Nvidia on KDE 4.1: a greedy problem [Update]

KDE 4.1 was released as a RC recently and will soon be released. While it will be a very usable and stable desktop environment ready to be used almost everywhere most users with NVIDIA cards will not be pleased: their proprietary driver spoil the fun.

The Current Situation

KDE 4.1 will be the first major release since KDE 4.0 and will come along with quite some features many people missed in the 4.0 release, most notable the KDE PIM suite. Besides, many performance and stabilization fixes went into the release, and with RC 1 KDE is already usable on a daily base (although there are hick ups once in a while, of course). To get an idea about the current state a safe way is to install KDE4Daily in a virtual machine. It is snappy, fast and simply works.

However, if you install it afterwards on a real machine, you might be surprised to see that KDE 4.1 can also be sluggish, slow, sticky and whatnot – although it is running on a power machine. The reason behind that is most likely the graphics hardware: a NVIDIA card. The proprietary drivers for these cards have numerous 2D problems and especially a set of problems with the newest Qt/KDE.

This wouldn’t be a major problem if the Open Source community would be supported by the company to develop free drivers – like AMD/ATI, who hand out documentation, or Intel, who at least pay developers and provide them NDA documentation. NIVIDIA only provides a basic 2D graphics driver. While that is still nice, it is simply not contemporary any more.
Of course, NVIDIA has a long, long history of a very strong Linux supporter – their 3D drivers where of high quality over years. And the community is very thankful for that! But the quality of the drivers declined considerably during the last releases, and there are more and more problems reported. Also, the days of hidden documentation and secret hardware specs are almost over, and if NVIDIA doesn’t keep up with the times they might become the bad guys in the hardware world.

Some Workarounds

Unfortunately, atm it doesn’t look like that NVIDIA will fix the drivers anytime soon. But there are hints and workarounds available to the ones who are willing to fiddle with the details.

The first workaround is to fine-tune the proprietary drivers. KDE’s Techbase has a collection of experiences in that regard.
Second, if there is no need for 3D the nv driver might help with a special option: make it greedy. Top do so, make sure that you force the right driver in your xorg.conf, and add the two options AccelMethod and MigrationHeuristic:

Section "Device"
        Identifier      "Configured Video Device"
        Driver          "nv"
        Option          "AccelMethod" "EXA"
        Option          "MigrationHeuristic" "greedy"

Third, a workaround would be to run XGL – that should solve the problem as well.

However, almost all of these solutions require that you either switch to a beta driver of NVIDIA or use the nv-EXA, which is also just in beta state atm. But for some people it might be the only option.

For others the best option might be to look for another vendor…

Please be aware of the fact that, while this post focuses on KDE, the mentioned problems with the newer NVIDIA proprietary drivers are not only with KDE. There are numerous reports about issues with other programs as well.
And btw., thx to tackat for the tip with the greedy option!


73 thoughts on “Nvidia on KDE 4.1: a greedy problem [Update]”

  1. So, you’re saying that choosing e.g. GNOME as “vendor” will solve the problem?

    Or, in other words: It worked before, now it’s broken. In the first iteration, it doesn’t seem like NVIDIA was the one breaking functionality.

  2. @Rasmus: hardly. kde is using features that it didn’t use previously, which it seems NVidia hasn’t ever tested. It aught to work, but it doesn’t.

    And no, choosing gnome over kde wont help once gnome gets fancier rendering (cairo anyone?).

  3. Any recommendations for other graphics cards for the Dell D630 (which I think you also purchased)? I haven’t opened mine up, but an upgrade from the 135M to some ATI card would be great.

  4. Unfortunately going to AMD/ATI doesn’t solve the problem either if you run a dsitro that uses the latest X version, like Fedora. No acceleration at all for that combo so far (well at least not for the R600 series of cards like mine).

  5. …. and I bought my new computer base on the fact that someone’s (is it Aaron?) blog mentioning Nvidia is getting friendly to Linux … and now this crap

    @#@$@@ !!

