3D acceleration support for Intel HD?
Does anyone know if such a CPU/GPU provides 3D acceleration for Trisquel:
Intel HD in general?
I couldn't find the answer on h-node.
I am pretty sure it will perfectly work with Linux-libre (including 3D acceleration), hence with any 100% free GNU/Linux system such as Trisquel.
Thanks! As I have a few spare parts lying around, I am thinking of building a fully-free desktop, but I want to make sure that the components I pick will be fully compatible with linux-libre. My understanding of the current situation is that careful thought must be applied to the choice of GPU and wifi, all other components will work straight out-of-the-box. Wifi is not an issue for the box I envision, but I want to make sure that this box will have 3D acceleration when using Trisquel.
My current PC has an ATI Radeon graphics card, hence no 3D acceleration, and I understand that all ATI cards require non-free firmware. So ATI is a definite no-go.
I am not familiar with NVIDIA, but my understanding is that some (but not all) NVIDIA cards are fully supported by the nouveau driver, including 3D acceleration with no non-free firmware. Is that correct?
Finally, it looks like the best bet is Intel graphics cards. I thought that purchasing any Intel card would guarantee 3D acceleration with Trisquel, but then I stumbled upon a few pages mentioning that it didn't work for a few cards and then I started to have doubts, hence my original question in this thread! Now if you tell me that any Intel HD card is good, this is excellent news!
The GeForce 9500 from libre.thinkpenguin will work with 3D acceleration as well. If you will buy that, you will not be restricted to Intel CPUs. If you are not restricted to those, you can obviously take an AMD one, which will:
a) cost you a bit less for the same performance
b) allow you to choose a mainboard that is most compatible with coreboot.
Coreboot is basically a project to replace proprietary BIOS-code with free software. It will inlcude some extra work to install coreboot on a machine, but if you go through the extra work of searching for the right motherboard, compiling coreboot and following the how-to, you will have a system with zero bits of non-free code in all the parts which count. Coreboot is also known to speed up the boot time. BIOS is a dinosaur, it can only be ran when the CPU is in 16-bit mode and has other restrictions to it too.
Setting up a free desktop PC with an Intel card is surely easier and you will still get a _great_ experience out of it. If you use the GeForce from ThinkPenguin, you will have a (much) more performant card for gaming.
If you decide to go the AMD/NVidia/Coreboot route, make sure to check the compatibility lists of the Coreboot-project thoroughly. Motherboards that are listed as compatible may still have some minor problems, read the full descriptions.
Thanks for your feedback!
All the desktop mainboards I checked on the Supported Mainboards coreboot page seem quite old/discontinued. It seems to be quite a challenge to purchase a supported mainboard (by the way, anyone here running coreboot successfully on a desktop?), but it would surely be the way to go for us free-software supporters. Barring that, an Intel card seems to be the second-best solution.
Porting coreboot is a non-trivial task. It takes a long time and by the time a board gets support it is not readily available.
AMD has cooperated with the coreboot project so the boards with AMD technologies are better supported. The problem is AMD has not cooperated with the free software aspect though and so the 3d acceleration won't work.
Intel on the other hand has cooperated with the free software movement in releasing proper drivers/firmware for its graphics chipsets although not the coreboot project.
Unfortunately that leaves us in a hard position and anyone wanting a truly free system. We've decided not to ship a coreboot system for a few reasons. One being the costs, availability, and the lack of 3d acceleration.
Remember that coreboot doesn't free your system. It's just one more thing that can be freed. One of the things most people don't know is that there is other microcode that is an even bigger issue. Even with a free BIOS (and assuming you could get a combination of graphics that were free) you are still not running a 100% free system.
Based on what I've been told by people from the coreboot project (might have been the lead developer, although this was back in 2008/2009 maybe) the x86 platform isn't ever going to be 100% free. There may be a completely free solution in the future based on a non-x86 architecture.
There needs to be more people demanding freedom though. The more money that goes into projects like Trisquel and funds going toward purchasing freedom friendly hardware the better the chances this will be possible.
Unfortunately most projects which might be able to design and develop a free system today due to the demand don't care about freedom. They might be mostly based on free software although they are not taking freedom into consideration.
It's the one thing we are really pushing. We're moving things forward really really really slowly. Hopefully things will pick up in the near future. We are working with other projects that are likely to have more of an impact in terms of raising money for such projects. Our plan of action is to give back 10% to certain projects based on mostly free software and then another 10% to free software fund of some sort.
That's what is in the works. It'll probably be officially announced in a few weeks by a major distribution that I'm not going to name (for obvious reasons, it is inappropriate for this forum).
I believe the nVidia chipsets using the nouvau driver is for the most part free. Trisquel supports it. I've been told that this is not 100% free though and it relies on something that isn't free. I have not talked to Rubén about it although I assume he investigated it and has removed any such pieces. The old nVidia chipsets are the ones which are freedom friendly. It has limited support for most newer cards/chipsets. The 9500GT is the best one supported overall at the moment and it is quite old. 9800 and some others will work too for the most part. I'd stick with the Intel HD 2000/3000/4000. If you are upgrading the 9500GT is a good chipset to use. It's the one we have available. The newer Intel chipsets have been described in terms of performance as comparable to low end nVidia chipsets. The Intel chipsets also have support for certain things the nVidia chipsets don't (video acceleration).
The CPU you have selected has 3D acceleration. We are using it in the Penguin Wee. It will also decode 720p and works fine with 1080p HD video too.
The fake Intel chipsets that are produced by a third party and branded Intel are not free software compatible. Even the little support that exists is inadequate. This or a version of this chipset is used in many ARM devices (phones, tablets, etc). I believe a version of it is also used in some older systems.
http://libre.thinkpenguin.com/ and click shop and then click Accessories and Other Products for GNU/Linux and you will find a 9500GT card. There is a list of games that have been reported to work.
Are you certain the Intel 2000/3000 works with Trisquel? I've got two laptops with Intel HD 3000 and they can't decode 720p when I run Trisquel on them, at least not 'out of the box'. The newer of those two is a Dell 15R, which also has proprietary Intel WiFi, so overall its rendered useless on Trisquel anyway, unless you have a phone you can plug in, and run off its network.
To decode 720P via GPU using Intel graphics you need to use (for example) MPlayer with Video Acceleration API (VA-API) as the output driver. If the version of Mplayer shipped in Trisquel isn't compiled with VA-API support you will need to compile a version of MPlayer yourself (in Parabola the package is called mplayer-vaapi-libre). Ubuntu 12.04 contains the package gstreamer0.10-vaapi (which enables GStreamer to use VA-API), so the next version of Trisquel should include this package as well. Note that the GStreamer plugin is considered buggy: