nvidia-drivers-295.17 solve black screen problem

Using nvidia linux drivers from version 270.X to 275.X with some graphics boards, in example the Quadro FX 350M which is built into the Dell Precision M65 notebook,  resulted in a black screen or window for OpenGL applications. Even glxgears did only output a black window. The problem has been discussed on forums.opensuse.org. A downgrade to a lower driver version, in example the version 260.X drivers is not applicable anymore, since these drivers do dot build against a recent linux-3 kernel. A upgrade to newer drivers also was not possible, since driver versions from 285.X to 295.10 did not work at all for this graphics board. Recently version 295.17 of nvidias beta driver has become available, which solves this issue. Download links are available on nvnews.net.

For gentoo users I have modified the nvidia-drivers  ebuild for the 295.17 driver. You can download my modified overlay, nvidia-drivers-295.17.tar.gz (960) and extract it in /usr/local/portage. Be sure to include the following line in your /etc/make.conf:

PORTDIR_OVERLAY=”/usr/local/portage”

Afterwards you may emerge nvdidia-drivers-295.17.

Jürgen

 

 

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VRTrack 1.0 – headtracking driver for the vr920 HMD

As I promised in New version of the vr920 headtracking driver coming soon here is the new version of my headtracking driver for the Vuzix VR920 iwear for Linux. It calculates yaw, pitch and roll from the accelerometer and magnetometer data (The device has got three of each). This makes a 3DOF tracking possible and allows you to look around in a 3D Scene.  In example you can use the driver with my stereoscopic image viewer SIV. The driver averages the sensor readings with an improved algorithm, which gives a far smoother experience than with the initial driver version. The driver package consists of a daemon which can be run in the background and for convenience a basic control application that enables one to easily tweak the various driver settings and to callibrate the device. For general Information on how to use the device with Linux see: Vuzix VR920 with Linux and active 3D stereo.

The driver provides the trackingdata in different formats to the application using it. It always writes the data to /dev/headtracking. A line read from /dev/vrtrack consists of six floats that correspond a sensor reading in this format:

yaw pitch roll x y z

Yaw, pitch and roll are angles from 0 to 360 degrees. X, y and z are always zero for the vr920, since it only supports three degrees of freedom. These values are reserved for future devices which may support six degrees of freedom, in the hope to propose a standard for tracking devices.

The driver can scale the readings and invert the axes independantly to get the needed value range for the used application and a pleasant experience.

For maximum compatibility with existing applications there are four other modes of operation available that can be enabled separately:

  • Joystick emulation
    The driver emulates a joystick device /dev/input/jsX. The readings for yaw, pitch and roll are the X,Y and Z axis of the emulated joystick. This may be used to enable basic headtracking support in games that do not natively support headtracking.
  • Mouse emulation
    The driver emulates a joystick device /dev/input/mouseX. The readings for yaw and pitch are being translated to X and Y of the mouse device, so when you look right the mouse pointer moves to the right and when you look up the pointer moves upwards and vice versa.  This may also be used to enable basic headtracking support in games that do not natively support headtracking. It can also be used to just control the mouse pointer of the window system. Controlling the viewport of the window system can also be a resonable purpose. With the new MPX extension in xorg this may be possible.
  • UDP – network
    In UDP mode the driver sends the tracking data via network as UDP unicast. The approach to send the data out via network makes the language used for writing the application independant from the language used for developing the driver. The packet sent to the clients contains the three angles, yaw, pitch and roll and x,y and z as 32 bit fixed point in Q16.16 format. This mode may i.e. used to control flightgear.
  • Multicast – network
    In multicast mode the driver sends the tracking data via network as UDP multicast, thus many clients may read the data, which makes parallelization more possible, i.e. one could use one machine for rendering and another machine for calculations. In addition to this, the approach to send the data out via network makes the language used for writing the application independant from the language used for developing the driver. The tracking data sent to the clients contains the three angles, yaw, pitch and roll and for easy usage a viewmatrix, one can directly use with scenegraph libraries. If you intend to develop an application using the headtracking of the VR920 see the file democlient.cpp included in the download for details on how to get the data into your application. This mode is used by the stereoscopic image viewer SIV.
Below is a screenshot of the control application during callibration of a vr920 device:
control_appvrtrack driver during calibration ( screenshot)

Important note: During calibration make sure that the display of the device is displaying something. Since the displays not only showing a blue screen influences the sensor data (at least with my device) you’ll end with wrong calibration else. You may use i.e. nvidia-settings to ensure this. For detailed usage instructions see the readme included in the download.