  6. Compiz-Fusion won’t help any. I’ve tried it with KDE 4.1RC1 on my laptop running an Nvidia 8600 card and it still sucks in performance. Choosing another vendor on a laptop doesn’t work, can’t change the card. I would like to see Nvidia, Trolltech and KDE get together and come up with a fix.

  7. Yeah, the closed source Nvidia drivers look quite bad currently. I guess they are getting to old for the advanced modern 2D demands. And there are other problems to. For example they still don’t have any support for the new XrandR extension. Currently even the old and slow integrated ATI graphics in my laptop work faster than my more powerful nVidia card. Oh well, I hope Nvidia steps up and fixes their problems as soon as possible.

  8. hmm interesting I have been using a nvidia card with kde4 since 4.0 and i have not seen the abysmal performance you are talking about. I agree that AMD/ATI are opening up alot more but don’t slam nvidia just yet, there are alot of us out here that use nvidia cards without these issues.

  9. Caesium: Huh? If you’ve followed this thing at all, you’d know that it’s AMD/ATI that’s opened up. The open source drivers are not quite there yet, but eventually they will.

  10. Well, let’s not forget though that NVidia drivers are the only ones with real 3D accelleration. They implemented their own direct renderer, bypassing X.Org, and that one does a real good job. Actually, ONLY the Nvidia drivers have that yet. Every other driver is using the slower workaround of indirect accellerated rendering via X.Org.
    It’s just the same as playing a game in vista without switching off the graphics effects – luckily, Vista does so automatically, so you have maximum 3D accelleration. Only achievable by direct rendering.

  11. Joergen Ramskov: true, but as nvidia cards are just better and their drivers are getting better, someone might buy nvidia based on that.

  12. @ Thomas Walther

    What use is 3d acceleration to me when I can’t use my desktop properly?

    Apparently even fglx is faster than nvidia on 2d accel (even if everything else does not work as nicely).

    True that nvidia have their own implementation of a direct renderer, but then compiz and kwin effects are really lumpy cos of the 2d part.

    So I guess I would say that there is no perfect solution for everybody. But I would like decent 2d speed from my card at least…

  13. Nvidia has a market share from ~50%. That means, that half of the KDE 4.1 users will have a slow system.
    Hey wake up. If half of your users can’t work with your system it is your problem. No matter what the technical problems are.
    And now you are telling the users that “…the best option might be to look for another vendor…”?
    I think Rasmus is right the users will look for a new vendor but switching to Gnome is much cheaper then switching to ATI or Intel.
    So, don’t release 4.1 without a solution for this problem, KDE would loose market share and I we don’t want that?

  14. This is an unproductive and silly political fight.

    Interestingly enough, as a side note, a similar political fight is happening right now at Xorg (also about the nVIDIA drivers).

    Reality check: the bulk of nVIDIA’s profits comes from selling video cards for Windows and/or Apple, and not from Linux, FreeBSD, or Solaris. Trying to shame nVIDIA into making their proprietary drivers “open” will only result in nVIDIA dropping support for these drivers.

    Last time I checked, the “Year Of The Linux Desktop” hasn’t arrived yet. Pissing off nVIDIA into dropping Linux driver support won’t help that cause (as elusive as said cause may be in the first place).

    This doesn’t help KDE in the least. Crappy KDE performance on nVIDIA cards will hurt KDE more than it will hurt nVIDIA.

    Time for a cold, hard reality check.

  15. Sure there is a perfect solution :

    buy an almight and powerfull intel 940 card ! and experience compiz with no frameskipping , and kwin with 3d effects at 60fps !

    just to show what open drivers can do !

  16. > “Trying to shame nVIDIA into making their proprietary drivers “open” will only result in nVIDIA dropping support for these drivers.”

    So what ? Does the ideal behind free software have to be pragmatic ?

    Or are we utopists trying to create a better (computing) world ?

    Look at the top 10 offenders in the kernel oops list. NVidia, ATI (for the fglrx driver) and VMWare have always appeared high in this list. And they will be as long as the community can’t fix there driver as the community has the expertise on the linux kernel, and those companies just can’t follow the pace of development by themselves.

