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What is non-free about 3D desktops on GNU/Linux?

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ariadacapo's picture
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Joined: 2006-07-13

Hi all,

I was wondering what exactly is not free about 3D window managers on GNU/Linux. I checked quickly and it looks like Beryl and AIGLX are GPLed. So, briefly, what makes this such a hot topic in the future of the main distributions?
I'm not looking for a detailed answer, just a simple not-too-technical explanation... thanks!

Olivier.

dylunio's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
The drivers to get the

The drivers to get the video cards to do all the 3D stuff in AMD and nVidia's cases are proprietary, this is the main crux of the matter.

ariadacapo's picture
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Joined: 2006-07-13
So it is not a problem that

So it is not a problem that is specific to 3D desktops?
Is the problem the same with 3D games, 3D modeling and indeed any hardware-intensive software?
Is the problem specific to AMD and nVidia (i.e. what about Intel graphics?)?
Sorry if the questions sound stupid...

dylunio's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
AFIK the 3D desktops are

AFIK the 3D desktops are all free codewise - no specific problems with them.
The problem is the same if you want to run anything 3D with your software.
Yes it's specific to ATi/AMD and nVidia's drivers (and maybe about 3D chipset manufactureres I've never heard of) - they don't have free drivers, and the free ones which currently exist either suck, don't work on the newer cards or both. Intel have released free drivers for their graphics cards, so it's not a problem for them.

dylunio

free-zombie's picture
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Joined: 2006-03-08
if you have a recent

if you have a recent ATi/AMD card or an NVIDIA card, you need proprietary drivers, for Intel and not-quite-so-recent ATi cards not. If Matrox cards are capable of Beryl/Compiz, they fall in the same category as Intel.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Some of the not so old yet

Some of the not so old yet not the bleeding edge ATI cards work well with free drivers, such as mine Radeon 9600.

But yes, the problem is only in that free drivers for *some* of the latest ATI cards and even worse most of Nvidia cards do not exist and Ubuntu is pending inclusion of proprietary drivers in their place.

The reason why they want to include them? It's easy. People want 3D support out of the box for games, and the shiny 3D desktop is believed to be a way to attract a lot of the general population to GNU/Linux, and it too of course depends on 3D acceleration.

a thing's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
drivers
ariadacapo's picture
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Joined: 2006-07-13
Thanks for the

Thanks for the explaination! I guess this clears things up.

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