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Linux Support Fades For 3Dfx Voodoo, Rage 128, VIA

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the this-way-to-the-ice-floe-folks dept.

Graphics 330

An anonymous reader writes "The developers behind the Mesa 3D graphics library, which provides the default graphics driver support for most hardware on Linux (and BSD/Solaris), has ended their support for older hardware. Being removed from Mesa (and therefore versions of Linux distributions) is support for hardware like the 3Dfx Voodoo, Intel i810, ATI Rage, and S3 Savage graphics processors. Also drivers being dropped were for Matrox and VIA graphics. Mesa developers also decided it's time to end support for the BeOS operating system. Dropping this code lowered the developers' responsibility by some 100k L.O.C., so maybe we will see GL3 support and OpenCL in Linux a bit sooner."

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A fork for old machines (3, Interesting)

hendrikboom (1001110) | about 3 years ago | (#37227722)

Sounds like it's time for a legacy fork for old machines. Or maybe just keeping old versions alive, the way Linux distros do with other libraries.

-- hendrik
 

Re:A fork for old machines (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 3 years ago | (#37227776)

That would be nice. This hardware is still common, easily available, and has life in it yet if there is software support. It doesn't take much to run Open Arena.

Re:A fork for old machines (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 3 years ago | (#37228080)

OTOH, if you're still running a 3DFX VooDoo 2, you're probably not using it for gaming. It still works in VESA modes, and still works as a video card for 2D applications, it's just 3D accelerated modes that won't be supported any more. I have a server that still has an ATi Mach32 in it, and it works no problem, even though it's a much older card than the lot that's being dropped now.

Re:A fork for old machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37228246)

Voodoo2 has no VESA modes. ;P

Re:A fork for old machines (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37228338)

The Voodoo 2 was exclusively for 3D acceleration and had to be used in conjunction with a separate 2D graphics card. It's only use was gaming/3D rendering so it most defiantly won't work as a video card for 2D applications.

Re:A fork for old machines (5, Informative)

Aspen (70029) | about 3 years ago | (#37227832)

Not sure that makes sense...from the article: "Code that was mostly unmaintained and didn't receive new feature support work in years." The volunteers already quit working on it years ago: this is just being honest about it.

Want to keep using the hardware? Just keep using the 7.11 release.

Re:A fork for old machines (1)

hendrikboom (1001110) | about 3 years ago | (#37227870)

Just keep using the 7.11 release.

Exactly. Now hope that Linux distros make this an installation option, perhaps after autodetecting the old hardware.

Re:A fork for old machines (4, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | about 3 years ago | (#37228154)

Code that was mostly unmaintained and didn't receive new feature support work in years.

Code that works doesn't need new features.

Re:A fork for old machines (4, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 3 years ago | (#37227924)

I agree, but I'd love to see someone (with time, experience, and more knowledge than I) take it a step further: A Linux distro to work on ancient machines, with the latest feasible versions of software.

When I volunteered in Africa in 2009, one of my projects was to set up a computer lab, populated with donated machines. These computers were old. The newest one was manufactured in 2003. The oldest was 1997. I ended up installing Ubuntu and Edubuntu, then stripped down the core as much as I could while still keeping things clean. The machines still take several minutes to boot fully.

What I'd love would be a distro designed for just such situations. On install, it would determine what kind of hardware you have available, and only install things that will work well. Support for really old hardware would be patched in for the distro, probably with only major bugs receiving repair attention. If a package isn't likely to run well on your system, it will alert you before installing.

Re:A fork for old machines (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37228054)

There are distros for that. Ubuntu is not one of them. AntiX is a good option in the debian family.

need a lot more specifics (1)

decora (1710862) | about 3 years ago | (#37228060)

was the problem with the new software that it used too much RAM and CPU?

or was the problem that it didnt support old hardware graphics drivers?

those are two massively different problems.

Re:need a lot more specifics (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 3 years ago | (#37228112)

Both. We had one machine whose video card was entirely unsupported, and had to run the bare-minimum vesa driver. It ended up being used for parts to upgrade other machines so they could boot.