    Does that mean the problem is in the Linux Kernel ? No.

    Can it hurt Linux ? Yes.

    But Trying to support some unfair companies won’t help, as this can only slow down development, improvements and innovation.

    And you know what ? At each new release of the Kernel / Xorg / KDE / whatever, there will always be the same latency before a proprietary driver lands.

    And what about nasty bugs that those companies won’t fix because the Linux desktop doesn’t represent a sufficient market share ?

    So there is basically nothing that the community can do to improve the situation with crappy proprietary drivers. Nothing ! In this case, why should we care about them ?

  17. @ Tobias – any proof for the marketshare figure? I would expect it to be much lower as I as expect Intel to have greater than 50% marketshare (due to integrated IGP solutions) with AMD/Nvidia fighting over the rest.

    20-25% is still a fare amount, but not as big as 50%.

    @Stefan Teleman – it will hurt both. It may also help get some nvidia users a reality check – those that irrationally seem to try and defend nvidia at all costs.

    The graphics market is changing – hopefully for the better.

  18. > So what ? Does the ideal behind free software have to be pragmatic ?

    Yes, if you ever want to achieve just a tad more than the perennial “Year Of The Linux Desktop” banter has achieved thus far (which amounts to Slashdot). If you’re only interested in writing buggy code, and then trying to justify your own bugs by whining and shifting the blame on the video card manufacturer, then, by all means, go ahead. I fail to see the point of this endeavor.

    > Or are we utopists trying to create a better (computing) world ?

    I don’t know what the definition of “a better (computing) world” is. I will assume it is based in reality. I will also assume that the “better (computing) world” contains computers serving a useful purpose. Feel free to start creating a “better (computing) world” with some marginal connection to reality by:

    1. writing less buggy code.
    2. avoiding delusional and arrogant political fights

    Another Reality Check(TM): anyone who assumes that breaking KDE4 on nVIDIA drivers will have any impact on nVIDIA, is confusing reality with Second Life (or lack thereof).

  19. > I’m afraid the problem is in Qt4 (maybe the double
    > buffering ?), if that’s the case, KDE can’t really fix it.

    And that’s fine.

    If the problem is in QT4, then let’s talk about how we can fix the problem in QT4. If the problem is in KDE4, then let’s talk about how we can fix the problem in KDE4. Or how we can work around the problem.

    But not this “BAD BAD BAD nVIDIA BAD You Evil Monster” crap.

  20. Anyone knows exactly which drivers (propietary and free) are having problems with 2d and/or 3d rendering?

    @Stefan Teleman:
    Are you assuming that the KDE4 team is breaking KDE4 on nvidia drivers on purpose? What buggy code are you talking about?
    KDE4/Qt4 include many new technologies regarding 2d/3d rendering, which are making nvidia drivers (and maybe other drivers) expose their bugs.
    There is no buggy code or breaking anything. You should investigate a little bit more before saying such nonsense.

  21. Why doesn’t anyone suggest turning off desktop effects? I know that it is nice to have them enabled, but if you turn them off you get rid of the slowness.

  22. “Another Reality Check(TM): anyone who assumes that breaking KDE4 on nVIDIA drivers will have any impact on nVIDIA, is confusing reality with Second Life (or lack thereof)”

    Admittedly this will not be their top priority but it wont be off their radar as ATI has already released a new version of their driver with patches that play with KDE4 better. I very much doubt Nvidia would drop sales for a bug in their drivers for too long no matter how small the market otherwise ATI would appear better than them and up until now the NVidia drivers have been the best for Linux.

    To those who have said the fault is with KDE or QT then that is not the case it is definitely with NVidia, this fault does not show on Compiz as it doesn’t exploit the api of the drivers fully but to code around the defficiency would mean that the bug would never be fixed and linux would be losing out in another area so the best is to hold out until it is fixed and if you find the time and feel the inclination bring it up on the NVidia forum as Aaron no longer can use his blog to highlight these faults out to the public where it may be witnessed by the driver developers as has happened in the past.

