Over the past decade or so, fast 3D gamer display on your computer boils down to choosing either nVidia or ATI. Frankly, nVidia has had the edge most of that time. Competition has been pretty fierce, though, and now it seems nVidia is taking themselves too seriously. Slashdot reports a new “feature” of nVidia drivers, in which they refuse to work properly if it detects the presence of any other GPU on the system.
These days, it’s common for gamers and other hardware junkies to run multiple displays through multiple video cards, depending on different needs. For some time, it’s been possible to run nVidia for games, say, and maybe a Matrox for fonts. But with this new update, nVidia disables certain advanced hardware features if it finds the presence of any other brand of graphics processor.
This is just one more reason for Linux and BSD users to avoid nVidia. Some time ago, both ATI and nVidia required using their special software for us to get 3D acceleration. Then ATI gave up and released enough information and drivers to make it work without any extra steps. nVidia has continued forcing everyone to use their funky driver, all sealed to prevent anyone knowing what it does. Meanwhile, for quite some time, you could get as much 3D as Intel chips could offer, along with S3, Via, 3DFX (Voodoo), and everybody else. They were all quite willing to open up their hardware design so drivers could be written without guesswork. No, the other guys don’t compete that well ATI and nVidia for gaming, but otherwise you might never know the difference on Linux/BSD.
Let me add my voice to those advising this is yet one more reason to boycott nVidia hardware. When we matter to them, they’ll matter to us.