Re: Drivers, drivers, drivers
Curious you should mention a Z series. I just bought an old one, which came with an old ATI FirePro graphics card.
I wasted several days of tinkering trying to get the thing to work with Linux (tried Manjaro and Ubuntu) but with no success at all - black screen as soon as I allow kernel modesetting. Scary messages about clock voltages being exceeded.
It was a pity because these old cards are supposedly very well supported by the old drivers. It opened a minefield for me because it seems that the most compatible graphics by far is Intel, which is what I've used on numerous laptops with no issues.
Nvidia seems to be proprietary drivers old, which means for some older cards you may have to downgrade X to an old version that still supports the binary blob driver (same seems to be true for the older proprietary ATI drivers as well) - this risks security as you then can't upgrade X.
So for my workstation I ended up with a cheap AMD card which worked first time out of the box using the open source 'amdgpu' driver but I've read plenty of accounts of folks having issues with some modern AMDs too so it was a bit of a gamble.
I'm sure BSD must be hitting all the same problems. I really don't understand why, in the 21st century, folks like NVIDIA still won't openly document their interfaces and allow for open source drivers... It's not like they're giving away the inner workings or blueprints. For want of a better analogy it's like a aeroplane manufacturer refusing to provide a manual of what all the switches do in have cockpit.