  23. Personally, I’m voting with my wallet. Although my last 9 graphics cards have been Nvidia, the next one will not be.

  24. @Tobias
    > So, don’t release 4.1 without a solution for this problem, KDE would loose market share and I we don’t want that?
    It’s not in KDE’s hands, see below. Also, you can still use KDE4 perfectly without the effects. Turn them off if you’re having problems and performance is much better already. Hey, look at it in a Vista way: even if you have a good machine, you still can’t run it with all the shiny stuff. 😀

    @Stefan Teleman Says:
    > Yup, KDE4 is bug-free.

    That’s all you can reply, huh, after hearing what the real problem is (nvidia). He didn’t say that there is no buggy code. Where there is code, there are bugs. But the problems that nvidia card users are experiencing is not because of buggy KDE code. It’s because new technology is used for these 2D/3D desktops and by using that technology, nvidia’s buggy 2D performance is exposed. If ‘basic’ Intel chipsets can get it to work properly (actually, I believe no extra work was needed, but I could be wrong), then what does that tell you?

  25. Stefan Teleman:

    A few things. First (other said that already) is it not a bug or someting like that in KDE.

    And yes, that hurts KDE more than Nvidia. But it will even more hit Linux as a whole when that is not fixed.

    Qt4/KDE are using things which aren’t used that much before. But not using “new” technologies is not the solution in the long term.

    AND: It is not only kde 4.1 which has problems with the 2D performance of the Nvidia 8/9xxx cards. In general every 2D drawing seems to be affected (at least on my system). Even plain gtk.

    The speed problem there is only very small. But there is non KDE stuff which also really has problems on the newer nvidia cards and 2D. Firefox 3 has very slow scrolling on some complex Websits with the Nvidia driver. Switching to the Vesa one or to Windows and everything is fine. Cairo has also problems.

    So I believe in the long term every app will more and more use the new features. Or they will stop using them (and fall in other ways behind) because one major vendor of graphics hardware can not get it’s drivers right.

    Nvidia writes they know about the problem and they will fix them someday. But I and others are sick of waiting. So blog posts like this at least help others to NOT BUY a nvidia card right now.

    I must live with my creepy 8600m-GT as it is a laptop, but if that post helps other to not make that misstake it has done it’s job.

    My comment is not at all about politics and ideology but pure pragmatism.

    And to make something clear: It is not the 3D performance. So the compiz/kwin4 effects are not slow by itself. It is slow with or without desktop effects. But using them makes some of the problems more visible (and others less visible)


  26. > But the problems that nvidia card users are experiencing is
    > not because of buggy KDE code. It’s because new
    > technology is used for these 2D/3D desktops and by using
    > that technology, nvidia’s buggy 2D performance is exposed.

    Oh, and this is not a bug. Using “new technology” which doesn’t work, is not a bug. It’s a feature. We were all waiting for this feature, because there is nothing more rewarding, or useful, than Free And Open Source New Technology Which Doesn’t Work.

    > If ‘basic’ Intel chipsets can get it to work properly
    > (actually, I believe no extra work was needed, but I
    > could be wrong), then what does that tell you?

    4 months ago it was “oh, the nVIDIA driver works beautifully, it’s the Intel drivers which we can’t make work”.

    This is a silly, ill-conceived and misguided political fight. The exact same fight is happening at Xorg right now — trying really hard to kick out Xorg autoconfig support for the nVIDIA driver, for similar vaporous $REASONs. But, I am certain it’s only a timely coincidence.

  27. When programmer face up any problem he can:
    1) f*ck his brain and did ugly hack (good programmer)
    2) Ignore the problem. (bad programmer)

    KDE and Trolls goes second way.

    KDE and Trolls think: Nvidia should tweak drivers for their needs.
    Nvidia thinks: whatever!

    All are happy, programmers from kde are very happy because they don’t follow “stupid nvidia bugs” and make holl y war agains “Propietary Nvidia”.

    Who are not happy? Users are.
    What KDE and Trolls says? “Whatever!”