Re:A fork for old machines (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 3 years ago | (#37228086)

Ubuntu was a poor choice of distribution; it wants to install a default desktop and to simplify installation by making assumptions (including assuming you have a relatively modern machine). Debian would've been a better choice. You could've started with a very stripped down package selection (including passing on having an X server) without much difficulty.

Re:A fork for old machines (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 3 years ago | (#37228204)

I chose Ubuntu mainly because of the Edubuntu package, and ease of installation. This was a school in rural Africa, and I was the first volunteer they'd had with a significant technology background. The nearest "computer repair technician" was a 2-hour ride away in a shared taxi, and he only knew Windows. I needed something that, if something went badly wrong, American volunteers could reinstall if needed, following a set of instructions I left. Drop in an Ubuntu disk and install, then drop in an Edubuntu disk and install. No Internet connection, and no Linux admin magic necessary.

Re:A fork for old machines (1)

tqk (413719) | about 3 years ago | (#37228138)

I ended up installing Ubuntu and Edubuntu, then stripped down the core as much as I could while still keeping things clean. The machines still take several minutes to boot fully.

In my experience, it's not the speed of the processor that makes an old machine feel old. It's more a combination of not enough RAM and/or slow disk. Beef those up and do a minimal install, then apt-get install everything you want. Regardless of cpu (within reason :-), it'll be more than capable of keeping up.

I just abandoned an old Sun U30 (ca. '99), not because it wasn't fast enough, but because it weighed a ton. It was perfectly capable of running Linux and OpenBSD.

As for forks for old machines, there's already Xubuntu and Lubuntu. Also consider that old machines make fine headless servers long after they're up to the challenge of serving as gaming boxes.

Re:A fork for old machines (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 3 years ago | (#37228228)

If Lubuntu had existed as a standalone disk when I'd gone over, I'd have used that. One of the project requirements was that the system look & act as much like Windows as possible (I blame the government, but that's a rather long rant in itself that I'll only go into by request), so Xfce was out of the question. I had planned on using Kubuntu, but that didn't work for some reason (which I now forget), so I ended up running GNOME, with the panels customized to look like Windows. It sucked, but it was the best option available at the time.

Re:A fork for old machines (3, Funny)

Lanteran (1883836) | about 3 years ago | (#37228398)

Rant please :)

You guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37228276)

Install something that was released around the time the computer was sold.

Computer : 2006 Install Ubuntu 6.04 - 8.10 / Slackware 10.2 - Slackware 12
Computer 2010 - present : Install Ubuntu 10.04 etc

Re:You guys (2)

Lanteran (1883836) | about 3 years ago | (#37228410)

Ridiculous. A computer from '06 can and will run any distribution released today.

...And? (2)

Megaweapon (25185) | about 3 years ago | (#37227740)

This is news? Trimming out old cruft from a source code tree isn't a big deal.

Re:...And? (1)

3vi1 (544505) | about 3 years ago | (#37227802)

Seriously. If your using 13-year old cards in your system, you're probably not running the latest software anyway.

And, since it's open source - you're free to keep compiling in support on your own. It's not like it's Windows where you would be SOL when a manufacturer doesn't release a driver compiled for the latest x-bit version processor.

Re:...And? (4, Interesting)

canajin56 (660655) | about 3 years ago | (#37227930)

Not running the latest software? Doom 3 running on a Voodoo 2 [3dfxzone.it] ;)

Re:...And? (0)

mattgoldey (753976) | about 3 years ago | (#37227986)

Not running the latest software? Doom 3 running on a Voodoo 2 [3dfxzone.it] ;)

Doom 3 was released 6 years ago. That hardly qualifies as "latest software".

Re:...And? (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 3 years ago | (#37228350)

Not running the latest software? Doom 3 running on a Voodoo 2 [3dfxzone.it] ;)

Doom 3 was released 6 years ago. That hardly qualifies as "latest software".

Is Doom 4 out yet?

Re:...And? (1)

oursland (1898514) | about 3 years ago | (#37228182)

Without the dumb effects that made that game so dark (hard to view), the Voodoo 2 makes game looks a lot more fun! Reminds me a bit of the original HalfLife.

