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NVIDIA Is Joining the Linux Foundation

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the welcome-to-the-team dept.

Hardware 113

Norsefire writes "NVIDIA is joining the Linux Foundation, along with three other to-be-announced companies. From the article: 'As one of the three big makers of graphics chips for PCs--the other two are Intel and AMD, both of which are longtime Linux Foundation members--Nvidia's increased participation in Linux could be big news for users of the free and open source operating system. Nvidia has long taken a closed approach to Linux drivers for its graphics cards, offering only a proprietary one and declining to participate in the open source Nouveau driver project, which has depended instead on reverse engineering.'"

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113 comments

Three other to-be-announced companies (5, Funny)

Sigvatr (1207234) | more than 2 years ago | (#39281421)

Hedging my bets on Apple, Microsoft and McDonalds.

Already announced (4, Informative)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39281463)

From the first article:

Still, there's an exciting potential in this news, which includes also the addition of multimedia software developer Fluendo, Japanese Lineo Solutions, and security-focused Mocana to the Linux Foundation's membership list.

What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundation? (4, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39281779)

Does that mean Nvidia gonna open source the driver for the graphic cards using Nvidia chips?

Does that mean that the Linux commodities finally got tweak the Nvidia drivers to the point that they can get to squeeze the last drop of performance out of Nvidia graphic chips?

If yes, welcome to the Linux Foundation

If no, then what's the meaning of joining?

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (5, Informative)

crazycheetah (1416001) | more than 2 years ago | (#39281907)

1. RTFA.

2. It does not mean any of that.

3. It means that they're pumping money into Linux. For what means... speculation includes the Tegra platform (which really is not a bad speculation at all), but who knows. You also have Oracle, Adobe, etc. in that list that have little to no support for Linux with their software (or other questionable attributes).

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (5, Informative)

drcheap (1897540) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282687)

You also have Oracle ... in that list that have little to no support for Linux with their software (or other questionable attributes).

Oracle? I mean sure Larry's O-monster is definitely one of the major Big Evil Corporations(tm), but you can't say they have no support for Linux. Hell, the flagship product Oracle Database has been available for Linux (and even certified on several distros) for at least 10 years now -- I was running 8i on a Slackware box back in 2003!

Many years ago, they came out with their own Linux distro (based on RHEL), and now you can even get a turn-key solution that includes an "appliance" server, which runs their software ... get this ... on Linux! They will fully support you with mission-critical issues, as long as you pay for the support contract ;)

Furthermore, most people don't even know that Oracle has dedicated team of paid staff that does nothing but work on FOSS [oracle.com]. One of these projects is OCFS2, which I have personally been involved with (as a user & community member, not a developer) for 2-3 years now and has recently become part of the mainline Linux kernel.

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282765)

Correct. That was worded rather wrong. Fits the questionable attributes when it comes to FOSS for many people, though, which would be the point of including them in there.

Nokia, Sony (3, Interesting)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283241)

Oracle and Adobe may not have been the best/most interesting examples. (I think the fact that Oracle has an extremely pricey "Platinum Membership", representing a half-million dollar investment, says all that needs to be said about that. They're clearly pretty serious about Linux, whatever the Linux or Slashdot community may think of them.)

Some really surprising names (at the Gold/100k USD level) are Nokia and Sony. They've invested as much as SUSE (the only pure-Linux player at the gold level) and Google. Of course, Sony is a big company, and just because their games division seems to hate Linux, that doesn't mean that the company overall isn't a huge user/supporter. As for Nokia...I got nuthin'.... :)

Toyota is also a Gold Member, which is not as shocking as seeing Nokia or Sony on the list, but I still find it a little surprising that they're willing to sink six figures into general Linux support/promotion/defense. I had no idea they even used it. I certainly don't expect them to open-source their drivers. [Insert car analogy here.] :)

Re:Nokia, Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284075)

Nokia up until recently had been heavily into linux. From the n900, maemo, meego, the n9 runs a linux kernel as well as the open source QT framework

Re:Nokia, Sony (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284435)

From n770 onwards Maemo was really the only GNU/Linux operating system for mobile devices (Android ditches the GNU part). Except maybe for openmoko?

Re:Nokia, Sony (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285629)

Nokia being on the list is not that strange. they've shipped linux running consumer products for more than half a decade and at one point(parts of the corporation anyways - they got/had 10 faces and 20 mouths) were openly stating that they'd use linux kernel as basis of their future consumer device operating systems.

Re:Nokia, Sony (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288843)

Some really surprising names (at the Gold/100k USD level) are Nokia and Sony. They've invested as much as SUSE (the only pure-Linux player at the gold level) and Google. Of course, Sony is a big company, and just because their games division seems to hate Linux, that doesn't mean that the company overall isn't a huge user/supporter. As for Nokia...I got nuthin'.... :)

Sony is understandable - their TVs (and most "smart TVs" for that matter) run Linux. Heck, my not-so-smart TV (it does have an Ethernet port though) run Linux on an ARM11 with 128MB RAM and 128MB flash to power its web browser and other features.

Sony's also one of the companies responsible for rewriting Busybox.

Linux is used in a lot of places these days- it even powers appliances like camcorders, Blu-Ray players and such - stuff where an RTOS would've been used, but RAM and flash are cheap that they can save more money by investing in hardware rather than paying for the software license. If you look closely at the manuals, there is often an "Open Source Licenses" section that details all the open-source stuff and where to get the source code. If you dig around the websites, you'll find the repositories as well (though some really are well buried as they're on some obscure server somewhere).

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283537)

Furthermore, most people don't even know that Oracle has dedicated team of paid staff that does nothing but work on FOSS [oracle.com]. One of these projects is OCFS2, which I have personally been involved with (as a user & community member, not a developer) for 2-3 years now and has recently become part of the mainline Linux kernel.

As I understand it, OCFS2 got sidelined for no good reason by some idiot at Oracle, of which there seems to be no shortage.

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39283911)

Why in gods name were you running Slackware:

a) in a production (guessing production since its Oracle) environment
b) 2003

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (1)

doti (966971) | more than 2 years ago | (#39286977)

because it was the most reliable linux distro at the time (and maybe still is)?

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (1)

ianare (1132971) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282721)

Oracle is (partly) a Linux company: they sell and support their own distro. After the Sun acquisition, they also own Java, which is used pretty extensively on Linux.

Adobe up until very recently supported Flash on Linux. It may be free, but it was an important part of their business strategy before HTML 5 came along.

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282827)

I would believe the point was not to bash said companies but to briefly summarize this paragraph from TFA:

Among the many Linux Foundation members are VIA (their open-source strategy failed and really haven't been doing anything), AMD (they're still happy with their Catalyst binary blob while the open-source support is still lagging), Adobe (they abandoned Flash Player for Linux and most of their software is not available natively under Linux), Oracle (enough said with their share of controversies in various open-source communities), and a host of mobile-focused firms like ARM / Qualcomm / Samsung that don't ship full open-source graphics drivers for Linux (the best case to date for them has been open-source kernel drivers with closed-up user-space components, some of which are being reverse-engineered).

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283555)

Oracle is (partly) a Linux company: they sell and support their own distro.

They try to. It would seems the vast majority of their DB customers do not really want to buy LInux contracts from them, I wonder why that would be. In truth, Oracle is not a Linux company, they are a DB company that relies on Linux plaform installations for a large and increasing share of their revenue.

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283671)

1. RTFA.

You can't be serious? Look at the OP's UID. These guys practically invented Slashdot's "Never RTFA" rule.

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (3, Funny)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284143)

1. RTFA

You can't be serious? Look at the OP's UID. These guys practically invented Slashdot's "Never RTFA" rule

tl;dr

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (0, Flamebait)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283777)

I'll get hate from the keepers of the perception bubbles but I've long past giving a fuck so here goes...why the fuck should ANY company give you anything? AMD did, they did EXACTLY what you asked for TO THE LETTER. What were your words? what did you tell everyone? "Why if you'll just give us the specs we'll not only support you but we'll help make the drivers better, its a win/win!" so what did AMD do? not only did they give you every spec they are legally allowed to (they of course can't give the parts of HDMI protected path as they don't own that) but they actually bent over backwards for the community, not only rushing the specs out as quick as they could but actually hiring devs to help the open source driver developers! And what did they get for their trouble? Did they get the support of the community? Nope you see every Linux forum filled with "LOL buy Nvidia" which is a company that not only don't give you shit but drops supports for cards quicker than anybody!

So the simple fact is frankly no company should bother to support Linux unless they are gonna obviously get something out of it up front because your words and your actions are diametrically opposed to one another. you say "We support the companies that support us!" yet more than 2/3rds of the web servers out there are running CentOS, which is a "leecher" OS made by a hardware company that USED to buy RHEL for their products and then decided they'd just rather not pay, oh and before anyone brings up Red hat not saying anything, what do you expect them to say? "Hey douchebags quit ripping us off, we're trying to HELP you"? With the self entitled nature of the community they be blackballed and boycotted before they had even lifted their fingers from the send key! And then there is of course AMD which is a great example to all those companies sitting on the fence NOT to support you, as not only didn't their sales improve any but you now have the BSD guy posting "Hey we've found bugs!" which i'm sure is gonna help their sales a lot.

So frankly you shouldn't say shit when Nvidia or any other company gives you the short end of the stick, because when companies DO listen and do as you ask they find all their hard work is for naught. Hell look at how much money Canonical has burned through trying to give you a hassle free desktop only to get "LOL use mint" which is just like CentOS, another leecher. What do you think happens to mint when Canonical goes under and they can't leech anymore? It becomes another "Bob's distro" and falls even further behind the competition. What's sad is the IDEA of FOSS was a good one, everyone working together to make nice things that everyone can use. The sad reality is just another example that without real leadership you end up with a bunch of douchebaggery and everyone doing their own thing and nobody caring about anyone but themselves and their own little chiefdom.

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284135)

I see that you are angry

It's nice that /. offers you an avenue for you to vent your anger

Ooooommmmmmmmmmm ......

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39286153)

Quite a number of distros are created not necessarily from original root distros such as Debian/Redhat/Slackware/Gentoo, but from any other distro - it's simply the nature of FOSS. If a distro is successful, it's one measure of its success that there'd be derivative distros based on that. The same is the case w/ Mint - it is one of a handful of linuxes that are based on Ubuntu, some others being Bodhi, Comice, Pinguy, Zorin, Backbox and more. Each of them, while derived from Ubuntu, has something or the other to differentiate it. Comice, for instance, takes Gnome3.2 and makes it look like an OS-X desktop.

Ubuntu users could have gone to any of these once Unity hit. Mint took the initiative of actually finding out why people were leaving Ubuntu for Mint, and recognized that Unity aside, even Gnome3 was a problem. So they came up w/ all sorts of options - MGSE, Cinnamon and MATE, and gave their users the option of staying w/ the older GNOME2 forks. They also offered them the options of other DEs, such as LDXE, XFCE and most recently, KDE. In the meantime, while Ubuntu was making its user base its guinea pigs on Unity, they also announced that they'd be dropping support for Kubuntu. Don't be surprised if Xubuntu and Lubuntu follow, so that the only people using Ubuntu are those who like Unity.

For this reason, I disagree that the examples of CENTOS and Mint are identical. CENTOS, from what you describe, decided to simply offer RHEL free to its customers but w/o any service contracts, which is indeed leeching of it. But that's by no means what Mint has done - they've actually checked why users came to them in the first place, heard them out on their grievances about the DEs, and offered as many options as they could to make them happy. I'd say that they deserve that succcess. You could point out that they essentially leeched off Ubuntu, but by the same definition, Ubuntu too 'leeched' from Debian - they took the Debian Linux distro, and added their improvements, just like Mint, Comice and the others did w/ them. Incidentally, in addition to Mint's normal Ubuntu derived OS, Mint also has a 'Mint Debian' distro, where they do the same things here, except that they start w/ the original Debian base, rather than Ubuntu's. I dunno whether that's for their servers - maybe it is, given that Debian's server OS is a lot better established than Ubuntu's.

