NVIDIA Optimus comes in Linux. Do you like Mpougatsa?

Not a long time ago in an another operating system not very far away, nVIDIA released their Optimus technology support. Today, we read at Phoronix that these guys are working on the Linux version, while Michael Larabel says:

At long last, NVIDIA confirms they are working on supporting their multi-GPU Optimus Technology under Linux with their proprietary graphics driver. This is really great news since up to this point NVIDIA Optimus laptops have been a pain to use properly under Linux. While there is DMA-BUF/PRIME support for the Nouveau driver, using the reverse-engineered open-source NVIDIA driver isn’t ideal there since the driver lacks reliable and useful power management support (a.k.a. a very short battery life and potentially a warm lap). Let’s hope this support gets stabilized soon.

… but should we smile yet?

Okay, first things first it would be wrong to say that I am disappointed with nVIDIA working on Linux. To the contrary instead I am very happy to know that nVIDIA is working on Linux projects at last! But honestly, I am disappointed for working with this particular project, wanna-be Optimus technology. Because all gamers around the globe know that if this is Optimus, then there is no Prime in this. It just is not what I expected magic to be right now, just before the release of Steam. Some of you might say it”s useful — yes there is not denying on that — but the first thing an experienced Windows user does is to disable this crap of a feature called Optimus. That is not a secret, so why should we be happy about that?

Let’s pause for a little and see how nVIDIA defines their Optimus Technology…

[toggle title="What is Optimus Technology"]

NVIDIA® Optimus™ technology intelligently optimizes your notebook PC, providing the outstanding graphics performance you need, when you need it, all the while extending battery life for longer enjoyment.

  • Optimus technology is completely automatic allowing you to experience longer battery life and amazing visuals without having to manually change settings.
  • Behind the scenes and with no interference to what you’re doing, Optimus seamlessly figures out how to best optimize your notebook computing experience.
  • NVIDIA graphics you’ve come to expect, with more than 10x better performance¹ with NVIDIA® CUDA™ technology, allowing you to enjoy your applications and games without interruption or worry.

Learn how it automatically manages battery life and performance to provide you with the best notebook experience – whether you’re watching HD movies, surfing the web, or playing top 3D games.

[/toggle]

Ok, enough with the wise crap. If you google around at gaming forums, you will find out that only noobs leave this feature enabled. Not only it doesn’t work properly on Windows but the gaming experience turns into a nightmare full of lags and low framerates. So, if Optimus technology doesn’t work on Windows, how on earth do you expect to work with Linux when there is no basic driver support ? This is just insane and you’re crazy to believe that this feature will prolong your laptop’s battery expectancy or something like that. We are running Ubuntu and still can’t adjust our fans to round at properly speed without typing in Japanese.

They say 10x better CUDA support, but since yesterday before 304.43 drivers release there was not even GTX600 series Kepler support. It’s just false advertising, because all these technologies don’t even exist in Linux, so how could anyone wraps eggs from a basket while there are no eggs at all ?

Secondly, there are so many OpenWhatever utilities that it is impossible to handle with. But let’s start with the very basics: Youtube videos. I am really interested to know how Optimus Technology will manage GPU acceleration on Youtube videos. You see, just one week ago they can’t even depict the colors right, making people’s faces into blue Alien colors.

After all, Phorinix’s article is based on what Aaron Plattner (one of the lead NVIDIA Linux engineers) said when he managed to make things work using Dave Airlie’s new RandR 1.4 provider object interface. On second though, Dave Airlie’s is working for Red Hat, so please let us know if Optimus technology is working for Enterprise systems (no gaming, old kernels, gnome 2.6 blah blah blah) or Home daily desktop PCs. There is a BIG difference between the two segments :)

So let me get things straight…

[checklist]

  • driver’s support is great
  • CUDA is supported
  • Overclocking utilities are available
  • There are minor problems with nVIDIA cards to be solved

[/checklist]

[badlist]

  • and the only missing part is porting the failure of Optimus technology into Linux.

[/badlist]

Let me you ask you again guys… Do you like Mpougatsa ?

  • http://profiles.google.com/deanhowell2 Dean Howell

    Oh man! I really could have used this way back in 2009 on my Asus 1201N!

    Oh well, it’s never too late.

  • http://www.cerebrux.net/ Salih Emin

    True story… why on earth should you play “Crysis” like games on notebook? They tried but they faild to understand the needs of a gamer…

    • http://www.ubuntuxtream.com/ Panos Georgiadis

      The “optimus” technology was never meant for gamers, but to auto configure the power of hybrid graphics. Gamers don’t need power saving features or green eco friendly stuff.

      • maredog

        oh yeah? well then why does nvidia insist on shoving it into every remotely affordable laptop?

        • http://www.ubuntuxtream.com/ Panos Georgiadis

          it’s called “marketing”.

  • Neil Griffiths

    Really badly written article

    • http://www.cerebrux.net/ Salih Emin

      Best comment ever !!! :P

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