Re:...And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37228294)

Not running the latest software? Doom 3 running on a Voodoo 2 [3dfxzone.it] ;)

Doom 3 came out 7 years ago.

Re:...And? (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 3 years ago | (#37228046)

Seriously. If your using 13-year old cards in your system, you're probably not running the latest software anyway.

In today's networked world there unfortunately isn't much choice but to stay on the software upgrade treadmill. I could imagine using an unpatched box as an X terminal with no direct link to the internet (not even running a browser locally), but nothing more.

As for maintaining your own graphics driver, keeping up with the evolution of Xorg and OpenGL and the kernel, good luck with that. (Which is why I can't blame mesa for dropping it either).

Re:...And? (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 3 years ago | (#37228150)

I actually have a high-end server, built in the last year, that's using an ATi Mach32 video card. That's a 20-year old video card in a system that's less than a year old. It works great in text mode... if I *wanted* to run it in graphics mode/X I would be able to, as the card supports VESA. You don't need a dedicated driver to use VESA, as VESA is itself a standardised driver that is not being removed from Linux any time soon.

Re:...And? (1)

Lanteran (1883836) | about 3 years ago | (#37228436)

Wrong. I've got a Pentium III machine with a R128, with the latest version of gentoo installed. Which of course, as you pointed out, will mean I just compile in support, it's no big deal, but people are still running old hardware with modern distributions.

Re:...And? (1)

thesh0ck (1983948) | about 3 years ago | (#37227806)

Yes, but considering that code hasnt changed in 7 years... why remove it? No one is looking at it, its not hurting anyone.. just let it be.

Re:...And? (1)

slackbheep (1420367) | about 3 years ago | (#37227920)

I was wondering about this as well. They mention lowering their responsibilities by 100,000 lines of code, but how resource intensive was it to actually maintain these?

Re:...And? (2)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 3 years ago | (#37227938)

My guess is that they plan to make some changes in the near future that will break it, and nobody cares enough to update it.

Re:...And? (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 3 years ago | (#37227968)

Or that change has already happened, and someone finally noticed and opened a ticket saying it was broken. Rather than fix it, or attempt to do so blindly since no one else still has any of that hardware, they just drop support.

Re:...And? (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 3 years ago | (#37228362)

My guess is that they plan to make some changes in the near future that will break it, and nobody cares enough to update it.

Indeed. Old code can be allowed to "live and let live" until such time as architecture, compiler, etc. changes make it uncompilable. Then you've either got to figure out what the hell seven-years-ago guy was doing or cut it out. And if you can live without it (mostly) then the choice is pretty clear.

Re:...And? (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37228038)

Because if it hasn't been changed in 7 years, then chances are that nobody really knows the code. Consequently nobody is checking it nor is anybody likely to be paying attention to any breakage which might occur if they change the infrastructure and ultimately it's one more area in which a security vulnerability could pop into existence when somebody changes some other code.

Having essentially dead code in a project isn't a wise idea in most cases. But beyond that it's extra bandwidth that's not necessary for nearly everybody.

Re:...And? (1)

jsprenkle (2009592) | about 3 years ago | (#37227922)

I use old hardware for things like MythTV. This "old cruft" is still being used. I'd like to know why support for the old stuff is much of a burden. It should be pretty much frozen and unchanging. Seems like it should require almost no effort.

Re:...And? (5, Interesting)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 3 years ago | (#37228036)

Try as we might, we just can't manage to get you people to migrate to more modern hardware. Frozen and unchanging code means exactly that, the code is not being improved in any manner. We recently redid both the UI and video rendering interfaces. Say we want to further add some animation support to the video renderer for use on the OSD, that code needs to be written for each of Xshm, Xv, OpenGL, VDPAU, VAAPI, XvMC, and PVR-350 framebuffer output. In addition, that's primarily the work of one single guy. XvMC hasn't been supported on any useful hardware sold in the last couple years, and the PVR-350 hasn't been sold for over half a decade. So, we can either continue to support all of those modes, or we can drop the "old cruft" and maybe the people who aren't so cheap as to be unwilling to spend $20 on a video card can have something that looks a bit nicer.