Back to TFA, I think the reason any company balks @ Linux is the idea that it would have to provide GPL'ed drivers. I wouldn't blame them @ all for being reluctant to do it, given that by doing so, they're pretty much giving their competitors - in addition to their customers - the secret about what makes them tick. One solution is binary blobs, but then, problem then is that not all Linux (or BSD) distros would have the drivers for that particular card, and the vendor then has to make a call of whether to skip that customer base or not. I think one solution might be to write some basic drivers for the card that have its minimal functionality working, and publish that, but for any drivers that are optimized for the best performance and power consumption, make those proprietary or binary blobs. Yeah, there are some distros which in the full spirit of RMS/FSF will refuse to touch those, but that's their problem.

the secret about what makes them tick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39286421)

"the secret about what makes them tick" but only if they GPL that secret when they code it.

Really.

If there were any hardware tricks then their opposition have enough money and knowledge to look at the silicon and re-create the mask and, being a trade secret, by doing so will be able to copy PRECISELY what was done and sell the result with PRECISELY the same "tick".

This, however, doesn't seem to be a problem in the real world by people who aren't paranoiac nutcases when it comes to copyleft.

Now, having GPL'd the SOFTWARE that helps that tick come out, they have given nothing to their competitors that they can leverage in Windows, since they would not be able to distribute their code as a GPL blob and MS would not want a derived work that they have to allow being GPLd itself. Ergo no loss there on software.

But, having given it out as GPL, they now get access to a million geeks who will do free support and bugfixing on the code.

Re:the secret about what makes them tick (1, Troll)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287361)

"But, having given it out as GPL, they now get access to a million geeks who will do free support and bugfixing on the code."

BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA!...oh wait, you were serious? BWA HA HA HA HA HA owww, my sides...ohh thanks, that's the hardest I've laughed in ages! Because Linux is known for having rock solid drivers that never break, snort, snicker guffaw! lets face it friend, your driver model is shit. its always been shit, and as long as Linus Torvalds has a pulse it will always BE shit, why? Because he likes it that way and because he knows that SEVER companies, which is where he makes his money, will jump through his hoops so he don't have to give a crap. this is ignoring the fact that every. other. major. OS on the ENTIRE planet has a driver ABI, BSD, Solaris, OSX, Windows, hell even OS/2. Is Linus THAT arrogant, that he thinks he's smarter than EVERY OS designer on the planet? yep. Eeeeegggoo come and it won't go away. Mark my words 3 weeks after Torvalds drops dead there WILL be an ABI and it'll be hailed as the second coming, Well unless the replacement for Linus is a follower of the great smelly one in which case they will continue with the already disproved RELIGIOUS argument against ABIs (the ONLY one I've seen provided BTW, kinda funny that an OS would have a religious movement whose job it is to maintain "purity") which is of course "ZOMFG they might provide a...gasp, shock horror...binary blob ZOMFG!" which of course ignores that the number one GPU for Linux and the most used driver in Linux is Nvidia drivers which are....survey says....binary blobs!

You want to know why hardware manufacturers ignore you THIS is why. With just FOUR count 'em FOUR drivers you can support Windows for more than 20 years, no more work required, you just need a 2K/XP/2K3 32 bit, XP X64/2k3 X64, WinVista/7/8 32bit,WinVista/7/8 64bit, and tada! you've just covered EVERY use case for your product on Windows, even the non popular and server editions. With Linux you either pay a team of driver developers to constantly update the things when Torvalds breaks them yet again, or you leave your company to the not so tender mercy of some "hacker dude" you have ZERO control over who may or may not make a decent driver out of what you give him. See AMD hiring driver guys to help the Open Source guys for an example of how that can cost you money for zero gain.

So waste your mod points, crawl back into your perception bubbles going "La la la, everything is beautiful, la la la!" but the honest ones will know I'm right. Linux has suffered from the "busted shitter" problem for years and frankly it isn't getting any better in that regard. what are the busted shitters? its the REALLY hard, thankless, shitty, long hours,crappy jobs that never get done because nobody is willing to waste years of their lives on them for free. trying to have a really functional driver model WITHOUT having ABIs is one of those busted shitter problems which is why others like BSD and Solaris adopted ABIs. But there are many busted shitters in Linux, the lousy documentation, lack of QA and regression testing, upgrades breaking bog standard hardware because of lack of oversight, hell remember when Linux USED to laugh about Windows having to install clean to upgrade? Don't laugh about that now that all the distros tell you to do the same thing huh? that's the busted shitter problem in a nutshell.

IMHO the sad part is things didn't have to be this way, the community could accept the busted shitter problem and work to route around the damage. tell Torvalds it ain't 1993 anymore and to either come up with a way to magically fix the driver issues or STFU and give you an ABI, take up collections to offer bounties for really nasty busted shitters like upgrades breaking bog standard hardware or lack of docs, but instead its a giant perception bubblepaloza, where everyone trips over themselves to talk about how "leet" they are and just can't seem to understand why after 20 years Linux is still lower than the margin for error on the desktop. I mean you'd think after seeing that a thousand times more people would rather steal the other guy's product than take yours for absolutely free would have SOMEONE ask "What are we doing wrong that the other guy is doing right?" but I guess that would entail admitting something is amiss in bubbleland and that's just hearasay.

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (2)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282181)

Does that mean Nvidia gonna open source the driver for the graphic cards using Nvidia chips?

I don't think they will ever open-source their drivers. It would be embarrassing for them when others discuss their code, they are protective of their work, etc. All you can hope for, and what you should be demanding, is that they give more specs to the nouveau team.

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (1)

evilRhino (638506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282663)

I would imagine the opposite. They are not a software company. They make most of their money on hardware.

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (2)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283589)

Does that mean Nvidia gonna open source the driver for the graphic cards using Nvidia chips?

I don't think they will ever open-source their drivers. It would be embarrassing for them when others discuss their code, they are protective of their work, etc. All you can hope for, and what you should be demanding, is that they give more specs to the nouveau team.

