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Re: [Xen-users] VT hardware and gaming / 3d Accelerated graphics

To: kmacy@xxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [Xen-users] VT hardware and gaming / 3d Accelerated graphics
From: Mogens Valentin <mogensv@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2005 12:53:18 +0100
Cc: Art@xxxxxxxxxxx, xen-users@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Daniel Goertzen <daniel.goertzen@xxxxxxxxxxx>
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Kip Macy wrote:
That is not far-fetched. However, driver-domains are not supported in 3.0 and I don't believe that they are considered a priority. In addition, no one is currently working on para-virtualized graphics.

AFAICT, this won't really be feasible until quite a lot more of the whole HW platform gets virtualized (which is being talked upon).

This topic has been touched before, and while the development effords are wisely geared towards Xen as a server thingy, I feel full graphics capabilities would be a must-have for serious workstation uses. There's a difference between being able to do 3D video for WS use, and being able to play games.

This will likely be possible at some point, but you'll have to wait a while.

Possibly a -good- while. Nvidia is somewhat interested, at least I managed to get them to open an RFE for Xen-aware drivers, but it's scheduled as a workunit to be acted upon when deemed relevant. IOW, they won't do anything until they see a market and/or are being pressurized to do something about it, meaning 'someone', i.e. the lot of us here, should join nvnews.net and start talking to Nvidia about this, send Nvidia videodriver debugs to the forum, etc.

I guess a severe obstackle will be that Nvidia is a closed-source bizz, while Xen is OSS, so how to get the two parts working together? Well.. OSS people are usually very reluctant to accept non-OSS code, while video manufacturers is 99.7% unlikely to open their code.

The other day I was thinking along those lines:
The Nvidia driver consists of two parts, a binary module interfacing to the video HW and X, and a more-or-less OSS kernel module. If Nvidia could be persuaded to place as much functionality as possible (while adhering to their NDA's) in a fully OSS kernelmodule, Xen developers might have a chance working on getting it integrated, while at the same time being able to help Nvidia get the closed HW/X module to work. I advised Nvidia join Xen-devel; haven't seen them there as yet..

On 12/26/05, Art Arica3D <nikicart@xxxxxxxxx <mailto:nikicart@xxxxxxxxx>> wrote:

    Let's assume that you really wanted to run Xen but still allow "one
    primary desktop OS" to run games.

    How close is Xen to supporting something where you have:
      1.  A simple PCI VGA video card installed as a "console card" that
    the sytem uses and virtualizes.  (On system sytsems like Intel 815
    chipset motherboard, the onboard would be the VGA).
      2.  A PCI Express / AGP video card with full 3D capabiity that you
    could allow to appear only to the one domU.  You would install native
    OS drivers for this card...

    In other words... could Xen work off a second video card and provide
    direct hardware access to the 3D card s that you used standard
    drivers, etc.

    Is this far fetched + very complicated?

      Stephen Gutknecht

    reply to:
    Date: Mon, 26 Dec 2005 11:34:48 -0600
    From: Anthony Liguori <aliguori@xxxxxxxxxx <mailto:aliguori@xxxxxxxxxx>>
Subject: Re: [Xen-users] Intel shipping hardware VM CPU's already...
           morecomingDecember 27 2005 65nm
    To: Daniel Goertzen <daniel.goertzen@xxxxxxxxxxx
    Cc: xen-users@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:xen-users@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
    Message-ID: <43B029B8.8010708@xxxxxxxxxx
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

    Daniel Goertzen wrote:

     >Yes, servers are the primary focus for xen, but it is very
    interesting for
     >the home enthusiast too.  For example, you could build an ultra quiet
     >diskless Windows system using a linux dom0 that provides a network
     >device to a Windows domU.  BTW, I don't see anything extra that a
     >desktop/gaming machine would need out of xen that isn't needed for
     >use.  All the things I listed were already in roadmaps and xen
    3d acceleration virtualization.

    The emulated VGA device provides no acceleration virtualization at all
    so games are going to run terribly slowly.  Jacob Hansen has been doing
    some cool gl 3d paravirtualization but that wouldn't help for running
    games in Windows.

    FWIW, the latest versions of VMware provide 3d acceleration
    virtualization for Windows guests (even under a Linux host).


    Anthony Liguori


Kind regards,
Mogens Valentin

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