Re:...And? (1)

MacTO (1161105) | about 3 years ago | (#37228238)

I know that this case is special because it is a FLOSS project and very few of the users directly support it, but:

The developer needs to fulfil the requirements of the client. It is not the developer's place to dictate the requirements to the client.

Now I currently run modern hardware, but I've been stuck in that legacy hardware ghetto before. And it ain't pretty.

Re:...And? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37228390)

> The developer needs to fulfil the requirements of the client. It is not the developer's place to dictate the requirements to the client.

Here's your refund.

Re:...And? (3, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | about 3 years ago | (#37228292)

Say we want to further add some animation support to the video renderer for use on the OSD, that code needs to be written for each of Xshm, Xv, OpenGL, VDPAU, VAAPI, XvMC, and PVR-350 framebuffer output. In addition, that's primarily the work of one single guy.

And people wonder why some F/OSS projects have a slow rate of development.

Re:...And? (1)

cynyr (703126) | about 3 years ago | (#37228042)

really how well does your "old hardware" like 480P h264 level 4.1 high profile video? I'm not really sure how you make use of a voodoo3 in a mythTV setup.

famous last words of a programmer (4, Funny)

decora (1710862) | about 3 years ago | (#37228070)

"Seems like it should require almost no effort."

Re:...And? (2)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37228074)

It seems that way, but that is an excellent way of killing off a product. There may be a few dozen folks still using those old cards, but you can get a much newer card with a bunch off new features that will be supported for years to come for less than $10, probably including shipping.

Supporting a bunch of products which were obsolete years ago without adequate user base to ensure that the developers can properly support it can damage projects a lot more quickly than dropping support for long obsolete hardware. More than that, it's that much more code that has to be maintained and it's that much harder to implement fixes or add new features and ultimately it distracts from the hardware that people are still using.

Re:...And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37227970)

I find it interesting, because developers had to create tools to make things this simple, years and years ago maintaining 100k lines worth of code would have been a real pain. Open-source FTW!

Re:...And? (2)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37228022)

Well, to be fair, how often does a project cut 100k Libraries of Congress out of their product.

Re:...And? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37228296)

This is news? Trimming out old cruft from a source code tree isn't a big deal.

Things have really gone downhill since CmrdTaco left.

Nooo! (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 3 years ago | (#37227754)

Matrox!?!

I still use this card for dual- head support on my P100.

Maybe the resources freed by the team can be used in providing support for Elite/Impact framebuffers on classic SGI Indigo?

I will consider that an exchange worth making.

Re:Nooo! (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37227966)

its only for 3d support, and I know damn well your p100 with a matrox card and linux is really going to miss out on all that hawt 1997 gaming action TB

Re:Nooo! (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 3 years ago | (#37228122)

Doesn't Matrox provide their own proprietary drivers for Parhelia cards?

Re:Nooo! (2)

Svenne (117693) | about 3 years ago | (#37228160)

Mesa never provided support for Matrox' P-series cards anyway, so nothing will change in your case.

Re:Nooo! (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 3 years ago | (#37228376)

Pentium 100MHz...

Re:Nooo! (2)

RyanFenton (230700) | about 3 years ago | (#37228422)

Mesa never provided support for Matrox' P-series cards anyway, so nothing will change in your case.

Wait... are you trying to imitate Jar-Jar Binks?

Only 3D (5, Informative)

Randle_Revar (229304) | about 3 years ago | (#37227782)

Xorg support for these cards isn't going away anytime soon though.

Fades (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37227792)

When I read the headline, my first thought was Linux now supports fades on these old graphic cards :-)

Oh, OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37227810)

I can understand people tinkering old machines to install home servers or whatever, as I used to do, but expecting 3D on these sounds somewhat pointless. Thanks for the info.

Ending support for BeOS? What about Haiku? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37227816)

Ending support for BeOS? What about Haiku, which is alive and thriving ( http://haiku-os.org )?