Of course that is all that the community wants. Why should NVidia have all the fun of writing kick-butt driver code? :-p

I guess NVidia must be getting awfully close to taking that step. I would say, just waiting for a suitably high profile occasion to announce it now. Stranger than fiction: they have some strong OSS advocates on the inside.

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285257)

I guess NVidia must be getting awfully close to [open-sourcing their drivers]. I would say, just waiting for a suitably high profile occasion to announce it now. Stranger than fiction: they have some strong OSS advocates on the inside.

Not going to happen, not that way for the same reason AMD can't open source their Catalyst/fgrlx drivers. Licensed code, patents, DRM, competetitive advantage, clues about future products and improvements and absurd amounts of lawyer time needed. They'd almost certainly have to go down the same route AMD has, announce an open source strategy and start building a driver from scratch (or nouveau), release blocks of programming information bit by bit and will probably lack certain bits like VDPAU, just like AMD still haven't been able to release any UVD information 4.5 years into their open source project.

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285857)

I guess NVidia must be getting awfully close to [open-sourcing their drivers]

Why did you put words in my mouth, then do the straw-man thing? What I meant - for anyone who did not see it clearly from context - is that NVidia must be close to opening their register specs.

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283617)

I'd be happy with just a optimus [wikipedia.org] binary driver. As it stands some laptops running linux can't even access their graphics cards properly.

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39290319)

I'd be happy with just a optimus [wikipedia.org] binary driver. As it stands some laptops running linux can't even access their graphics cards properly.

bumblebee works fine in my limited experience with it, though manual switching is required.

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (5, Informative)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282483)

It means that they meet the requirements for membership* and have paid their membership fees. Which basically means they're throwing a bunch of money into a pool intended to promote, support, improve, and defend Linux and other OSS projects and developers. And getting a tax credit.

Does that mean [other stuff]?

No.

If no, then what's the meaning of joining?

It means that they've thrown a bunch of money into a pool intended to...blah, blah. And gotten a tax credit. And the right to say "Member of the Linux Foundation" on their website and other promotional materials.

* Membership is open to "...individuals and entities that engage in or support the production, manufacture, use, sale, or standardization of Linux or other open source-based technologies." (Emphasis mine.) Note that you don't even have to engage in the use of Linux--you merely have to support it (whatever that means).

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (5, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282529)

Does that mean Nvidia gonna open source the driver for the graphic cards using Nvidia chips?

Not as long as there are ex-SGI people in the place that can tell their stories about the insane amount of time wasted in court over graphics software patents. So long as the patent trolls have to do some work to determine what Nvidia have they are a little bit safer from them.
It's just another insane direct consequence of software patents.

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283325)

Does that mean Nvidia gonna open source the driver for the graphic cards using Nvidia chips?

Nope. The reason for this is that both ATI and NVIDIA license a lot of code that is in their drivers.

Does that mean that the Linux commodities finally got tweak the Nvidia drivers to the point that they can get to squeeze the last drop of performance out of Nvidia graphic chips?

This is a joke, right?

Re:What does it mean by joining the Linux Foundati (1)

red crab (1044734) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285477)

Maybe it could make a difference; NVIDIA joining the Linux foundation. So far, on openSUSE, their closed source drivers available via YaST repos fail to detect the installed NVDIA card in most of the cases. Since the bundled nouveau driver isn't good enough, currently the only alternative to get them working is to compile their default proprietary driver(s) into the kernel.

Re:Three other to-be-announced companies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39281553)

*** BREAKING NEWS ***
Ahmadinejad, Al-Assad, and Putin are joining the United Nations Democracy Fund.
*** BROKEN NEWS ***

Oh, err, wait a minute!

Re:Three other to-be-announced companies (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39281677)

SCO, Unxis, and Caldera

Re:Three other to-be-announced companies (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39286997)

There is no Caldera. UnXis is the name of the company that owns the remnants of SCO. I've not seen them actually do anything, other than inherit the last versions of SCO OSE and Unixware

Re:Three other to-be-announced companies (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289269)

I know. I'm on Groklaw, too. I just couldn't think of a good third company to add on to the list.

Re:Three other to-be-announced companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39281991)

And by Apple you mean the kinda that grows on trees right?

Let me be the first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39281439)

YEAH!

Not for graphics (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39281471)

The summary implies that the submitter thinks this is going to improve things with respect to their graphics drivers. Come on. Not likely. They're doing this as an ARM manufacturer, NOT as a GPU manufacturer.

Re:Not for graphics (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39281705)

Better linux support for the notoriously eccentric ARM SoCs of the world certainly isn't a bad thing; but it does seem likely that Nvidia's interests align with Linux's interests in roughly the same way that IBM's do:

They are entirely happy to see a cheap and capable OS available to sit between their expensive hardware and their proprietary software; but they aren't exactly thinking of changing the status of either of those two...

Re:Not for graphics (2)

IMightB (533307) | more than 2 years ago | (#39281845)

I agree this is probably a way for them to improve compatibility with things like the Tegra2/3/(future) SoC's. As the owner of a ASUS Transformer, there have been a few issues where more timely fixes would have been appreciated.

That being said, for my use model, the only issue that has caused me grief was the HDMI output would not sync with my particular model of TV. I am very happy overall with the Transformer and ASUS in general.

Re:Not for graphics (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282011)

Their GPU compute division might also have a hand in it: Linux users as customers for desktop and gaming cards aren't wildly compelling; though certainly not nonexistent; but the people buying racks and racks of Tesla enclosures are an entirely different matter. Nvidia has no obvious interest in more OSS in their bits of that particular arrangement; but they certainly want it to work smoothly.

Re:Not for graphics (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282615)

I agree - I'd have racks and racks of Tesla enclosures if the software supported it. The place I'm working for does stuff that can be split up into millions of independant tasks so someting like those would be ideal. I'm using commercial software instead of anything developed inhouse so it's going to be a very long wait, but possibly shortened now because large commercial vendors love things they can get for free. Some of the software is from Halliburton, so support for the new platforms available today will probably arrive in 2023 :(

I personally expect this is correct (4, Interesting)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282575)

The Tegra platforms have not gotten a lot of traction in the Linux kernel development world, generally because they put all their GPIOs in the wrong place for udev and want to put all of their board-specific GPIO renaming in #ifdef's rather than putting them in separate platform description files.