  28. @ Stefan Teleman

    But the technology *does* work, if Nvidia implements it improperly it’s *their* fault. It’s not a feature either.
    In addition, this isn’t “Free and Open Source New Technology that doesn’t work” it’s a “Closed and proprietary implementation of a software specification that sucks speed-wise”.

  29. AlexeiSergeev:

    Well, I haven’t yet talked to a KDE dev who is happy about his/her slow KDE performance on his hardware. I doubt they exits.

    Is it not that they are using complete new things and are now waiting for the graphic vendors to implement these in their drivers.

    They are just using things which wasn’t used much before. (but in the real word every single 2D is a little slow (not really notable) on nvidia anyway.

    They are no problem with the ati or intel drivers.

    If you have such a Nvidia card with that problems (for example the 8600m-GT) try it out. First try it with the nvidia driver which is supposed to do 2d acceleration. It will be slow (also firefox 3 in a lot of cases). Then switch to plain old xorg vesa driver on the same hardware. Which has no 2D acceloration at all. It will be a lot faster.

    A recent CPU can do the things a lot faster then the broken Nvidia driver can do it on the graphic hardware. So in fact the 2D “acceleration is a 2D break. I would be happy when they (Nvidia) could just stop trying to make things fast in hardware which they are not able to do.

    Go and look in the nvnews.net forum. You will see a lot of people with such problems. Not all of them are using KDE. It is a general nvidia issue. Way out of the control of KDE.

    But yes you are right maybe Nvidia cann work together with Qt to faster find what is slow in their driver to fix it.

  30. DanielW, I have 6800GT. While it is not in the “black list” it works bad with kubuntu8.04 and any version of kde4.

    I have to say that:
    1) with gentoo it was much better with propietary drivers (I don’t know why).
    2) if there is any possibility for kde devs to make hack and did some things other way for nvidia they should… That what I was talking about. It doesn’t matter for programmer if it is bug in his software or in third party libs/hardware. Programmer always must solve problem if it is possible. That is the way I do at least.

    I will use kde4 anyway, but kdedevs should change their mind about this problem… (actualy about any such problem). Oh, and yes, they should nothing to no one, I know, they are not being paid. But if any did works for free he WANTS to do it best 😉

  31. 2 AlexeiSergeev:

    Go cry nvidia-kid, your hardware vendor really sucks at 2d-performance.
    Inscape would be the next victim with higher acceptance of Cairo.

  32. Instead of crying foul, why not open a dialogue with nvidia? There are other ways of getting a driver to the masses. They are so bothered about giving away their trade secrets of their 3d? Release the 3d part as a binary blob and open the 2d part. Or maybe hire some OSS devs, or do as Inter do and create an NDA. We’re talking about software freedom here, let the hardware guys do their stuff 🙂

  33. Torn if you really thinks it is possible in short peroid of time then you don’t get how real companies works.

    Do you think they are like someone opensource developers and can just throw some code to public? At least they need much time to take desigion than to prepeare code to be published than.. etc.etc.etc. Think by head not by heart, please) And software freedom is myth 😉

  34. Thank you all for your comments. Please keep in mind to be nice to everyone! 🙂

    So, to the facts: the post focuses on the impact of the driver problem on KDE 4. However, as mentioned, the problem is not only KDE related. Indeed, there are numerous reports about various kinds of problems not only on newer KDE versions but also on GNOME, Firefox and OOo. To make that clear I’ve updated the post.
    Also, please understand that the problems came up with newer drivers. Older versions are not affected. And KDE has mentioned the problems to the NVIDIA guys a long time ago – and they said they are working on it. So it is indeed a bug on NVIDIA’s side (because they screwed up something which worked in the past) and KDE already tried to work with them. So for all that we know now, it is indeed a NVIDIA bug.

    Also, about the impact factor: NVIDIA has a market share of maybe 25%-30%. The problem are the newer drivers, as mentioned above. So older cards are not hit by the problems. So the majority of Linux users will not see this bug at all – a minority of 10%-20% will however. Do I have to mention that both my current machines do have new NVIDIA cards? 😦

    About the workarounds, compiz will not help, but XGL would help. However, hardly anyone uses that anymore.