Re:Ending support for BeOS? What about Haiku? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37228094)

your lucky to even find drivers for Haiku, and how many 3D applications that you NEED to have running on a AGP1-2x or PCI card (which for the most part is what we are talking about here)

seriously?

Interesting (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 3 years ago | (#37227828)

Mesa developers also decided it's time to end support for the BeOS operating system.

One of Adam Jackson's fixes to X was "glx: unifdef BEOS_THREADS"

Doesn't affect me (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | about 3 years ago | (#37227844)

Nope, not using any machine with such graphics cards anymore.

I'm replaying some games from that era though. With wine and my modern NVidia card. These games work better in wine than Win7 can run them, if I have to believe the info about these games online.

Older machines? (1, Interesting)

DogDude (805747) | about 3 years ago | (#37227856)

I thought that one of Linux's claims to fame was that you could run it on ancient hardware? These cards aren't anywhere close to ancient, and are actively in use in who knows how many machines.

Re:Older machines? (1)

kyrsjo (2420192) | about 3 years ago | (#37227876)

The cards would probably still work fine in text- and VESA-mode - but 3D graphics etc. won't.

Re:Older machines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37227956)

OP's posting is misleading, it's not 'video' support that's being phased out but '3D'. I guess to some no 3D graphics does mean video is broken but there are still numerous things as far as computer functionality that don't require 3D at all.

Re:Older machines? (1)

Tsuroerusu (775881) | about 3 years ago | (#37227962)

Which doesn't make much difference anyway, because the state of some of those drivers were absolutely terrible in some cases. For example, I have an old ThinkPad T23 laptop sitting around, it has a S3 Savage integrated graphics adapter. However, for several years now, X.Org has not been able to use the maximum resolution on the monitor with ANY driver AT ALL, and using the savage driver causes X to crash every 5 minutes or so. I once tried running CentOS 5 and Debian Lenny on it, both worked fine as far as I remember (Using one of those is not an option for me, as I have some USB peripherals that needs newer driver support), but anything newer takes a big dump. So I'm running with the VESA driver on this old fellow, which works fine for what I need (X.Org, Xfce, Firefox and some terminals) it to do.

Re:Older machines? (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 3 years ago | (#37228008)

Yup, maintaining model-specific driver support for the mountain of old graphics cards out there seems to be a job nobody is up to. I just had to retire a T60 thinkpad, which is a pretty good computer, because the manufacturer orphaned the graphics card so I can't get DVI output from the docking station any more. And open source 3d drivers, frankly, I have never found worth using on any card. 3d cards have been around for quite a while now, it's a shame they still require model-specific drivers.

Re:Older machines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37227892)

To do 3D stuff? Really? As mentioned in another message, 2D support is not going away. The article was (once again slashdot) misleading.

Re:Older machines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37227916)

You can still run X on these cards, but not accelerated 3D. 3D will be emulated on the CPU, I think.

Re:Older machines? (1)

diegocg (1680514) | about 3 years ago | (#37227944)

Graphic cards have been through a big revolution. These cards may not be that old, but technologically they are ancient.

Re:Older machines? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37227974)

it still runs fine

heck even IF no one even heard of those companies before it would still work fine with generic drivers, this just cuts out 3d support, which as we all know is a major part of the linux desktop life, especially for pci machines

Re:Older machines? (1)

Plombo (1914028) | about 3 years ago | (#37228426)

The idea is that if you have ancient hardware, you check out a Mesa version from git that works with your hardware. You can run old versions of Mesa just fine on newer X servers and kernels.

OpenCL? (2)

JAlexoi (1085785) | about 3 years ago | (#37227864)

OpenCL in Linux

I do believe that support for OpenCL in Linux is in the best interest of the GPGPU manufacturers(AMD, nVidia). Because Linux based HPC systems dominate the market and Windows ain't going to unseat Linux anytime soon. Thus you might not have all the features of the 3D stack, however OpenCL is definitely something fully implemented by AMD and nVidia.

