Port Linux GTX 1080 Driver to Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by aaronhead14, Dec 17, 2016.

  1. aaronhead14 macrumors 6502a

    aaronhead14

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    #1
    I noticed that NVIDIA has a Linux driver for the GTX 1080.... Now, I'm not a software guru or anything, so forgive me if I'm wrong here, but aren't Linux and UNIX fairly similar? Isn't there a way that some wizard programmer dude could potentially port the Linux driver to Mac?
    Just a thought...
    http://www.nvidia.com/download/driverResults.aspx/112992/en-us
     
  2. Ph.D., Dec 18, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016

    Ph.D. macrumors 6502

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    #2
    That won't happen, sorry. Nvidia's drivers are proprietary. The wizards are all going insane trying to get an open-source driver for these cards working on Linux without Nvidia's help.They have had more support from AMD, by the way, and I hear the 4XX series, open source, works decently well.

    Similarly, if Nvidia ever provides Mac drivers, it will be a gift out of the kindness of their hearts given the trouble they will have without Apple's help. Don't count on it.

    (I'm using Nvidia's proprietary driver with my 1070 on Linux. It works well.)
     
  3. orph macrumors 65816

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    Dec 12, 2005
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    UK
    #3
    ^^ if you want it learn to be a "wizard programmer dude" yourself, no one will do it for you ^^

    >.> if you want a 1080 use windows,
     
  4. Ph.D. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #4
    Or Linux, with the proprietary drivers. The quality and performance of 10XX cards on Linux is very good.

    As a little tip, probably Linux Mint Cinnamon is the distribution that is easiest to use and feels the most comfortable for those who have used windows (but, as a consequence, it looks just a little old-fashioned). I presently use Manjaro KDE Plasma, which has a more modern look and feel and is a "rolling release," meaning it's continuously updated with no reinstallations at major point revisions. It's even distributed and updated with the proprietary Nvidia drivers (on Mint, you have to install and update them separately, which is an annoying process). On the other hand, Manjaro is a user friendly installation of Arch - a bleeding edge distribution - and Plasma is also a work in progress, so users may experience some carried-over unevenness and transient bugs at times.
     
  5. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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    #5
    The Unix part of macOS has nothing to do with the graphics drivers. It's just an environment attached to the kernel.
     
  6. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #6
    Before you blanket recommend Manjaro you might want to add some links. Recommending a rolling release for the Linux inexperienced is bad enough and one the holds updates to include security fixes is even worse and combine it with the AUR you have a hot mess.
     
  7. Ph.D. macrumors 6502

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    Jul 8, 2014
    #7
    Have you used it? Yes, it's a hot mess compared to a mature version of Mac OS - but then almost anything is - and I've had my share of problems with it. I had problems with Mint too, including a bad meltdown after moving to version 18. It's no fun starting over, hence the attraction of a rolling release (which, of course, has its own problems).

    Linux in general is poor for a true beginner (opaque and difficult at times), fun for a hobbyist (endless tinkering opportunities), and excellent for a pro who knows what she's doing (good security and performance, etc.).

    Anyway, I explicitly recommended Mint for newbies, and included some appropriate cautions about Manjaro. I'm sorry if my enthusiasm was too much for you. I get tired of all the "I'm moving to Windows" posts, written as if that's the only alternative, and I would like to encourage people to try Linux.
     
  8. teagls macrumors regular

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    May 16, 2013
    #8
    The Nouveau open-source drivers on Linux already have basic pascal support. But, they still require signed firmware images from Nvidia to enable hardware acceleration. So if those are ever released it theoretically would be possible to port something over to mac.

    What interests me and I have absolutely zero research on this, but if I were to port the driver over would it be possible to add in Vulkan support.
     
  9. tuxon86 macrumors 65816

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    May 22, 2012
    #9
    I'm presently running Antergos (Arch with a nice user friendly installer) on one of my box at home and I'm loving it.
     
  10. Asgorath macrumors 65816

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    Mar 30, 2012
    #10
    While macOS is a UNIX operating system at its core, the driver interfaces are massively different and it'd be basically impossible to make a Linux driver from NVIDIA work on macOS. Graphics drivers are hugely complicated beasts.
     
