Just before christmas I decided I will spend the “immense” amount of 40 EUR for a graphic card for a system which was without one. The system is supposed to replace my dying home-server. I already moved everything, except my Desktop-in-a-Jail (actually it is my home-cinema-jail).
The old system had a Radeon 9200SE, and it was enough for what I used it for. Now… for a few bucks you can get a lot more horsepower today. After looking around a little bit I decided to buy a NVidia card. I made this decision because it looks like I can get better driver support for it. So I got a GeForce GT 520 with 1 GB of RAM (I doubt I will be able to use that much RAM) and without a fan.
With the Radeon 9200SE I was not able to get the 3D stuff activated (at least in the jail, I did not try without), Xorg complains about a missing agpgart module but I have AGP in the kernel (no /dev/agpgart outside the jail). I did not spend time to investigate this, as the main purpose – playing movies – worked. Now with the NVidia card I decided to give the 3D part a try again.
After adding the NVidia device entries to the jail, and a little bit of fighting with the Xorg-HAL interaction, I got a working desktop. The biggest problem to verify that 3D is working was, that I did not had xdriinfo installed. After installing it, I noticed that it does not work with the NVidia driver. Next stop nvidia-settings: runs great, displays a nice FreeBSD+NVidia logo, and … tells me that OpenGL is configured. Hmmm… OK, but I want to see it!
As I decided to switch from Gnome to KDE 4 at the same time (I was using KDE when it was at V 0.x, switched to Gnome as it looked nicer to me, and now I switch back after reading all the stuff in the net that KDE 4 is “better” than Gnome 3), I was a little bit out of knowledge how to see the 3D stuff in action. So I quickly went to the settings and searched for something which looks like it may use 3D. To my surprise, it was already using 3D stuff. Nice. I fully realized how nice, when playing a video and using Alt-Tab to switch windows: the video was playing full speed scaled down in the window-switcher-thumbnail-view.
That was too easy. I am happy about it.
Now that I have a working setup of X11-in-a-jail for Radeon and GeForce cards, I want to cleanup my changes to the kernel and the config files (devfs.rules) and have a look to get this committed. A big part of this work is probably writing documentation (most probably in the wiki).
I still want to see some fancy 3D stuff now. I tried to install x11-clocks/glclock, but the build fails with an undefined reference to „glPolygonOffsetEXT“. Any recommendation for a fancy 3D display? My priority is on “fancy/nice” with as less violence as possible. Most probably I will look at it once and then deinstall it again, so it should be available in the Ports Collection (or included in KDE 4).