Re:OpenCL? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37228250)

Actually not, OpenCL is in the best interest of the opensource community, the developers, and AMD, but not nVidia. Why? TL:DR Karma got it on ATI.

The setting:
GPGPU is the big boom of scientific computing. Numerical methods like Discontinuous Galerkin are not only very good for compressible/incompressible flow problems, electromagnetics, and things like MHD, but they are really easy to implement on GPGPUs and take a huge performance boost (50x).

The timing:
nVidia realeased their first GPGPUs cards at the same time DG was becoming "mainstream". Although they were advertised for things like CTs (where DG is also popular), DG people got huge speed boost from CUDA (parallelizing the codes for 16.000 processors wasn't enough :D).

Investment/reward:
So you have all this people hearing about this boom on their Linux machines and Linux or Linux-like HPCs, while they use parallel visualization tools on their servers to process tons of data while visualizing them on their terminals with.... nVidia GPUs. Why? Cause ATI gives problems. But they have fixed their Linux drivers already... well noone cares anymore. Word has spread, ATI gives problems, and the $/h of a postdoc is worth more than whatever price difference it might be, if any, between an ATI and a nVidia GPU.

The Point: nVidia was there already, nVidia came with GPGPU first, and so CUDA was the obvious choice when they started playing with these things (OpenCL wasn't even there yet).

The results:
Porting from CUDA to OpenCL is not difficult, OpenCL is more powerfull, and if you ask one of the people doing these things, they will tell you that if you were to start a new project, better use OpenCL, because one day you might be on a GPU from another vendor. Ok, but when? CUDA is EASIER, FASTER on nVidia hardware, nVidia is 10 years ahead of ATI in Linux Drivers, and the HPCs with Tesla are being built now. If they upgrade in the future, are they going to go for an hybrid ATI/nVidia architecture? I dont think so. If they were to build new HPCs in the future, and if there is a significant amount of CUDA code, are they going to use ATI? Im still dealing with F77 on a day to day basis so dont think so either.

The Karma:
So you have two standards, CUDA and OpenCL, one works on nVidia cards, faster and easier than the other, but the other works on all cards. The only point people is missing is that there are no other cards. If you want to do GPGPU, you can either go with nVidia or go with nVidia. ATI won't come into the game anytime soon, at least not on linux and HPCs, and there is where everything is happening.

So nVidia invested on linux, nVidia came up with GPGPU first (at least commercially), and ATI wont come into the game in the near future... if ever. It would be good to go with OpenCL, but it is not in nVidia's best interest, because ATI gave them a monopoly for free. On the other hand, if we were to port our code, at least for the next 5 to 10 years, we would still be exclusively working with nVidia's GPGPU so why bother?

doesn't anyone pay for electricity? (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 years ago | (#37227898)

it's cheaper to just buy a new machine to use for a home server than pay for the electricity hogged up by old hardware

Re:doesn't anyone pay for electricity? (2)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 3 years ago | (#37227926)

Why would you need 3D graphics support for a home server?

Then again, why would you use an OS that required X at all for a home server? Just avoid the 'Windows Tailpipe Fume Chasing' options that insist that configuration has to be done using X11. NetBSD is a good option, for instance.

Re:doesn't anyone pay for electricity? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37228024)

yes a 300 watt PC sitting idol most of its time uses more power than a 220 watt PC sitting idol most of its time

why run a PC for a home server? you can get a single chip arm system for half the cost of a cheap PC and its going to take care of your strenuous home needs no problem while drawing what 4 watts

Re:doesn't anyone pay for electricity? (0)

VVelox (819695) | about 3 years ago | (#37228118)

Actually you are better off with a Intel Atom or another similar processor.

Arm machines as of currently are a major PITA to run as you are limited by the software available for it and if you don't wish to be limited by that you have to muck around a nice bit with cross compiling etc. Way more hassle etc than it is worth.

Re:doesn't anyone pay for electricity? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37228168)

but OMG that might be a 30 watt system, think of the electricity!

