Linux Graphics Survey: NVIDIA Leads, Intel Catching Up

Dec 29, 2008

More than 14,000 users participated in this year's Linux graphics survey from Phoronix. The results of the study are now out.

The Phoronix study shows that NVIDIA still holds the lead in video adapters in use at 41%, in front of ATI/AMD at 32% and Intel at almost 22%. Nevertheless, NVIDIA's lead is down six percentage points from last year's survey, essentially giving these point to Intel, because ATI/AMD's share basically stayed the same. Most NVIDIA users rely on its proprietary driver for lack of a free alternative. Only about one in 10 users are satisfied with the free NV driver without 3D acceleration. ATI's share splits into three drivers, fglrx (proprietary), radeonhd (new and free) and ati/radeon (old and free), with about half the users going with the proprietary solution.

Phoronix was interested not only in the statistics for graphics hardware and drivers, but also wanted to know what interested users the most. At almost 28%, kernel mode setting was by far the most desirable, followed by video improvements (21%) and DRI2 (20%) at second and third places. The kernel-integrated mode setting should provide significant acceleration improvements for Linux video support. Intel has already built its first code segments into Kernel 2.6.28, with the complete framework to appear in Kernel 2.6.29. Even ATI/AMD wants to integrate better video support in the kernel over the next months, although NVIDIA's support may suffer because of recent problems with the Nouveau project.

Even though 14,000 users participated in the study and 56% considered themselves mainstream users, the Phoronix Graphics Survey is far from representative of all Linux users. Around 40% of the respondents admitted having setups with two or more monitors and the same percentage configured the X Server with the usual manual changes to xorg.conf. The complete study is available as HTML on the Phoronix homepage.

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