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NVIDIA Responds To Linus Torvalds

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the you-can-actually-get-a-degree-in-pr dept.

Graphics 497

jones_supa writes "NVIDIA's PR department has issued a statement following the harsh comments by Linus Torvalds last week where he referred to the graphics company as the single worst company he's ever dealt with, called them out on not supporting Optimus, and other issues. Basically the company replied they're committed to Linux using their proprietary driver that is largely common across platforms, and this allows for same-day Linux support with full OpenGL implementation. They also say that they're active in ARM Linux for Tegra and support a wide range of hardware under Linux. Despite having not made any commitment to better support Optimus under Linux nor providing technical assistance to the Nouveau community, NVIDIA assures us that 'at the end of the day, providing a consistent GPU experience across multiple platforms for all of our customers continues to be one of our key goals.'"

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I'd agree with them on that.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384231)

Basically the company replied they're committed to Linux using their proprietary driver that is largely common across platforms, and this allows for same-day Linux support with full OpenGL implementation. They also say that they're active in ARM Linux for Tegra and support a wide range of hardware under Linux. Despite having not made any commitment to better support Optimus under Linux nor providing technical assistance to the Nouveau community, NVIDIA assures us that 'at the end of the day, providing a consistent GPU experience across multiple platforms for all of our customers continues to be one of our key goals.

Posting anonymously because some people are _incredibly_ opinionated on this subject, but not everybody has the opinion that everything linux related must be open source. Linus Torvalds, while a visionary and certainly one of the most technologically-minded people of our age, disagrees with this, and that's too bad. Just because Linus Torvalds thinks you're doing it wrong doesn't necessarily mean you are.

Cheers.

At least open the specs. (5, Insightful)

Picass0 (147474) | about 2 years ago | (#40384275)

I think Torvalds less critical of closed source drivers and more critical of closed specs. Nouveau would be improved greatly if Nvidia provided more transparency on the hardware.

Re:At least open the specs. (4, Funny)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 2 years ago | (#40384565)

I'm sure AMDs offerings would be greatly improved too if Nvidia released more specs on the hardware.

Re:At least open the specs. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384649)

just like nvidia obviously has benefited greatly from opening up their specs, I hear they are even making chips not requiring a dedicated reactor and submersion in liquid nitrogen these days!

In short, you are being silly.

Re:At least open the specs. (5, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 years ago | (#40384569)

With Intel and AMD as their competition, why risk tipping your hat for what arguably could be called a niche market. Keeping secrets about low level hardware optimizations is a competitive market advantage.

Re:At least open the specs. (1)

higuita (129722) | about 2 years ago | (#40384741)

what makes you believe that reverse engineering isn't possible and not done by all companies? yes, its harder than reading the source, but the open source drivers arent also based on the closed one, so the open source ones will not give you that information, at very least you would need to look at the firmware (closed source and that you can also extract from the closed source driver)

Re:At least open the specs. (5, Insightful)

KingMotley (944240) | about 2 years ago | (#40384883)

What makes you think that your bank account PIN can't be guessed? Please post it.

Re:At least open the specs. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384799)

Who said they need to release the driver as source? Giving the specs for all instructions the hardware can carry out would be enough. If the open source community provides a better optimization maybe nVidia can take a hint. If it performs worse it might still be worth to use it with unsopported OSs or deliberatly unsupported nVidia hardware.

Re:At least open the specs. (5, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | about 2 years ago | (#40384889)

They could keep their low level optimizations and simply release the technical specs to their hardware. Then the nouveau people can program the driver without even seeing NVidia do or do not do in their own code.

Keeping the source closed might mean they have some secret tricks but at what cost? At the end of the day updating a binary driver is a pain in the arse. Every time the kernel changes, the video driver must be updated. The natural inclination for Linux users is to favour AMD or Intel products and forget about NVidia completely. And yet NVidia is stuck with testing and develop a driver that runs across an eclectic range of kernels and distributions. If they opened the source, or assisted nouveau by releasing the tech specs they could turn over a lot of support and maintenance to the distributions themselves.

They could even implement some reasonable and sane end of life policy where once a GPU is more than 2 years old they turn over the specs or some reference driver so the hardware can be community supported. It would gain them a lot of kudos and alleviate them from a lot of the hassle of maintaining drivers.

Right to Repair bill in Massachusetts (5, Interesting)

Latent Heat (558884) | about 2 years ago | (#40384679)

The Commonwealth of Massuchesetts is going to have a ballot question on whether auto companies have to reveal all of their "codes" so that independent repair shops (and I guess do-it-yourself people) would have access to diagnostics on cars. Some assembly member is attempting legislation to preempt the referendum question, telling the auto companies, "We can do this the easy way, or we can do this the hard way . . ."

So, maybe we could get Bay State voters interested in open other things?

Re:Right to Repair bill in Massachusetts (3, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 years ago | (#40384915)

Federal law trumps state law. The auto manufactures could encrypt the computers and any attempt to crack it would be grounds for violating the DMCA (anti-circumvention portion).

Damn good idea. (1)

Picass0 (147474) | about 2 years ago | (#40384947)

Apart from the video card issue, I hate auto makers for playing this game. Good for MA. They catch a lot of crap but this is good legislation. I hope other states follow their lead.

OP here.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384701)

Openly bashing NVIDIA for doing things their way is wrong, because it's their product, and, therefore, their decision.

I'd really love to see NVIDIA open their specs, but if they don't want to, they're not going to because they don't need to.

And I completely agree with this from a business perspective. It's easy to rant or cheer from the sidelines when you don't have a business to run. NVIDIA produces some of the best GPU architectures on the market, arguably the best in their industry, and I can understand that they would like to do everything they can to not lose their trade secrets. Especially with AMD not doing so great against Intel in the CPU market..

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (3, Insightful)

kanto (1851816) | about 2 years ago | (#40384303)

Posting anonymously because some people are _incredibly_ opinionated on this subject, but not everybody has the opinion that everything linux related must be open source. Linus Torvalds, while a visionary and certainly one of the most technologically-minded people of our age, disagrees with this, and that's too bad. Just because Linus Torvalds thinks you're doing it wrong doesn't necessarily mean you are.

Cheers.

Afaik Linus Torvalds has admitted on this topic that proprietary is better than nothing at all so try again, I think he's asking for simple co-operation.

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384355)

He should start looking at making a stable API for drivers, and draw a line in the sand to firewall GPL compliance.

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (-1, Troll)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40384611)

So he should cripple himself and other developers to make a proprietary vendor happy?

FUCK YOU, if you don't want to get your code in the tree figure it out yourself.

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (2)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 2 years ago | (#40384739)

Actually he would make more than proprietary vendors happy. There are some open source drivers that serve a very limited audience that doesn't merit inclusion into the kernel source tree that would benefit from a stable API.

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (2)

peppepz (1311345) | about 2 years ago | (#40384651)

Why should the Linux community take the burden to design, maintain and upgrade a "stable API for drivers" only to bend to the desire of a company that by their own admission doesn't care about Linux? The GPL is a resource for Linux, not a problem to be firewalled. There's plenty of closed source OSes out there which are much easier to use than Linux. The only strength of Linux is its being open source. Making it a closed source OS would mean to saw off the branch on which it's sitting.

Ati learned the way of open source. Intel learned it even better. Nvidia doesn't want to? It must remain a problem of their own. The community has already responded to them with Nouveau.

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384727)

Why should the Linux community take the burden to design, maintain and upgrade a "stable API for drivers" only to bend to the desire of a company that by their own admission doesn't care about Linux?

Because this is a problem for ALL drivers and every other OS does the correct way. Why should hardware manufactures take the burden to design, maintain and upgrade drivers only to bend to the whims of the linux community?

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384835)

He should start looking at making a stable API for drivers, and draw a line in the sand to firewall GPL compliance.

There is already "a clear line in the sand".
That line has always been the ISA/PCI/AGP/PCI-E bus. Every other peripheral vendor defines the API to access the hardware. This means that if I build my own hardware I can just add a PCI-E bus and write my own code to use those peripherals, even if I am using an architecture that the vendor havent even heard of.
The problem here is that NVIDIA is doing something they consider to be "tricky" within the drivers. Perhaps they are offlaoding some of the work to the CPU or covering up some bugs by pre/post processing the data with the CPU or whatever.
Regardless they want to move the line into the operating system and this creates an artificial inertia in the development process. Basically NVIDIA asks Linus to slow down and/or restrict Linux development so that they can cheat with the peripheral development.

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#40384901)

Because the Linux community are their customers and the customer is always right.

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (4, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#40384325)

I don't need my graphics driver to necessarily be open-source. I need my graphics accelerator to function though, and it's been my experience that proper acceleration support has lagged. Simply bringing up a desktop in X is not the same as being able to navigate a 3d environment at-speed at the quality that the video card manufacturer touts. If they won't support 3d acceleration then I'm better off dusting off my old S3 Virge and buying a much more powerful microprocessor, letting the microprocessor do all of the work.

If these cards don't do 3d acceleration in my computing environment, what good are they?

And yes, I had this problem once before, with Matrox and the G450/G550 cards, back in the day. Aggravating as hell. Worse, if you were their corporate customer and asked for 3d accleration drivers they'd release them to you, but as a private consumer you had to justify the need. Apparently nothing that a noncommercial user did was considered justified. It was friggin' compiled! I wasn't even asking for source code!

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384749)

I don't need my graphics driver to necessarily be open-source. I need my graphics accelerator to function though

I don't need my printer driver to necessarily be open-source. I need my printer to function though - oh, I do need open source printer drivers for that... [oreilly.com]

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40384331)

I don't have any problems with closed source projects in general; I think there would be a lot of needed software for small industries that wouldn't get written otherwise as open source needs a huge group of knowledgeable users to work. I don't get close-sourced drivers, though. I don't get it just from the side of a open source user OR from the business side. I just underwent another struggle with closed source ATI drivers over the past couple of days in which the regular Ubuntu installer wasn't working right and neither was their downloadable installer, so I am frustrated and a little biased this morning, but I don't see what they have to hide and I don't see how it hurts them to have various people working on their own version of the driver or sending patches in. I think it's shooting their REAL userbase (i.e. the people who recommend certain hardware vendors to people who don't pay attention to such things) in the foot.

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (5, Informative)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 2 years ago | (#40384383)

As sibling said - I don't think anyone particularly cares if they write closed-source software - just open the effing API and specifications, so the community can write its own drivers for it.

Also, Nvidia is still not providing any Linux support for the one chipset that seems to be the most commonly used in laptops... go figure.

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (5, Informative)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 2 years ago | (#40384389)

No support of Optimus means that on laptops, nvidia cards are either unsupported or power hungry. NVidia made a statement saying they will never support such a feature in their linux drivers. Nouveau has repeatedly asked for the specification information of this. Note that this information is not critical at all from a strategical point of view. No answer. NVidia's message is clearly "linux users are second zone citizens and we will not help them the slightest".

Even when not thinking that everything linux should be open source, NVidia does not provide a working linux driver for its optimus cards (that is, 90% of cards sold in laptops today). With no open source solution and no closed source solution, we can simply stare as a fact that their support simply sucks.

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (5, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#40384643)

and I suppose this response from nvidia outlines why Linus is frustrated with nvidia.

the response doesn't have anything to do with the issue he complained about and the response is just about waving hands to make people look the other way, "look, we do provide drivers! we provide the same drivers on the same day!(but please don't ask us about optimus)".

(also, traditionally one reason for closed source and binary blob graphics drivers has been just plain old bullshitting and lies about what the card does on card with hw. also about selling same products for different clients for wildly different pricing).

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384773)

NVIDIA Optimus is supported in Linux, try a search with google, albeit not optimally: http://bumblebee-project.org/ . I for one will not buy another NVIDIA based laptop until it is officially supported, it has been am amazing hassle getting this to work at all.

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (2)

knuthin (2255242) | about 2 years ago | (#40384403)

...but not everybody has the opinion that everything linux related must be open source...

You're confusing Linus for RMS.

If you see the video, you'll notice that he doesn't stress as much on open source drivers than he does about how Nvidia comes in his/developer's way. If Nvidia drivers aren't of such a poor quality, and the company would be so ignorant of the drivers *while depending on his product* in such a large way, he probably wouldn't be so pissed about the whole thing.

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384559)

I have no idea why you're getting modded up for basically another emotional, inflammatory post. This has nothing to do with closed SOURCE versus open SOURCE. The point is that Nvidia's refusal to cooperate is resulting in complete NON-SUPPORT/compromised function of the Nouveau hardware under Linux.

Think more, feel less.

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384581)

I don't think Nvidia's current model is flawed to the point of being bad. I have had nothing but good luck with them under all OS's. But I think maybe Linus was off on a personal rant about how Nvidia's product could be better, how their business model could improve if they did these things. Not that not doing them is bad. Also that it would be better for the community as a whole. Linus is a techy guy, but maybe he needs to have some critical sit down and think time about his public speeches when it comes to non-kernal space stuff that he does not own, and is not in control over.

