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Re: [gNewSense-users] Detailed Supported Hardware List

From: Dara Adib
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] Detailed Supported Hardware List
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2008 18:02:53 -0500

On Mon, Dec 15, 2008 at 5:44 PM, Karl Goetz <address@hidden> wrote:
> Is the content on these pages available via the FSFs resources page? If
> not, perhaps you could tell them :)

Well a lot of it is out of date (i.e. ATI Radeon graphics card support).

On Mon, Dec 15, 2008 at 12:51 PM, David Couzelis <address@hidden> wrote:
>>> ATI Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition 256MB PCI-E Dual DVI

> In gNewSense I don't have 3D acceleration since it is currently removed from 
> the distribution. Some examples of things I CAN do in gNewSense right now are 
> I have my monitor at 1680x1050, I can watch full screen videos smoothly, I 
> can use my computer with my LCD TV with an HDMI-to-DVI cable, I can play 
> video games like LBreakout2 and LTris.

True, but hopefully this should all change with the next release of
gNewSense that should use the newly-relicensed OpenGL 3D rendering
code from SGI. So as David Couzelis said, using the free driver in
Ubuntu (or the more recent version in Debian unstable with better
performance) is the best way to see how 3D performance will work in
gNewSense in the future.

> When I used Ubuntu I only used the free ATI driver but I was able to try out 
> some 3D applications. I was able to use compiz fusion, 3D screensavers, and 
> play TuxRacer. I'm pretty sure I played OpenArena (Quake III). Nexuiz did not 
> work, I assume because the free ATI driver doesn't yet use all of the 
> hardware in the video card. Anyway, in theory, when the license for 3D 
> acceleration in GNU/Linux gets cleared up and it gets put back into 
> gNewSense, then all of the 3D stuff I was able to do in Ubuntu with the free 
> ATI drivers will also work in gNewSense.

Strange, Nexuiz worked for me on Ubuntu (using ATI Radeon X800 with
the free driver) even on the highest graphics settings (monitor
resolution is 1280x1024). However, I needed to use the free driver
packaged in Debian unstable (newer version with better performance) to
have reasonable performance on the highest graphics settings.

> One more thing, I have been following the development of the free ATI driver 
> a bit. They have made huge progress with it and now support many more ATI 
> video cards and features, but it seems that GNU/Linux distributions are a 
> little slow in adding the latest drivers to their software repositories. It 
> wasn't too hard for me to download and install a newer driver myself, but I 
> didn't see any difference with my specific hardware.

For video card hardware the ATI Radeon X800 series seems like the best
option (in terms of performance) using free drivers[1]. As David
Couzelis said, development of the driver has made huge progress; by
using the free driver from Debian unstable (newer version), I have
been able to more than double my framerate in some Ubuntu games (30
fps to 80 fps). And of course AMD/ATI has released NDA-free
documentation, which means supporting them or Intel (which also
provides documentation) is morally good.

I would recommend taking a look at System76[2], a small company that
builds Ubuntu computers (they build the computers themselves; they
don't buy a computer with Windows from another company and install
Ubuntu). I suppose you could speak to the company owner and see what
hardware he would recommend for gNewSense, using 100% free drivers and
software (i.e. Nvidia graphics cards would not be a good idea).

Please keep us informed of whatever happens.


[1] (although glxgears isn't a great benchmark)

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