This is particularly egregious for things like the auido jacks, which due to poor code arrangement, never end up sending udev events to subsystem audio, and instead send them to platform.

I would be very happy if the only thing that came out of it was that the names they assigned to pins in the source code matched the names that they have on their technical specifications instead of having weird-ass names for everything. Right now you have to translate through three layers of indirection to figure out what you have to poke to pull a pin high.

Really, what the ARM folks need to do is get together and decide on an ISA like the Intel/AMD/IBM/yada-yada folks did so that as engineers it posible to target a single real platform. Yes, I realize that would tend to commoditize them, but they are already budge also-ran chips.

-- Terry

Re:Not for graphics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39281723)

The real question is, why would they think it would be an improvement even if they did what they're implying/hoping for?

AMD has and arguably, that's gotten nowhere compared to the Windows drivers. Heck, AMD can't even get their own binary blob Linux drivers right...

Re:Not for graphics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39281815)

How do the two things differ in your eyes?

Still no optimus drivers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39281487)

Fuck off then.

Re:Still no optimus drivers? (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39281707)

I understand the sentiment. I became much less of a fan when nVidia did that.

I once read where nVidia actually contracted the creation of drivers for the nVidia graphics chips to some outside company and their agreement with them prevents them from doing open source drivers which competes with the closed source drivers and that their inside knowledge of the software drivers would be used against nVidia if/when they are sued for their participation in the creation of open source drivers.

There are probably patents and all manner of things "legal" in their way. If this were indeed the case, it still doesn't make be feel better about nVidia since they demonstrated not only poor judgement, but has written off F/OSS rather quickly without much consideration or foresight.

How meaningful is it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39281679)

I am wondering how meaningful is that membership for end users.
I haven't had any problems with Nvidia's proprietary drivers and Intel drivers included in Linux kernel work out of the box.
On the other hand, ATI/AMD drivers has been an endless story of something "not ready yet", despite their long time Linux "commitment".
Personally, I want something that works and is reasonably easy to install and don't care much about "memberships".
(running a binary installer from Nvidia after each kernel update fits the bill and has been flawless so far, speaking from my experience.)

Re:How meaningful is it? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39281747)

As Theo de Raadt says, probably the most important part is providing open documentation, so that it is easier to write the drivers.

To me the news sounds too good to be true...

Re:How meaningful is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282047)

For many years ATI was unable to write a closed source Linux driver for their own chips. May be they didn't have documentation :-)
Any way, it seems that open-sourcing is just a beginning rather than the end of a solution.

Re:How meaningful is it? (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282203)

I am wondering how meaningful is that membership for end users.
I haven't had any problems with Nvidia's proprietary drivers and Intel drivers included in Linux kernel work out of the box.

As other posts have noted, this is probably not about desktop GPUs at all.
Nevertheless, while like you I haven't had any actual problems with their binary blob on Ubuntu, Nvidia's god-awful configuration toÃl stands out increasingly like a sore thumb the slicker linux distros (and Ubuntu in particular) look and work, and could do with integration into the screen configuration framework provided by X. In its current state the tool is not usable by non-expert users for every-day tasks like dual-screen setup, etc. Oh, and KMS, but that's even more unlikely.

nvidia graphics drivers? (2)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#39281741)

As for graphics, I'm under the impression that ATI/AMD graphics cards still rely on OSS drivers, that those drivers have historically performed miserably, and that ATI/AMD has never made an attempt to make them better.

Meanwhile, nvidia's released (proprietary) drivers for X for at least a decade. I just hope this isn't nvidia's way of distancing themselves from supporting X...mylaptop depends on their X driver!

Re:nvidia graphics drivers? (2)

IMightB (533307) | more than 2 years ago | (#39281871)

AMD produces a binary blob catalyst driver for X. It's just not as good as nVidia's binary blob driver. AMD has released specs for the OSS driver dev's to use. In my experience the OSS drivers, currently, while not having as many features, are more stable than the catalyst driver.

Re:nvidia graphics drivers? (4, Informative)

neonsignal (890658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282399)

Your impression is five years out of date.

The radeon driver for the ATI/AMD cards has improved dramatically, the graphics cards have published programming specifications, and AMD actively support the driver. It supports 3D acceleration, and is a viable alternative to the proprietary catalyst drivers in many contexts.

In contrast, to have 3D acceleration on an Nvidia card, you are often forced to install a non-free driver, and Nvidia may or may not drop support for your card as you move to newer Linux kernels. The nouveau project, while making great advances under difficult circumstances, have to reverse engineer the programming interface to the card, and do not yet have sufficient 3D support for many applications. I would hope that one day Nvidia will give them more support.

Note that this is not a comment on the relative performance merits of graphics cards from the two different manufacturers. But if you want to run 3D graphics intensive applications, and also have the benefits of a libre software environment, then it is hard to justify using an Nvidia card at present.

Re:nvidia graphics drivers? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282905)

Even five (and more) years ago it depended on the card with some supported very well and others poorly. I even had one desktop system that behaved well with both an ATI and nvidia card driving adjacent screens which initially sounded like looking for trouble, but in practice it got restarted about twice a year until it was retired.

and also have the benefits of a libre software environment,

Nvidia still have people that wasted a lot of time in court when they were part of SGI and were patent trolled. I can't see them releasing any open drivers any time soon whether they want to or not. Whether you like their policy or not (I don't) there is a reason for it.
Personally I've decided not to "punish" them for that policy, so I buy their hardware at times. While setting up for multiple screens on linux was initially something you could even leave to a relatively inexperienced user on nvidia and but hard in comparison on ATI, the gap has closed. For the edge cases (eg. multiple screens in different orientations), the GUI tools are not set up to do it so you need to change a line in a config file anyway no matter which driver it is.

