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johnl87

OpenGL Writing an OpenGL driver

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In class we're writing an operating system (32 bit protected mode). I want to write a driver, but I don't want to use VESA. Is there anyway to get a spec sheet on a graphics card such as the registers and initialization procedure for a card (in this case an nVidia Geforce 440 MX) or is there a standard to the way these things work? I want to write directly to the card. The ideal would be to gain access to the embedded OpenGL routines on the card and use those to create a flashy GUI for the OS. Is this even possible?

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Sure, it's possible, but also a ton of work. The nouveau driver people have a set of Nvidia hardware documents available that you can sift through. You can find the (undocumented) register specs there. Moreover, the nouveau drivers themselves will be highly illustrative. You'll very quickly discover, though, that getting anything done is never as simple as setting a few registers; there's no direct mapping from high-level graphics APIs to hardware commands. (I remember when I worked for ATI (...back when it was ATI) the initialization code for even the lightweight mobile-device chips was thousands of lines.) You're also fighting against a severe lack of documentation and knowledge. (Then again, at ATI our register specs were dubiously documented so I guess that's about on par, heh.)

That said, if you decided to potentially tackle the task, good luck. Writing drivers was, for me, always a ton of fun.

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Quote:
Original post by errcw
(Then again, at ATI our register specs were dubiously documented so I guess that's about on par, heh.)
Yikes!
I understand a few things. ^_^

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