This is a big pitfall all geeks fall into, even the crusty old ones.

Open source drivers are good for some things... (4, Insightful)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | about 2 years ago | (#40384645)

Open source software in general has (among others) some practical advantages:

  1. You can keep using it as long as people are interested in doing so, even if underlying hardware or software platforms change.
  2. Any feature / improvement can be put in, when someone feels like putting in the effort.

With a closed source driver, those 2 options are thrown in the trash. This is especially important for hardware drivers, if there's no way to patch drivers to work with newer versions of an OS (or another OS), then no further driver releases basically means: "throw away your graphics card".

The net result may work fine for many people, but it tells me NVIDIA puts their roadmap before their user's roadmap(s). I read that as marketing, not user support.

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384705)

I'm pretty sure Linus doesn't really care about whether the driver is FOSS or not (he just wants to make sure it's freely available to those who want it), but he is concerned that it doesn't play well with kernel updates, with the result that often updating your kernel will break nvidia's driver, as opposed to 90% of all the other proprietary drivers out there (number pulled from my ass).

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384823)

The issue is not just the gpu hardware they sale, which seems to be fairly well supported, but the Tegra implementations several of which have been abandoned by the vendors and languish without opensource drivers. Tell owners of the gtab that Nvidia is "doing it right".

Re:I'd agree with them on that.. (3, Insightful)

green1 (322787) | about 2 years ago | (#40384871)

Speaking as someone who was gullible enough to think that nvidia had linux compatible hardware, and who bought an nvidia card with the specific intent of running linux. I don't care one bit whether the drivers are open source, or closed source. I just want them to WORK. something that has consistently not been the case. The open source drivers miss hardware acceleration, and various video resolutions/modes on my card, and the closed source ones often don't have the acceleration working right either, and sometimes cause X to crash.

I've learned my lesson, this is my last computer with an nvidia card in it.

I don't care how you support linux, but if you claim to offer support, it should be every bit as good as the support you offer to any other operating system you support. If this isn't the case, then it should be noted, clearly, on the same table that brags about that support in the first place. I was sold my current card under false pretenses, based on lies on nvidia's website. I won't make that mistake again.

Cannot open drivers source (3, Interesting)

Parker Lewis (999165) | about 2 years ago | (#40384267)

Most common excuse for don't open the source for drivers is IP. But most part of times, the real reason is users will see there is no difference in hardware between standard and platinum cards.

Re:Cannot open drivers source (2)

Joehonkie (665142) | about 2 years ago | (#40384405)

I'm not sure what a "platinum" card is, but if you want to pretend the hardware differences between number of shader units and clockspeeds and amount of RAM on different cards will suddenly go away if you use open source drivers, be my guest. Unless you want to talk about overclocking of different cards with the same number of shader units, etc. which is something that people can already easily do.

Re:Cannot open drivers source (5, Informative)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | about 2 years ago | (#40384503)

I think he means that there is no real difference between a Quadro GPU and the consumer GeForce GPU, only a PCI ID and some limits in the firmware.

Re:Cannot open drivers source (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 2 years ago | (#40384621)

You mean someone could make a driver that makes my Quadro actually approach the performance of a GeForce in games?

Re:Cannot open drivers source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384845)

It's hard to say. It's probable that Nvidia uses some sort of code signing, and the only someone who can do that is Nvidia (or someone with the full specs and keys.) But yeah, your Quadro could easily be the same as a GeForce.

Re:Cannot open drivers source (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#40384407)

My understanding (though I'm not involved with hardware manufacture) is that batches of chips that pass quality control perfectly are labeled as the highest level, and chips with a few minor defects get labeled as inferior, so their driver never tries using that damaged part of the chip. Anybody else looking at the chipsees they're the same, and since it's done in batches it's common for perfect chips to be marketed lower than what they can actually do.

I say this only as passing on what I've heard. Perhaps someone more in-the-know can confirm or deny?

Re:Cannot open drivers source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384493)

You do realize that the whatsit where the defect is doesn't actually work, right? So that there are, in fact, fewer whatsits than on a die with no defects?

Small number of bins of numbers of defects (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40384811)

it's common for perfect chips to be marketed lower than what they can actually do.