Re:nvidia graphics drivers? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39283365)

Oh no, a non free driver...

I've had multiple ati cards on window. FUCK THAT never again. The drivers are complete and total garbage that make the nvidia drivers look like space shuttle assembly quality.

Re:nvidia graphics drivers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285807)

And the users who want the card to work and work well will easily justify the nvidia card. Having open drivers is great and all, but not everyone can live in a fantasy world where being open is all that matters. nvidia drivers are fast, efficient, and stable. Their config tool is not good, but it's not like we need to live in it.

Re:nvidia graphics drivers? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285941)

In contrast, to have 3D acceleration on an Nvidia card, you are often forced to install a non-free driver, and Nvidia may or may not drop support for your card as you move to newer Linux kernels.

Yes, but they support much older cards than AMD's Catalyst drivers. Go check it out, I doubt you can argue this is a real problem. There's been a few times nVidia hasn't supported the latest API breakage so you can't be quite as on the bleeding edge, but then it applies to all nVidia cards and doesn't last long.

But if you want to run 3D graphics intensive applications, and also have the benefits of a libre software environment,

Then you are going to have to pick your poison. Really, the radeon drivers have some 3D acceleration but they're not nearly on par with the fglrx driver nor nVidia's blob in 3D performance. Hell, if you buy a HD7000 series card then right now you can't even get a picture. It's #1 when you've eliminated all but nouveau, which is like winning the Special Olympics against a quadraplegic. Right now I'd say if you're running HD5000 series card or older and don't expect huge 3D performance it's okay, but if you want either the performance or the features of the newer cards it'll be on closed drivers.

Do they support much older Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39286559)

Or do you have to get a new linux OS because your graphics card is no longer supported under that older OS?

Re:Do they support much older Linux? (1)

3.1415926535 (243140) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289519)

Minimum requirements: ftp://download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86/295.20/README/minimumrequirements.html [nvidia.com]

[sorry for the poor formatting]
Software Element Supported versions Check With...
Linux kernel 2.4.7 and newer cat /proc/version
XFree86* 4.0.1 and newer XFree86 -version
X.Org* 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, 1.10, 1.11, 1.12 Xorg -version
Kernel modutils 2.1.121 and newer insmod --version
glibc 2.0 ls /lib/libc.so.* > 6
* It is only required that you have one of XFree86 or X.Org, not both. Sometimes very recent versions are not supported immediately following release, but we aim to support all new versions as soon as possible.

binutils 2.9.5 size --version
GNU make 3.77 make --version
gcc 2.91.66 gcc --version

Re:nvidia graphics drivers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287397)

Radeon is only a viable alternative to fglrx because fglrx is so poor, roughly on the level of nouveau.

Re:nvidia graphics drivers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284057)

nVidia has rocked in Linux for so long, now, I don't even think about using any other maker. I've recently taken an interest in using software that leverages CUDA, in Linux, and so far, it's been an equally smooth experience. It is such a treat to have a vendor that does such a good job, I can't praise them enough. To think that they are increasing their presence in Linux makes me giddy with anticipation. Wouldn't it be great to have them put out some rockin' GPU-CPU combo that equals compute power of an Intel/AMD system? Having another competent player in the market would be great. This, coupled with the imminent release of their 600-series graphics cards, has got to be a whole lotta winnin'
If I could request one thing from nVidia, it would be a GPGPU card with upgradable RAM slots. They've supplied the power, but we need more space to leverage the awesomeness.
Did mention how good nVidia is in Linux?

ARM is the future? (2)

GeneralTurgidson (2464452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39281773)

Will ARMnix become the new Wintel?

Re:ARM is the future? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282809)

Unlikely, MS is making aggressive moves to ensure there's little in the way of "generic" hardware, and all the existing Android vendors will stick with Android and layer it with locked bootloaders and other DRM to make the RIAA/MPAA happy.

What is the "Linux Foundation"? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39281799)

Posting anonymously, as I was deeply involved with the OSDL. I attended a number of their high-level meetings as I work in the IT industry and was asked to contribute. What I saw was a lot of Powerpoint among CxO types who talked about being the "center of gravity" in the Linux world. Most were guys who just wanted a cheaper operating system so they could get rid of proprietary Unix...not much love for the cost of Solaris + Veritas in those rooms. They were all eager to get a free-as-in-beer OS that would save them millions a year.

The OSDL had zero ability to get RedHat, etc. to modify their plans. RedHat is very enterprise-friendly, but that's from directly working with their customers, not through OSDL.

Anyway, funding dried up and that was that.

Wikipedia says the LF has "narrowing their respective focuses to that of promoting Linux in competition with Windows". Well, good luck with that. Jumping from an enterprise focus (OSDL) to a consumer focus (LF) would pretty tough for people who have their act together...and the OSDL crowd never did. After a couple years I found myself asking "what is the point of all this? we talk and look at powerpoint, but I don't see any actual change coming out of this organization," and so I left.

Misleading perspectives abound (1)

Dega704 (1454673) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282057)

The thing that I don't get is how everyone talks as if Nvidia's Linux video drivers are far behind AMD's because they are not open source. Yes, it would be nice if they were, but in my experience they are far superior in terms of actual stability and performance. Using ATI/AMD graphics in Linux has been a living nightmare in most cases for me. The open source drivers are missing features that are in the proprietary ones, and as soon as I install said proprietary drivers everything turns to crap if it hadn't already. In fact if I recall correctly, both Firefox and Flash Player only support hardware acceleration in Linux if you are using Nvidia; since they are the only drivers that are stable enough. Do correct me and don't flame me if I am wrong. In any case, it would be fan-friggin-tastic if all the Linux video drivers were completely open-sourced, but it looks like licensing, patents, and good old fashioned bureaucracy will keep that from happening for a while.

Re:Misleading perspectives abound (2)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282257)

The binary driver as such is fine, but the nvidia screen configuration tool sucks big time and for non-experts users is unusable for every-day tasks like dual screen setup, up to hosing your whole GUI. It desperately needs integration into the X facilities via the GUI tools provided by the desktop environments.