  11. teagls macrumors regular

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    May 16, 2013
    #11
    Fortunately I have a PhD in computer science and I specialize in GPU computing. I have the skill to do it. But it probably doesn't warrant the time and effort involved. If and when Nvidia releases signed firmware images I might evaluate how badly I want to do it and if I have the time to dedicate towards it.
     
  12. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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    #12
    You'll first have to learn that there are no 'Unix drivers' because the system is 'a POSIX compliant operating system built on top of the XNUkernel, with standard Unix facilities available from the command line interface'

    You will then need to learn about Aqua and using Quartz to accelerate it via hooks into OpenGL and also Metal.

    Once you have that done you have to maintain the driver for every major release of macOS. You have to keep track of every device ID and vendor ID that comes out and enable them in the drivers.

    Then there is OpenCL support. Nvidia with all their money can't get this right and have had a lot of crashes and glitches. Run Luxmark and look at the results to see the errata on Nvidia cards.

    Then you have to get CUDA working. Possibly Nvidia's driver will work once you enable the card with the GPU driver.

    Once that is done you will have to employ about a dozen people for tech support because if you are going to encourage Mac users to install unofficially supported hardware, when things go wrong then you will have to respond to all the emails.

    In total there's about 5 APIs and a kernel to learn. Good luck.
     
  13. Fl0r!an macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    #13
    To summarize, a custom macOS graphics driver needs to deal with proprietary closed-source stuff on both ends, as Apple is certainly not gonna help anyone with a task like that, making it twice as complicated as a Linux driver.

    I did something like that on a much smaller scale some years ago, and supporting it through major OS releases was no fun at all.
    Additionally, there's no real market for unsigned low level software, as the average user isn't going to disable SIP.
     
  14. teagls macrumors regular

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    May 16, 2013
    #14
    I guess you have never done a PhD before. It is above and beyond what you mentioned haha. Learning new APIs and a kernel is trivial at this point in my career. But to your point. I am not looking to develop production software that I need to employ people to provide tech support. The hackintosh community doesn't have a toll free number you can call to get 24/7 tech support. It's done through open-source software and at your own risk.

    I would only implement what I need and open-source it. It's ludicrous to assume it would be production quality that supported every single use-case, API, device, etc. That obviously won't serve everyones needs and I am okay with that.
     
  15. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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    #15
    When people are giving you information you need it would help if you didn't respond like a 13 year old.

    You don't need a PhD for anyone of this btw. But you certainly need to know how an OS works before you create a thread about it.
     
  16. teagls macrumors regular

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    May 16, 2013
    #16
    Your post was condescending. I know full well what I am getting into and yes while a PhD is not necessary in order to write a graphics driver you need a lot of prerequisite knowledge in several disciplines and you need to be a very good programmer. That isn't easy to come by.

    The chances of anyone having those prerequisites and doing it for free is abysmal. I even stated from the get go I don't think it would be worth the effort. I am only interested in using CUDA on macOS because I like the platform. Thats literally the only motivation. Everything else is secondary to me. I think it's ******** just like everyone else that Pascal drivers haven't been developed/released because of the nonsense from Apple and Nvidia. So I can leave the platform, I can sit around till the end of time hoping for Pascal drivers or try and do something about it with the skills I have. If someone else benefits in the process great!
     
  17. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Location:
    Poland
    #17
    Go for it if you have the time to spend. But one thing: driver should be regularly maitained, especially bugfixes. Otherwise it will end like NVMe one – great idea, a lot of efforts and people's hope but developer seem to lost interest and stopped updating it and fixing bugs. It's half-useless now without this.
     
  18. orph macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #18
    well >> do it or dream about it but talking about it here wont help much as vary few ppl here can help.

    ^^ also not shore if nvidia will be mad :E

    use windows it's simpler, looks like some new ati cards in sight next year so by then the osx drivers for the RX cards may be working well :p then anther year or two till the new ati cards are supported.
     
  19. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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    Geneva
    #19
    Nothing condescending about what I gave you. If I wanted to screw around wih you I wouldn't have wasted time telling you anything at all. These days if you give someone information on any forum or public comment section they immediately feel their ego being bruised and need to big themselves up in response. It's a really destructive and sadly popular habit.
     

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