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Nvidia Removed Linux Driver Feature Due to Windows

Softpedia points to a Nvidia Developer Zone forum post revealing that the company has removed a specific Linux feature as of the v310 drivers due to the Windows platform. A BaseMosaic user on Ubuntu 12.04 noticed a change in the number of displays that can be used simultaneously after upgrading from the v295 drivers to v310.

According to the post, the Ubuntu user connected three displays using BaseMosaic, backed by Nvidia's v310 drivers and two GeForce GTX 560 Ti cards in SLI. But after configuring the xorg.conf file and adding the supposedly supported fourth display, only three monitors would light up.

"Then I tried installing the v325 drivers after uninstalling all the Ubuntu Nvidia packages," the post reads. "This only worked for 2 monitors, because I couldn't get BaseMosaic working anymore, even not from the Nvidia GUI after enabling advanced options. After a little bit of research I found that v310 only supports up to 3 monitors in BaseMosaic, the same is valid for v325."

Yet in v295, the Ubuntu user was able to get four monitors up and running. So why was BaseMosaic altered to support only three monitors instead? Nvidia explains. "For feature parity between Windows and Linux we set BaseMosaic to 3 screens," said "Sandpit" of Nvidia's Linux team.

What's interesting here is that Nvidia's proprietary Windows driver has features not found in the Linux drivers, but the company will remove specific Linux-only features for "parity." The comment indicates that the three-screen limit has nothing to do with a degradation of quality when using four screens, but a possible Microsoft request/demand.

Nvidia's driver documentation states that BaseMosaic can be used to extend a single X screen transparently across all of the available display outputs on each GPU.

"This is like SLI Mosaic mode except that it does not require a video bridge connected to the graphics cards," the notes read. "Due to this Base Mosaic does not guarantee there will be no tearing between the display boundaries. Base Mosaic is supported on all the configurations supported by SLI Mosaic Mode. It is also supported on Quadro FX 380, Quadro FX 580 and all G80 or higher non-mobile NVS cards."

It will be interesting to see if Nvidia returns four-monitor support back to its Linux drivers, given that the reason for removing the feature seems a little contradictory.

  • WithoutWeakness
    Odd that they would decrease the Linux screen limit rather than increase the Windows screen limit. If the GPU can easily push 4 screens I don't see why you shouldn't be able to use them all, especially if you could before. I wonder what other features have been cut or diminished to bring the Linux driver in line with the Windows driver or if AMD cards have OS feature discrepancies between drivers.
    Reply
  • fimbulvinter
    Nvidia's day isn't complete without shitting on Linux for no apparent reason.
    Reply
  • Spooderman
    Hey Toms...Chrome is constantly detecting malware on pages of your site. I'm sure there's nothing to worry about but I don't know why it started doing it.
    Reply
  • Akizu
    This seems like the dumbest thing ever... If it was possible to have 4 screens under linux then this must be a software limitation... I won't be surprised if someone will find a way to hack nvidia driver to support 4 screens for both windows and linux...
    Reply
  • JD88
    The big question here is why there would be a 3 screen limit in Windows to begin with. Is there some technical reason as to why 4 screens work under Linux but not Windows? If so, and Linux has an advantage, this sounds like someone at MS wasn't too happy about it and threw a fit which would not be out of character for the company.
    Reply
  • abimocorde
    Back to AMD...
    Reply
  • DRosencraft
    This really is baffling. My best guess for any possible excuse is that 3 monitors is more common than 4, and they didn't feel like doing whatever debugging or coding upkeep needed to make sure that 4 actually worked. They must have been hoping no one noticed, as I for one had no idea that card could push 4 displays in the first place.
    Reply
  • firefoxx04
    this is sad. ive always had good luck with nvidia under linux. my amd gpus always have driver issues under linux and never seem to work... i guess if only supporting 3 screens is nvidias biggest problem, there is not much to worry about.
    Reply
  • pyromanicadeluxe
    Microsoft requesting Nvidia nerf linux-only features? Do I sense fear in the once mighty beast?
    Reply
  • pyromanicadeluxe
    Microsoft requesting Nvidia nerf linux-only features? Do I sense fear in the once mighty beast?
    Reply