Re:Misleading perspectives abound (1)

Dega704 (1454673) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282501)

I do have to agree with you there. Dual monitor setups have always been a pain for me with Nvidia.

Re:Misleading perspectives abound (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282961)

I say the same thing about the GUI tools provided by the desktop environments.
The gnome one in paticular pissed me off a great deal when I found it wasn't putting things in /etc/X11 where it should, but instead buried somewhere in the users home directory and the documentation of WTF it was hadn't been written. I had to get one user I was supporting by phone in a remote area to create a new user account on his laptop to get around the problem of the gnome tool setting his resolution to something that couldn't be displayed.

Re:Misleading perspectives abound (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283091)

Whatever individual bugs may exist in the DE tools, are you really going to compare that to the design trainwreck that is nvidia-settings? Seriously?
I also disagree that the screen config of individual users should go into /etc/X11. No other per-user settings do, with good reason: it's a multi user system.

Re:Misleading perspectives abound (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283769)

Whatever individual bugs may exist in the DE tools, are you really going to compare that to the design trainwreck that is nvidia-settings? Seriously?

I think I just did. Both were found lacking, the gnome one IMHO far more but I'm sure it's been improved since then.
Also the location of the settings doesn't matter - what matters is not telling anybody where it is and having no text based (or any other) fallback to a display system. If it was me I'd get it to put a comment or something in Xorg.conf or SOMEWHERE telling you where to look for per user configuration, or even better, actually having some documentation for people to look at. By that measure the "trainwreck" was vastly superior because you could actually look at the README that came with it to see what it was doing if it messed up.
It's not the idea I hate, and per-user configuration does have some merit. It's the implementation which in my case caused one guy on a whim trying to get a higher resolution on his laptop in the middle of a desert to almost have a completely wasted trip. It's things like that configuration tool that really damage the reputation of open source software.

Already bought Intel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282267)

This sort of thing is why I made damned sure my latest laptop had Intel graphics, and not AMD or nVidia. I am not supporting either company with my money.

Re:Already bought Intel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282403)

Intel graphics? Yet another sucker!

Re:Already bought Intel (3, Interesting)

Maltheus (248271) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282541)

Nvidia's consistent support for near flawless video drivers is why I won't even consider anyone else. I wouldn't even be using linux if it weren't for them. I can't think of another computer company that has so ensured my product loyalty.

Re:Already bought Intel (1)

JonJ (907502) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284775)

Unless you're on a laptop with an optimus chipset, in that case you're up shit creek with no paddles and a leaking boat.

Re:Already bought Intel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39289361)

Why do you say that? Yes, I'd like Optimus to work under Linux (yes, I know, there is a project ... it needs to bake a while longer) But the fact that I have an optimus chipset doesn't mean that I can't use the integrated or discreet (using either nouveau or proprietary drivers) video. If I stick with nouveau, it is simply a reboot and a bios twiddle to go back and forth between discreet and integrated. Even using the proprietary drivers the switch between the modes is not rocket surgery. (I like integrated graphics for the battery life, but the genius who designed my laptop decided that having the VGA connector hooked up to the discreet card was the thing to do, so when I need to hook up to a projector, I have to switch)

Yes, when the day come when Linux can switch on the fly like Windows, then I will be happier. But there isn't anything I can't do with a very moderate level of inconvenience right now. Hardly up the creek.

Re:Already bought Intel (1)

Zebedeu (739988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285727)

My experience couldn't be more different.
Using nVidia's proprietary drivers in my laptop is instability hell.
It crashes my mouse and trackpad within seconds of booting up (have to restart them with modprobe), suspend/resume is a crapshoot, and sometimes would just lock randomly (though that might be just general Gnome 3 suckiness).
Moreover, desktop animations get progressively slower and choppier.

None of these problems with the open source drivers. Well, Gnome 3 still crashes from time to time, but in a different way.
The problem with the open-source drivers is that I can't control the screen brightness, the battery seems to go out a little bit faster, and it crashed when using the new accelerated Google Maps (haven't tried it for a while though).

Caveat: this is on a Sony laptop, which I only learned later, has some of the crapiest Linux support among laptop manufacturers.

Nvidia was always the best on Linux (2, Interesting)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282953)

They were the only ones who made a GPU driver that actually both worked and performed well. Whether or not it's open source is of secondary consideration - give me a fucking GPU driver that actually pumps pixels!

Re:Nvidia was always the best on Linux (5, Informative)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283405)

They were the only ones who made a GPU driver that actually both worked and performed well. Whether or not it's open source is of secondary consideration - give me a fucking GPU driver that actually pumps pixels!

Claiming open source or not makes no difference just shows that you have no first hand experience. I am currently running the open source Radeon driver, and for the first time[1] ever in my 3D accelerator history I have a platform that never segfaults (any more) handles text mode properly (looking at you NVidia) and doesn't break on every kernel upgrade. This is a huge deal-maker for me because at this point I value stability over throughput, and over being able to run OGL 3+, which is the only reason I will boot the Catalyst driver on occasion. I do not disagree that the Catalyst driver pumps more pixels - and it also has other goodies like proper antialiased lines and FSAA - but that does not matter as much to me as being hassle-free. By the way, I can do 50K triangles/frame at 60 FPS with the Radeom driver on a fanless 4830 using 50% of one Phenom II core. Did I mention, I also value quiet? It's true.

[1] Except for Intel GMA, which is also open for too underpowered for serious development work.

Re:Nvidia was always the best on Linux (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283679)

Ah, excuse me, 50K TPS on a 4350, not a 4830. The latter should do about ten times that but fanless is a bit of a stretch.

Re:Nvidia was always the best on Linux (2)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284365)

I never had a segfault with the Nvidia closed-source driver on either Linux or FreeBSD. Never. I'm not sure what you are on about, with your text mode jazz, but I never had an issue with that either.

Maybe this just proves that I have *more* experience than you do, because I was able to get shit working properly.

