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Re: [Xen-users] Nvidia drivers in Dom0 results in blank screen

To: Michael D Labriola <mlabriol@xxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [Xen-users] Nvidia drivers in Dom0 results in blank screen
From: Andrew Lyon <andrew.lyon@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 2009 12:36:25 +0000
Cc: Brandon Turner <bturner@xxxxxxxxxx>, xen-users@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, xen-users-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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2009/12/17 Michael D Labriola <mlabriol@xxxxxxxx>:
> xen-users-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote on 12/16/2009 02:16:27 AM:
>> On Tue, Dec 15, 2009 at 03:24:30PM -0600, Brandon Turner wrote:
>> >
>> > On 12/15/2009 12:58 PM, Andrew Lyon wrote:
>> > > On Tue, Dec 15, 2009 at 4:40 PM, Brandon Turner <bturner@bltweb.
>> net> wrote:
>> > >
>> > >> I am trying
>> > >> to get the Nvidia binary drivers working on my Ubuntu Dom0.
>> > >>
>> > >> I used the kernel sources at
>> > >> git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/jeremy/xen.git to
> build my
>> > >> kernel
>> > > Nvidia binary drivers do not work with pv_ops dom0 kernel, it is
>> > > possible to get them working with a "classic" dom0 kernel (i.e
> forward
>> > > ported 2.6.18 patches) but it requires some kludges and only works
> on
>> > > certain kernel versions.
>> > >
> Oh, bugger.  I hadn't gotten to testing this yet...  :-(
>> > > Andy
>> > >
>> >
>> > Thank you.  I'm not sure how I missed this.  It was even discussed on
>> > this list back in July:
>> >
> http://lists.xensource.com/archives/html/xen-users/2009-07/msg00333.html
>> >
>> > I read on the Xen Wiki
>> > (http://wiki.xensource.com/xenwiki/XenDom0Kernels) that future Xen
>> > versions (3.5/4.0) will default to the pv_ops dom0 kernel.  As most of
>> > the Nvidia drivers are distributed in binary format, does this mean
> that
>> > Nvidia would have to modify their driver code (aka specifically
> support
>> > Xen pv_ops dom0) for this to work with future Xen versions?  In this
>> > case it probably wouldn't be wise for me to go down the binary drivers
>> > path and should either try something else or settle on nv.
>> >
>> > Does anyone know how long the "old-style" dom0 kernel will be
>> > supported?  Will Xen 3.5/4.0 support both, with pv-ops as the default,
>> > or is the idea to eventually drop the old-style kernel.  As a noob to
>> > Xen, what is the significance of kernel version 2.6.18?  Did something
>> > in the kernel change that doesn't allow for an older style dom0
> kernels,
>> > or is it just more effort then its worth to branch the newer releases
>> > (especially with all the pv_ops success).
>> >
>> Xen 4.0 will have the pv_ops dom0 as the default kernel, but 2.6.18-xen
>> will be supported aswell, afaik.
>> 2.6.18-xen has been the default for so long because that's what Citrix
>> uses in their commercial Citrix XenServer products.
>> Another reason is the fact that the 2.6.18-xen patches had to be
>> rewritten to be acceptable into upstream Linux.. and that has taken
>> long, first the general pv_ops framework had to be written, then the
>> domU support for pv_ops, and now finally dom0 support.
> Anyone have any idea when/if the NVIDIA drivers will work with a pv_ops
> dom0?

The code to make the nvidia binary drivers work with classic xen
patched kernels was contributed as a patch by somebody outside of
nvidia, they merged the code but I don't think they actively support
it, so it is unlikely that they will support pv_ops when running on

> What if I manage to get VGA passthrough to a domU?  Will the NVIDIA
> drivers work there?

They should work.

> How about alternatives video cards...  The only feature of the NVIDIA
> driver that we really required was enabling a second monitor, which didn't
> work with the opensource 'nv' driver.  Would an ATI card fare better here?

I've recently stopped using nvidia cards on my xen systems because I
needed to be able to debug problems without having a tainted kernel, I
am now using radeon hd2400 and x1950 cards, the x1950's have excellent
3d/2d support in the open source driver and can be found on ebay very

> -Mike
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