Download:

I decided to publish the driver under the creative common noncommercial license. You may download the full source from here: vrtrack-1.0.tar.gz (1368), an x86_64 binary from here: vrtrack-1.0-x86_64.tar.gz (1241) , or an i686 binary from here: vrtrack-1.0-x86.tar.gz (1226). An Archlinux PKGBUILD provided by Feilen is available here: aur.archlinux.org More binary/distribution specific formats may be available in the future. The x86_64 binary has been build on an up to date gentoo system, the i686 binary on ubuntu hardy. For the i686 binary you may install libconfig++ i.e. libconfig++8_1.3.2-2 from here: libconfig++ If none of the binaries works for you, you may have to build from source…

You need to have libusb, libconfig++, libfuse and libcurses installed on your system. For ubuntu users I included the small shell script ubuntu_install_deps.sh that installs the dependencies. Maybe it works also for for other Debian-based distributions. Gentoo users just have to make sure that  libusb, ncurses, fuse, and libconfig have been emerged. Your kernel version has to be at least 2.6.31 and you must have cuse enabled in your kernel.

Footnote:

If you like the driver, feel free to link to www.mygnu.de. If you developed an application using the tracking data provided by the driver please leave a comment, because then I can review the application and eventually write about it. To request commercial licenses contact us at info(at)mygnu.de. Well, if you just want to support our work on MyGNU.de use the donate button 😉

best regards

Jürgen

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New version of the vr920 headtracking driver coming soon

Last year I published the first version of my linux headtracking driver for the VR920 HMD here. Currently I am working on a new driver version which will have the following additional features:

  • Multiple Protocols:
    -UDP multicast (as before)
    -UDP unicast (for flightgear connection and perhaps more)
    -mouse emulation (via uinput)
    -joystick emulation (via uinput)
    -character device for direct angle readings (via cuse, will
    require a kernel >= 2.6.31)
  • Inverting of axes (to have moving the head up making the mouse pointer up or down, depending on needs)
  • Better filtering algorithm (more stable headtracking)
  • Scaling of data (i.e. to match screen size with mouse mode)
  • Customisable delay between sensor readings
  • User interface separated from the driver

With the upcoming MPX and the mouse emulation it should be possible to control the visible viewport by turning around the head. Controlling the view for games or other software that do not natively support headtracking should also be possible with the emulation.

In the current development stage most of the features are basically working so expect the new driver to be released soon.

Stay tuned for updates

Jürgen

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nvidia-drivers-180.60 is working !!!

After I have tested the nvidia-drivers-185.18.08 beta I searched the web for a new one and I found it yesterday on nvnews.net. This version seems to run well on my Dell M4300. For all using Gentoo I  made an ebuild:ebuild:nvidia-drivers (826)

# mkdir /usr/local/portage/
# cd /usr/local/portage/
# tar -xpvf nv-portage.tar

Be sure that PORTDIR_OVERLAY=”/usr/local/portage” is in your /etc/make.conf, then you can emerge it:
# ACCEPT_KEYWORDS=”~amd64″ emerge =nvidia-drivers-180.60 -1

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nvidia-drivers-185.18.08 beta is not working

Because of the problem with a good, fast and working nvidia driver, I’ve tested the actual beta driver from Nvidia. After installing it on my system (Dell M4300, with zen-sources 2.6.29-r3 running fine on it) everything seems to be fine. But there was the first fault. The character set in the Terminal swaps. The next serious error was restarting the X-Server or crashing the whole system while surfing with Epiphany. So I downgraded my system to nvidia-drivers-180.29 again as mentioned here. It seems Nvidia has to do some work on it, still we have another working release. Stay tuned, we will test it and tell you our experience with any new driver we found from Nvidia.

LG Thorsten

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Upgrade to nvidia-drivers-180.41

Today I upgraded my Gentoo systems to nvidia-drivers-180.41.  I had bad news to report the last two times I upgraded nvidia-drivers in nvidia-drivers-180.37 causing strange segfaults and CTRL-C and CTRL-Z not working after nvidia-driver upgrade and high CPU usage.

Well, since I had bad news before I also want to tell you about the good news. I did not experience any problems yet with nvidia-drivers-180.41. I run Gentoo with kernel 2.6.28-zen4 #1 SMP PREEMPT on x86_64 and tried with Quadro FX3400 and Quadro FX350M. Even tuxonice works on my  Dell Precision M65 with the driver. In the past I sometimes had problems with suspending and some nvidia-driver versions.

Well, not everyone is as lucky as I am. Some cards seem not to be recognized anymore by the driver. You can read about this problem on 180.41 — no more support for 6600?

I’m quite happy to have a new working driver after the last two upgrade attempts.