    Rasmsu, I clarified that, GNOME might help a bit, but won’t help totally.

    Quintesse, there are free 3D drivers out which work with the newest X afaik.

    Caesium, Aaron mentioned that the NVIDIA guys told him they work at it. He can only pass on what he was told…

    Tsiolkovsky, yes, the RandR thing is another one, and I really don’t like NVIDIA’s “development speed” there…

    lostson, I guess you have a slightly older card, and therefore use the older drivers?

    Thomas, not sure there, currently everyone is using AIGLX which was developed along the ideas of the NVIDIA guys afaik.

    Tobias, I already said something about the numbers. Also, it is not sure if KDE can fix the bug at all if it is a bug which would need a workaround in Qt.

    Stefan, sorry, but your argumentation is a bit unrealistic. NVIDIA’s income is generated in several different areas, and according to these areas they also spend developer power. For several years now NVIDIA spends quite some power on Linux/BSD drivers, and that’s not just for fun, but (mostly) according to their generated money in that field. So there is a specific amount dedicated to all things regarding Linux.
    Also, asking for open drivers again and again helps – look at ATI/AMD. Or ask the BSD guys, they are really good at that, and had many successes. Besides, NVIDIA has some Open Source drivers for other products as well, so it is not like we are talking about a totally strange idea here.
    Btw., the fact that you are asking for RealityChecks while you have problems having a good look at the real world is rather strange.
    Your argumentation that this bug is a KDE bug is simply wrong – see above.

    Dave, well said! DanielW, nice post.

    AlexeiSergeev, please read the blog post above: the problem came up with newer drivers. As far as we know now, NVIDIA screwed up newer driver versions. Also, KDE quickly contacted NVIDIA to work with them on the problem.

    Tom Mann, as said above, the dialog was already started some time ago.

  35. “The problem are the newer drivers, as mentioned above. So older cards are not hit by the problems.”

    I don’t know if it’s the same problem but I experience really bad performance on my Geforce4 440mx which is, indeed, an old card. For example resizing internal widgets of kde4 applications (ex: “places” panel in dolphin”) I get really really terrible performances that certainly can not depend on the poor card itself. Especially because in kde3 and in gnome I get MUCH better performance.

  36. Same as the previous poster: GeForce2 MX/MX 400, already more than 5 years old, works without problems with KDE3 with the free X driver (not the binary one).
    With designer from Qt4 I get _sometimes_ really bad drawing performance, like opening a menu takes a noticable time (0.2 s ?) at 100 % CPU.
    I couldn’t figure out yet when it happens and when it doesn’t happen. Building Qt4 without xrender support seemed to help, but I’m not sure. Can anybody try to reproduce whether this changes something for him ?


  37. Amine, thx for the link, I’ve added that one.

    kinto, Alex, just for a test I would suggest using the nv driver. If the performance is still bad you certainly run into a KDE bug.

  38. Possible tip:

    disable composite extension, I _think_ it’s faster for me this way

    Section “Extensions”
    Option “Composite” “Disable”

  39. I find it amazing how less technical details are written in nearly all blog posts and comments about this.

    So, what particular X calls are so slow?
    Where are they used exactly Qt or KDE?
    If it is Trolltechs code, why wasn’t this addressed due to the quality ensurace cycle?
    Why this still isn’t declared as an show-stopper?
    Why give nVidia ALL fault when it might be expected, that particular functions are super slow?
    Are those function-calls really needed or would it be possible to work around it somehow (until nVidia makes a proper fix)?
    Why is it a problem when there need to be changes in Qt to work around those issues? I suppose all major distributions deliver qt-copy instead of a vanilla Qt anyway.

    So there are alot of questions that should be answered before ranting about (obviously) faulty drivers.
    I mean, we probably can find some bottleneck functions in every driver (and maybe even hardware) – why choose this code path then when there *might* be alternatives that work on *every* (or atleast much more) configurations?
    I would say *all* parties (be it Qt, nVidia or KDE) have to work on a fix and I would say that this is a definite show stopper bug for KDE as it will cause *major* negative press, no matter whose particular sub-routine is to blame.