I run a 60 watt P3 pizza box compaq with a big ass drive, it plugs into the light socket in my closet hehe, so I have not had the privilege of sitting down and really messing with some of the bigger ARM chips. Most people make it out to be not that horrid, then again those same people might recompile their kernel just for fun so who knows

Re:doesn't anyone pay for electricity? (3, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 3 years ago | (#37228072)

My home server, built in 1999, runs at a maximum of 80W. That means it takes 2 kW (about $0.20) per day, at most. For about $500 I could build a machine [kampmeier.com] that draws 20W, for a monetary savings of about $0.15 per day. In about 10 years, I could break even on what I spent on the new server, but by then, the hardware would be 10 years old again. What I have serves my purposes.

true cost of coal fired power (0)

decora (1710862) | about 3 years ago | (#37228114)

is not included in the cost that the power plant charges you, since power plants dont currently have to pay anything related to global warming, or ocean acidification.

Re:doesn't anyone pay for electricity? (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 3 years ago | (#37228146)

And 10 years from now, you'll have a machine 10 yrs old instead of 20 years old for the same price. I don't know why you think keeping that old hardware (10 yrs less reliable and less in performance for future upscaling of your needs) makes sense.

Re:doesn't anyone pay for electricity? (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 3 years ago | (#37228314)

My needs (mostly just SSH and a web server) haven't upscaled in 5 years. I doubt they will in another 5, and if I want to get something bigger then, I can. Until then, my $500 is sitting in a bank account earning interest that nearly offsets the cost of electricity itself. As for reliability, every moving part in the case (except the hard drive) is original, and in near-perfect condition. Non-moving parts don't really wear out. I don't know why you think replacing something just because it's old makes sense.

Re:doesn't anyone pay for electricity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37228298)

My home server, built in 1999, runs at a maximum of 80W. That means it takes 2 kW (about $0.20) per day, at most.

Add in another $0.35 for every day you are running the AC.

Re:doesn't anyone pay for electricity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37228084)

Because that old Rage3D card consumes "so much more" power than my "new" ATI card with 512M of RAM on it and a *fan* to cool the damn thing, and needs a separate power line from a drive connector to help power it because it draws too much from the bus/card slot? ... yeah, I'm sure that old ATI Rage is hogging up my power 8-)

I have a box with some old PCI Rage cards in it, they work great to replace dead on-board video in a server (that you probably aren't running fancy 3D graphics on anyways... in fact, you might not normally have a monitor on it at all in the rack).

Re:doesn't anyone pay for electricity? (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 3 years ago | (#37228174)

An old card running at 50 or 80% capacity to do the same task as a new card running at 5 or 10% capacity for the same task likely would draw a lot more power.

Re:doesn't anyone pay for electricity? (1)

metamatic (202216) | about 3 years ago | (#37228126)

Except they're dropping support for VIA Unichrome, such as the low power VIA EPIA series. My M10000 only uses 10W of power.

Re:doesn't anyone pay for electricity? (1)

cpghost (719344) | about 3 years ago | (#37228396)

it's cheaper to just buy a new machine to use for a home server than pay for the electricity hogged up by old hardware

Tell that people who run non-x86 architectures (like, say, SPARC, PowerPC, etc...) for all kinds of reasons. And before you ask why we don't just migrate to x86, remember that quality OSS software also depends on us testing it on non mainstream arches, uncovering a lot of obscure bugs that you x86-only guys won't trigger at all, but that are still there, lurking.

Mozilla syndrome? (1, Flamebait)

Compuser (14899) | about 3 years ago | (#37227910)

This does not seem like a healthy trend.

Re:Mozilla syndrome? (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 3 years ago | (#37228136)

Removing 3D support for cards last manufactured before Mozilla even existed is unhealthy?

Re:Mozilla syndrome? (1)

Compuser (14899) | about 3 years ago | (#37228172)

Removing unencumbered open code/GUI/interface etc. which is known to work for no good reason is unhealthy.

Re:Mozilla syndrome? (1)

Noitatsidem (1701520) | about 3 years ago | (#37228214)

No, not really. It's not like with every release the code just *disapears.* If you _really_ want 3d support on those cards or whatever else may have been removed, then how about you go compile it yourself. Or maybe you can just use a linux distribution that still supports it (hint, most of them do, and will for quite a while.)