You do realize that the whatsit where the defect is doesn't actually work, right?

For one thing, perfect chips get marked as defective if there aren't enough defective chips to meet the demand for low-end hardware. For another, there are probably only a small number of bins of numbers of defects. If there are models with 48, 64, and 96 working whatsits, and 63 of them work, it'll be sold as a 48, and drivers won't be able to use 15 of the working whatsits.

Re:Cannot open drivers source (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 2 years ago | (#40384731)

Yeah, you can pay 50 bucks for the low end chip. You can mess around with overclocking and poking other parts of it. You might get lucky and have something that works. That's fine and all if your goal is to tinker and gamble. Personally, I'm buying a video card to render stuff according to my needs. I fail to see the logic in risking my $50 and time to potentially get a card that doesn't fit my needs when i could just spend $200 and be up and running.

Re:Cannot open drivers source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384879)

That's true, but it's also true that some companies sell identical hardware with identical QA and disable features in software.

Often in the case you're talking about they'll actually burn the features that didn't pass QA off the chip so that it is physically different.

Re:Cannot open drivers source (4, Interesting)

am 2k (217885) | about 2 years ago | (#40384467)

Most common excuse for don't open the source for drivers is IP. But most part of times, the real reason is users will see there is no difference in hardware between standard and platinum cards.

Well, there's one that's not visible in software: The RAM is tested to be less error-prone. If one pixel in a game isn't correct for 1/60 of a second, it doesn't matter. However, it does matter (potentially literally making the difference between life and death) when your CUDA calculation returns incorrect values.

Re:Cannot open drivers source (2)

seanzig (834642) | about 2 years ago | (#40384687)

I think people are more skeptical of NVidia's IP reasoning than they have a right to be. Yes, I'd love more open drivers like Nouveau that actually performed well, and I'd like to not have to run NVidia's special installer every time I upgrade the kernel. Yet, I can easily conceive of situations where seeing driver source code might reveal something about the underlying hardware. It's probably a moot point in 6 months after a new card is released, when the cat is out of the bag on the hardware tweaks and everyone else has adopted it also or came up with an alternative solution. But this is a competitive industry, and I can understand how NVidia would be extra protective of their latest designs for the very short time that they are novel and superior. NVidia has some sharp people - I've known at least a couple of them. They know what open source is, what the advantages would be (free help, for one), and they consistently choose closed source.

Most people (at least in the hardware sales business) already know that there isn't a difference between their standard and platinum cards, except the support. The platinum cards are intended for server systems. NVidia is charging for the need to replace cards if they overheat from having batches of them installed in some rack. Sure, they don't say that outright, probably so some unknowing gamers will buy them anyway, but most people can find this out by doing some basic research online.

Diplomatic response (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384305)

They should have blasted him for not having a consistent set of APIs and changing things, often for little benefit, which break binary compatibility and make supporting Linux in all it's variants a mighty task.

Sure, Linus made Linux and uses it to push his agenda (i.e. that of FOSS), but when Commercial software houses struggle to keep up with the changes, I don't think he should be blaming them. Instead he should look more at what Linux can do to help non-FOSS software exist on the platform without needing a full time 10 man team just to keep up with the ports.

Re:Diplomatic response (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40384413)

Sure, Linus made Linux and uses it to push his agenda (i.e. that of FOSS)

No, Linus uses FOSS to push Linux, not the other way around.

Re:Diplomatic response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384579)

How?

Re:Diplomatic response (5, Informative)

higuita (129722) | about 2 years ago | (#40384681)

Apps have a stable API, so non-FOSS software can work fine with linux...

now DRIVERS have to comply with the kernel API, that might not be stable over time and can change... hardware builders should integrate their drivers in the kernel tree or suffer the pain of outside development. Its their choice, having to work together with the community and have the pain for legal process and code cleanup (not all trash is accepted in the kernel) is harder in the beginning, but will pay off for everyone (users, developers and company) on the long run... or play dumb and keep the closed driver and keep updating it when things change.

Releasing the hardware papers will allow the community to develop their drivers without the company have to work much, so between open source drivers, papers or close source drivers, the company have a lot to choose.

Most companies choose the first or at every least, release some papers or demo driver. They are seen as heros.
Nvidia is one of the few that choose closed sources drivers and so earns the hate of many users and the kernel developers.