    Just my 2 cent…..

  40. How to reproduce the problem (“my” problem ?):

    Start Qt4 designer from any version of Qt4.x.
    Open a menu, then keep the right-arrow pressed to cycle through the menus as fast as possible.

    Sometimes this is really slow on my system, right now it is fast. I haven’t found out yet when exactly it gets slow.

    Can somebody else confirm this ?

    So, at least for me this seems to be clearly a Qt problem.


    (because it doesn’t happen always it’s harder to investigate)

  41. @Alex: tried to reproduce your problem but it didn’t show up on my Geforce 440mx. I’ll try again since you said that it happens only sometimes.
    I finally tried nv driver. Can’t believe but is faster than the nvidia one. Especially in the zoom-in/zoom-out kde4 feature I got a major improvement since with the nvidia driver I had a 4 seconds freeze before the zoom-out happens and now is less than a second. Sadly no fancy kwin effects with the nv driver but I think I can live without them for now.

  42. Hi guys. I’ve tried to install KDE4.1 (Release candidate) too. My hardware is MSI M673 laptop with GeForce 7400 graphics. KDE works fast enough except Konsole.

    Terminal emulator is just slow (in mc, mutt and some other interactive fullscreen curses applications). I’ve tried to open /usr/share/doc in mc and press cursor down button. Movement of mc cursor is not smooth. It looks like I’m working over ssh.

    Can anybody confirm this?

  43. knuddeler, you have a good point there. However, as already mentioned, the problem was already discussed between between KDE and NVIDIA. Unfortunately the details about this contact are no longer available since Aaron’s blog was closed down.
    Another reason for the missing information in the blogs is simply due to the lack of technical skills. To address the questions you’ve mentioned you need quite some knowledge about debugging faulty slow X systems – which isn’t particularly easy. Additionally, many X people do simply not bother with closed source drivers.

    If you give me a hint how to do it I would digg more into the technical bits of the subject. I simply don’t have the time right now to figure it out myself.

  44. @Quintesse:
    > Unfortunately going to AMD/ATI doesn’t solve the problem either if you run a dsitro that uses the latest X version, like Fedora. No acceleration at all for that combo so far (well at least not for the R600 series of cards like mine).

    You can drop that “at least”. With the latest Fedora 9 updates, Radeons up to r5xx have 3D acceleration (with the Free drivers), only the r6xx series are not supported yet.

  45. I got two machines. A notebook with a gma 950 video card and a desktop with an nvidia geforce 8600 gt. The gma950 provides excelent peformance on kde4, perhaps a bit less than compiz fusion(on kde 3), but it works very well nevertheless. On the other hand, the geforce works horrible, despite the fact that it scores over 6 to 8 times more fps in glxgears than the intel one..
    Only one thing doesn’t fit though – I was still running kde 4.0.4

  46. My desktop uses an Intel core2quad @ 3.6ghz and an 8800GT video card. My laptop has a GMA965 with a 2.0ghz core2duo. Using the exact same distribution (ubuntu 8.04 64-bit), I can say without a doubt that the laptop runs circles around the nvidia desktop in terms of user interface responsiveness in KDE4.1, and in many GTK apps as well. The desktop is practically unusable but the laptop runs fairly smoothly. If a laptop using shared video memory can outperform a high powered workstation, I’d say nvidia has some work to do. My last 3 video card purchases were nvidia for their linux support, but I’m strongly considering moving back to Radeons now.

  47. “….. Additionally, many X people do simply not bother with closed source drivers.”

    That’s it. It’s just a war and users get sucked inside.
    I contributed to OSS in many ways, from code to docs,howto
    and bugreporting. I fixed quite a lot of ASM/C/C++/python
    code, even into KDE.

    Now I’m just tired of these wars. Do you think I’ll buy ATI or I’ll work on the PATHETIC Nouveau drivers just because
    you’re pushing me?

    I’m rolling back to XP, farewell, and thanks for all the fish.