Re:Mozilla syndrome? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37228318)

Good job, you managed to complain about Mozilla out of nowhere.
Give yourself a pat on the back.

100k L.O.C (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37228120)

100 thousand Libraries of Congress? That's quite a bit of data.

Already broken (3, Informative)

Plombo (1914028) | about 3 years ago | (#37228158)

Most or all of these drivers were already broken because no one cared enough to maintain them or even test them from time to time. Anyone who needs the old drivers can compile out an older version of Mesa from git and run that. Which they already had to do.

It was also said that if someone comes along who is actually interested in maintaining one of the removed drivers, that the driver would be restored to the source tree.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Beos... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37228186)

No, Beos ... nooooooooooooooo (do it yourself [nooooooooooooooo.com] )

Linux Unmaintainable? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37228202)

Why make Linux worse by removing support? Are their developers really not capable? Is this just more reason to use the more dependable BSD alternatives (OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, etc.)? It could be that now Linux is trying to be a commercial driver for newer graphics cards, with support from the graphics card manufactures. That would be logical motivation for decreasing the quality of Linux. Also, it is common in commercial operating systems to help drive support for newer hardware.

Awe... memories (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | about 3 years ago | (#37228234)

I remember buying my first "real" 3d card. It was an ATI Rage Fury 128. It had a whopping 32 megs of memory. And shitty ass drivers. Good times, good times...

Re:Awe... memories (1)

djlemma (1053860) | about 3 years ago | (#37228336)

I got you beat. I bought a Diamond Edge 3D card for the first computer I ever assembled. It turned out to be a colossally bad idea, never realized how bad lack of drivers could be.

I don't even know how much memory the thing had, I think maybe 2MB, which was a lot at the time. And now, I feel old.

Re:Awe... memories (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37228388)

Too bad you can't run a real OS instead. Linux is for dick sucking faggots. The kind of faggots who eat the shit out of other men's asses. Dirty faggots. That's what a Linux user is; a dirty cock smoking faggot.

Works as well as it did 10 years ago (1)

fa2k (881632) | about 3 years ago | (#37228290)

I'm typing this on a FreeBSD machine with an R128 graphics card and 128 MB of system RAM (waiting for my laptop to come back from repairs). It can run firefox locally, but I'm using it over networked X11 because it's a bit faster (it's running on my gateway/server machine). It is my main machine at the moment, and it's working very well. Things like xterm, gvim and irssi and ssh are perfectly fine!

Many people have the idea that computers get slower just by being old, but I think /. readers are aware that it's just the software that gets more complex. I understand that MESA would make this decision, and I hope that it was motivated by some worthwhile changes in the APIs, maybe linked with supporting new and exciting devices.

The problem with dropping support is that many organisation take away the old versions from their web or ftp sites. I experienced this recently, trying to get Python 2.6 for windows, because some software depended on it. I would have to build Python myself, but found somewhere to copy it from . If these people don't make the old version available, then years of coding effort will be lost, code which could still have benefited many people.

Re:Works as well as it did 10 years ago (1)

cpghost (719344) | about 3 years ago | (#37228320)

I'm typing this on a FreeBSD machine with an R128 graphics card and 128 MB of system RAM

Same here, but on UltraSPARC IIIi based SunBlade workstations running X on a R128 under Solaris 10, Debian Linux/SPARC 6.0.1a, FreeBSD 8.2-STABLE, and OpenBSD 4.9. It's the only card I was able to find with embedded FCode (needed by the SUN firmware) that runs perfectly on this architecture. It's a shame to see MESA guys so trigger happy dropping support for chips that are still running perfectly, albeit somewhat slowly.

And there goes half my stockpile. (1)

PowerCyclist (2058868) | about 3 years ago | (#37228434)

Seriously, I still have 10+ card that fall in this group. Guess I really should give them up to be recycled seeing as how they don't support wide screen and I'd be hard pressed to find enough MoBos for them to use that DON'T have better integrated GPUs.
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