Re:Nvidia was always the best on Linux (1)

Windwraith (932426) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284575)

I only remember one crash myself, and that was in early 2005-2006 or somewhere around there, the crash was actually a recognized bug that was fixed the day after.
Other than that, my experience is the same as yours, never had any issue with the binary blobs at all, and my computer is a messy overheated piece of junk made with scrap parts over time, so yeah.

Just for the record, I usually jump to text mode regularly when I screw up programming and I get X unresponsive, and going to term (tty terms not xterms, of course) and killing the wild app and returning to X always works as expected (which is correctly).
I remember it caused issues on gentoo circa 2007-8 if you had the X drivers and the framebuffer drivers active at a time, and it could sort of corrupt output when going back and forth from console to X, but that was already labeled as not safe in the config files anyway...

Re:Nvidia was always the best on Linux (1)

mx+b (2078162) | more than 2 years ago | (#39290667)

He's talking Radeon and Catalyst, that's AMD stuff not NVIDIA. The AMD drivers have been horrible for me every time I've ever used them. I haven't bought an AMD card in a few years because of that nonsense.

I have terrific experience with NVIDIA in linux, both the open source driver and proprietary driver. On OpenSUSE, NVIDIA has repositories set up that go with the current kernel of SUSE. Updates flawlessly when you do a dist upgrade. Really terrific. When I installed 12.1 though I left the default open source driver as i didn't need the fancier driver for 3D much. So maybe its changed in past few months, but I have always appreciated the effort they seem to put in.

Re:Nvidia was always the best on Linux (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288153)

[1] Except for Intel GMA, which is also open for too underpowered for serious development work.

Actually, despite being open source the Intel drivers have given me more headaches than any Linux drivers I have used. From what I understand this is actually because they were the only fully functional open source driver available, and because Intel hired Keith Packard, they have been used as the guinea pig for all the new X11 architectures changes being made. Which makes some sense; it has to be done somewhere. But ifyou thought you were getting a simple but stable standby (like the S3 was in it's day), Intel GMA was not a good choice.

Which is related to being closed source (0)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283643)

No, not because closed source is better but because it means they can use all their licensed stuff. The nVidia driver is a very complex beast, as all modern graphics drivers are. It is HUGE. On Windows just the core file, the one that makes the card basically work, is 13.3MB. Compare that to the next biggest one, tcpip.sys (who's function you can probably guess) at 1.8MB, or something like the Intel RAID driver at 400KB. Not only that, it isn't the only necessary part, it is just the most basic system driver. There's a much more files needed to make it work and provide all the functionality.

Well, not all of it is nVidia's own code. The license things from other companies. A very simple example would be S3 texture compression, which is part of the OpenGL spec. As the name implies, S3 owns this.

The thing is, nVidia cannot release that licensed code. It is licensed to them to use in binary drivers, not to hand out to the world.

So that means if they open up Linux drivers, they have to remove all that functionality, which makes their stuff work less well, and also that they have to have to more work on it. As it stands with binary drivers they share as much code cross platform as possible. That isn't everything, of course, but it is a lot. If they open it up, much less can be shared so more work has to be done to make it work well and so on.

The idea that opening it up means they'd get all kinds of work for free is false as well. Want an example? Take a look at the crap that is the Radeon OSS drivers. OSS heads on Slashdot assured people that there were legions of skilled programmers who would make top notch OSS drivers post haste if ATi opened things up. Ya well, didn't work out that way. Took forever to even get it working hardly at all, and is still rather problematic. Most of the work has been ATi's. Turns out that maybe a 3D driver is a little harder than a IDE controller driver or the like.

nVidia's way isn't OSS friendly, but it gets shit done.

How do you know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39286897)

"The nVidia driver is a very complex beast, as all modern graphics drivers are"

How do you know? It's closed source.

Remember, Windows ME had lots of lines of code and Vista compiles to a HUGE install. This doesn't mean it's actually of much real power.

Perhaps making hardware more compatible = sales (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39283293)

It's pretty obvious. If more people are able to use your hardware (or software), you will sell more.

Also, wish they would join the ReactOS foundation, but they're probably scared of Microsoft (and rightly so).

If you get your money from hardware... (1)

Beeftopia (1846720) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283625)

... you want the software that runs on it to be as widely available as possible. Thus you maximize profit.

And if you make money from software, you want the hardware it runs on to be as widely available as possible. Thus you maximize profit.

Not rocket science.

There's that CUDA thing, too... (4, Interesting)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283633)

Right now I have 28 very nice Nvidia GPU's ticking away computing determinants of large matrices for me -- and this is just to estimate how much computer time I will need for the real calculation, which will use on the order of 100K GPU-hours. The high-performance computing crowd is switching from conventional supercomputers to Nvidia GPU's as fast as the code can be written.

These things ain't cheap: the new ones that they're putting into clusters cost $1.5k each, and I bet the profit margin on them is a lot bigger than on Geforce 555M's. More importantly this is an avenue for Nvidia to dominate the high-performance computing market, especially if they do things like implement a way for a GPU on one node to talk to a GPU on another node (by a direct-to-Infiniband link or something), bypassing the PCI Express busses. (Right now it's GPU -> PCI Express -> RAM -> Infiniband -> RAM -> PCI Express -> GPU.)

Needless to say the overwhelming majority of these machines run Linux. (Your average physicist can't even imagine what a Windows supercomputer would look like. I sure can't.)

Re:There's that CUDA thing, too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39283689)

You, sir, hit the nail on the head. Finally someone here gets it.

Smelling up-comming linux OS on ARM dominance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39286211)

It's crystal clear. Linux in super-computing and as a full OS for mobile-ARM platform is a foreseeable future, they should join the fry, don't expect open source from them right out of the windows though.

I hope NVIDIA make their 3D Vision work with Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287627)

that's something that would motivate me to buy more NVIDIA.
But right now, it's a wicked situation. The Quad-Buffering that's required for stereoscopic 3D just isn't there for GeForce cards under Linux. instead
* it works on Windows and GeForce, but only with Direct3D, not OpenGL
* it works with Quadro on Linux, but the NVidia drivers are artificially castrated so as to not allow 3D Vision with GeForce cards on linux (or Windows OpenGL).

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  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
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