  48. Hi !

    hmm, where do I get extension graphic cards (AGS/PCI-e) from intel ? and what about matrox cards, afaik there are opensource drivers available too

  49. chandra, that’s quite an old card. The best would be to try to set up a simple (!) Compiz (single monitor, plain KDE, etc.). If that doesn’t work, ask directly at the Compiz forums, they can most likely help.

  50. A couple of notes:

    1) It is not just newer cards and drivers. I have a Nvidia geoforce2 MX/400 and the linux legacy drivers 96.43.05 and I am experiencing problems.

    2) It is not just slowliness. It is truly incorrect behaviours. Boot into kde 4.1 with opengl rendering for effects. Open a konsole. Use command less on a file. Scroll down with the down arrow. Try scrolling up again with the up arrow . The konsole screen is now garbled. The same thing happens when scrolling the plasmoid list from add-widget.

    3) It is not just kde 4.1. When using 3.5.9 I could not use compiz fusion due to rendering issues (that indeed were minor, but still there: e.g. with animated cursors the screen below the animation was not redrawn properly, etc.).

    4) Kde 4.1 is no worse than 3.5 on Nvidia hardware. Turn off the effects, so that 4.1 behaves more like 3.5 and everything works as well as it used to work in 3.5 (slightly faster maybe).

  51. sergio, your experiences about older cards and older KDE versions do not match with the experiences made by others – and also made by me.
    Could it be that your hardware is actually broken? Did you try to run an OpenGL game to see if it is broken as well?

  52. Vista runs perfectly on my 8800GT. Smooth as butter.

    KDE4.1 runs like crap.

    I think I’ll stick with nice reliable Vista, thank you very much. (Sad to say.)

  53. Figured i’d add in my view..

    It appears overall Xorg itself (doesn’t matter what DE you run) is slow with NVIDIA hardware, since all my hardware has been NVIDIA I don’t know anything other than slow – this applies to all the drivers (nv, nouveau and nvidia). My next box will be Intel-based and i’ll slam in an ATI GPU if they do well on their FLOSS promise 😉

    P.S. I’m more concerned with NVIDIA making AMD64 FreeBSD drivers, getting better Solaris support and making all their drivers Xen-aware 😉

  54. I’ve seen the KDE 4 with an Intel 950 VGA and it was fast, really bloody fast! I’ve tried KDE 4 on my computer (NVIDIA 8400GS) and it was slow, even with the beta drivers and the workarounds ive seen on the net.

    I’ve heard that KDE4+ATI is as fast as KDE4+Intel and that ATI/AMD is planning an OSS driver.

    My next GPU will be an ATI GPU. Sorry nVidia, but there are 2 probs that lead me to this decision
    1) nVidia has no OSS driver
    2) 3D desktop performance sucks…

  55. Antonios, ATI/AMD is not only planning an OSS driver, it is already in full development quite some time. The OSS driver is not as good as the closed source one, but it is indeed on a good track, and totally sufficient for desktop usage.

  56. To all posters before, about how Nvidia will just walk away from Linux, if the Linux crowd complain about their driver being screwed.

    First off:
    Rhythm & Hues Standardizes on NVIDIA Quadro FX Professional Graphics Systems
    Facility creating visual effects found in film, television, and commercials switches to NVIDIA

    They are not the only ones running NVidia Hardware on Linux a lot of the Rendering Companies stuff like Pixar Disney etc are running Linux with Nvidia, using the Quddro chipsets so it would be foolish for Nvidia to let there drivers run into disrepair.

    Unfortunately for me, I decided to build a new system about 3 months ago and only gfx cards I buy are Nvidia based as I have suffered the ATI issues in the past, so refused to support them (I know they have opened up the whole lot now, but I also know it will take atleast a year before the new proper acellerated drivers are released) so I bought an Nvidia GTX 280 a graphics card that cost £350 and it preforms like dog crap in kde 3.1, I

  57. fixitPlease, thx for the nice summary of companies using Nvidia/Linux. But please, don’t quite entire posts from other forums here, I’ve deleted that comment since most of these information are well known by these days anyway.

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