunatelly tiny project. The first time I installed DragonFly I was surprised that I could not use special characters for root password.
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Old 4th April 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oko View Post
This questions makes no sense at all. There is no documentation, no code, no binaries (for DragonFly and OpenBSD at least) for any NVidia hardware. So how are people suppose to get thing working? I am surprised that you got any answers on mailing lists.



To port what? Binaries which were compiled by NVidia on FreeBSD for FreeBSD? I do not want to sound rude but I would edit that part of your questions because you never know when such kind or Internet trail can hurt you. I personally would never hire a person who asked such question for any kind technical work.
I should probably explain here that I am not any sort of an IT professional, nor do I claim to be. I'm an IBEW electrician and semi-professional musician who supports open source and use Linux / *BSDs as a hobby, so if my knowledge is lacking I apologize. I haven't asked any questions about NVIDIA on mailing lists, though, but my question about binaries pertained to whether FreeBSD binaries were completely incompatible (with DragonFlyBSD) based on that Phoronix article and some posts on the DFBSD mailing list, specifically one I found from 2010 where someone claimed to have gotten the NVIDIA FreeBSD binary working on it.

See this post from 2010:
Quote:
I know that the NVIDIA driver works, but I did have to do some slight
tweaking with corecode on the IRC channel before I got it to fully
work. This was with my GTS 250 and a while ago though on 2.4

Wish you the best of luck with this endeavor.




On Sat, Nov 6, 2010 at 9:55 AM, Vitaly Shevtsov <loki.vt at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello!
>
> I'm new to the DFBSD. (I subscribed today). I use DragonFly for
> desktop and I'm satisfied with this system.There is only one thing
> upsets me - nvidia driver for my GeForce GTX 260. I tried this rep
> (git://gitweb.dragonflybsd.org/~corecode/nvidia.git) to make FreeBSD's
> drivers works under DFBSD and I tried to compile nouveau from
> pkgsrc/wip. Neither one nor the other failed. Please let me know if
> someone has successful experience of getting hardware acceleration in
> DFBSD?
>



--
A state, is called the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly lieth it
also; and this lie creepeth from its mouth: "I, the state, am the
people."
So based on that, plus the fact that there is already a port available for nvidia-settings (which is only useful for the proprietary driver to the best of my knowledge), I thought it was worth asking about. https://github.com/DragonFlyBSD/DPor...vidia-settings

Edit: Just closing this thread out, John was good enough to get back to me very quickly on the mailing list. Here was his response:

Quote:
Using a NVIDIA card with an NVIDIA driver is not an option, and there is
no anticipated change to this situation in the outlook. The
nvidia-settings port is therefore useless (it was added automatically,
not manually with reason).

John
That package got my hopes up, but at least I have a definitive answer.

Last edited by guitarfreak; 4th April 2014 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 4th April 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarfreak View Post
until I can afford another card, .
You have the right idea. If it doesn't work. Replace it*.

For now, if you are lucky, you might have an onboard intel gfx card on your motherboard to fallback to. These things work pretty well with OSS systems.

I might like to also remind you that FreeBSD by default uses UFS. So even if you do not like ZFS, FreeBSD should still be a good choice.

*Or of course write a driver for it if you are in the position to
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