Edit: Sadly I was wrong in this post. nvidia-drivers-180.41 also causes segfaults as well as 180.44 does. These segfaults occur during heavy CPU/MEM usage. (In my case running 6 instances of mencoder simultaneously on 4 cores). After downgrading again to 180.29 everything returned to normality.

Jürgen

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VR920 headtracking driver for Linux

As I promised in VR920 Headtracking driver development here comes a usable version of my headtracking driver for the Vuzix VR920 iwear for Linux. Again I want to thank MalMal of Vuzix Forums, from whose code I was able to learn how to read the Sensor data out of the device via USB. For general Information on how to use the device with Linux see:  Vuzix VR920 with Linux and active 3D stereo.

I managed to calculate yaw, pitch and roll from the accelerometer and magnetometer data (The device has got three of each). This makes a 3DOF tracking possible and would allow you to look around in a 3D Scene.

The driver sends the tracking data via network as UDP multicast, thus many clients may read the data, which makes parallelization more possible, i.e. one could use one machine for rendering and another machine for calculations. In addition to this, the approach to send the data out via network makes the language used for writing the application independant from the language used for developing the driver.

The tracking data sent to the clients contains the three angles, yaw, pitch and roll and for easy usage a viewmatrix, one can directly use with scenegraph libraries. If you intend to develop an application using the headtracking of the VR920 see the file democlient.cpp included in the download for details on how to get the data into your application.
Below is a screenshot of the driver during calibration:
vr920 driver screenshot
vr920 driver during calibration ( screenshot)

Usage:

./vr920 -h vr920 [-h] [-?] [-m multicast ip] [-p multicast port] [-c calibrationfile]

On the commandline you may specify a multicast address and a port to send the data to. If you choose not to define these values the driver will send the tracking data to a sane default (224.0.0.42:4242). In any case, the client using the tracking data has to join the same address with the same port. You may decide not to use real network, if you only want to use the data on the same machine. In this case you may use loopback networking.

Add the route for the multicast address to the loopback interface:  route add -host 224.0.0.42 lo

Delete the route:  route del -host 224.0.0.42 lo

After executing the driver it instantly starts to send the trackingdata. Initially it starts in “silent” mode. You may activate/deactivate the monitor mode by pressing the M key. In monitor mode the driver displays the angles for yaw, pitch and roll. By pressing the C key you can activate/deactivate the calibration mode.

In calibration mode the driver displays  the most amount of information, the angles for yaw, pitch and roll above the normalized sensor data. Below the minima/maxima of the sensors are being displayed.The calibration works similar to the windows driver, one has to turn around the HMD (with the side-pieces open) until no minima/maxima changes anymore. Afterwards turn the device forward (the direction where you want to have the center of your view) and press the Z key to set the zero direction. Once you have completed calibration press S to store the calibration for future use. Finally press the C key again to exit calibration mode.

As default the calibration is being saved to the file .vr920 in the users home. You may specify a different filename using the -c option. If you do so this file will also be in the users home. To use i.e. a global calibration file you have to specify the full path  starting with a slash.

Important note: During calibration make sure that the display of the device is displaying something. Since the displays not only showing a blue screen influences the sensor data (at least with my device) you’ll end with wrong calibration else. You may use i.e. nvidia-settings to ensure this.

Download:

I decided to publish the driver under the creative common noncommercial license. You may download the full source from here: vr920-driver(source) (1481), an x86_64 binary from here: vr920-driver(x86_64 binary) (1224) , or an i686 binary from here: vr920-driver(i686 binary) (1110). More binary formats may be available in the future. You need to have libusb, libconfig++ and libcurses installed on your system. Libconfig++ is being used to store the calibration data and libcurses for the user interface. The x86_64 binary has been build on an up to date gentoo system, the i686 binary on ubuntu hardy. For the i686 binary you will need to install libconfig++ i.e. libconfig++6_1.3.1-1 from here: libconfig++ If none of the binaries works for you, you may have to build from source…

New version available here.

Building from source:

For building from source unpack the zip and cd to vr920 and run make. If you use a binary based distribution, make sure you have the devel version of the needed libraries installed on your system.

Future Plans:

In the future I plan to extend the jps viewer I published in SIV – a stereoscopic jps viewer for Linux to use the tracking data from the driver, so one can look around the scene by turning his head.

Update: New version of SIV with headtracking support is available at: SIV-1.0 released

Footnote:

If you like the driver, feel free to link to www.mygnu.de. If you developed an application using the tracking data provided by the driver please leave a comment, because then I can review the application and eventually write about it. To request commercial licenses contact us at info(at)mygnu.de. Well, if you just want to support our work on MyGNU.de use the donate button 😉

best regards

Jürgen

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