Again, its their choice. Also, its the user choice to buy their cards or not.
i personally prefer open drivers and stability over better performance and locked in over on my own machine. other might have other opinions.

finally Linus dont have a hidden agenda, he cares only about the kernel and closed source drivers make very hard to almost impossible to debug problems. He choose GPL as a license as it protect his work from being abused by others. Linus didnt even wanted to migrate to GPL V3, so is clearly dont have a hidden agenda.
Again, if NVIDIA dont like the kernel license, they can choose to work only with *BSD kernels.

Hobson's choice (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40384895)

Also, its the user choice to buy their cards or not.

What other choice is there for 3D graphics on a laptop, apart from Intel whose performance is perpetually 6 to 10 years behind?

Summary (0, Flamebait)

backslashdot (95548) | about 2 years ago | (#40384309)

1. We are not going make any changes.
2. Fuck Linux, fuck being open.

Re:Summary (1)

Bongoots (795869) | about 2 years ago | (#40384369)

3. PROFIT!

Re:Summary (2, Informative)

Matje (183300) | about 2 years ago | (#40384463)

what!? Did you even read their statement?

3) We are a very active participant in the ARM Linux kernel. For the latest 3.4 ARM kernel – the next-gen kernel to be used on future Linux, Android, and Chrome distributions – NVIDIA ranks second in terms of total lines changed and fourth in terms of number of changesets for all employers or organizations.

(emphasis mine)

Unless you yourself are even more active in Linux then they are, it would be more appropriate for them to say to you ... Fuck You.

Re:Summary (5, Insightful)

peppepz (1311345) | about 2 years ago | (#40384685)

Yeah, you're right, who's this Linux Torvalds to judge who contributes to the Linux kernel and who doesn't.

Re:Summary (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 2 years ago | (#40384485)

1. is correct.
2. Is not. nVidia is spending time and money to write Linux drivers. They actually work pretty well. If they where going to say Fuck Linux then they wouldn't provide drivers.

Let's be honest about what the FOSS community wants. They want nVidia to keep writing the drivers and make them open source. But hey if you still want to stick with the party line of "If you provide the documentation the community will write the drivers for you" then buy AMD/ATI video cards and stop complaining about nVidia. Vote with your wallet.
AKA
2. We will do things the way we think is best if you do not like it then go somewhere else.

Re:Summary (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384597)

1. Linux should be beneath their contempt and you are lucky that they even made a driver for it.
2. You are a beggar, so shut your fucking mouth.
3. Linux is worthless rubbish.

Ha ha ha! That crazy guy Linus... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384329)

And you used to be embarrassed by Stallman. Now you people have "The Doublemint Twins, The Nerd Cut".

Re:Ha ha ha! That crazy guy Ballmer... (0)

Picass0 (147474) | about 2 years ago | (#40384537)

Let's take a user interface designed for music players and cell phones and inflict it on Desktop and Tablet users!

"nouveau" is the blank-screen-driver (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384339)

Seriously, I don't see any point in anyone supporting that piece of crap. Every NVidia card I've ever tried it on has resulted in either a blank screen, or a flickering blue screen - this goes from older NVidia cards (which should be supported by now) right up to the latest new $2000+ cards - it works on nothing. Why do distributions even bundle it? All it does is make it difficult for people with NVidia cards to get their distro up and running, because first they have to deliberately disable the nouveau driver, force the system to use bare bones vesa, add the real driver manually, and then re-configure the system to use it. Not exactly "new user friendly" there.

Seriously distro maintainers - nouveau is a chunk of crap, dump it and you'll be making your distro easier to use for a lot of people. Even if you have NVidia cards all get sent to the low-res vesa driver by default, at least they'll be able to see things on their screens.

I'd settle for a checkbox during setup (1)

Picass0 (147474) | about 2 years ago | (#40384455)

"Nvidia compatible hardware accelerator detected. Enable Nouveau?" Yes No

Re:"nouveau" is the blank-screen-driver (1)

armanox (826486) | about 2 years ago | (#40384939)

Umm...What?

I haven't had any issues* with nouveau. If you need a compatitbility list, I've used it with a GT210, GT240, 9800GT, 6200, 7150, Quadro FX 1800, and currently a GTX 460 (can't recall if I ever used it with a Geforce 3). Usually I use Red Hat or Fedora, but I've not had issues with my cards when I've used Gentoo, Ubuntu, Debian or Slackware either.

*I preferred the nvidia driver when gaming under Linux, it provided much better 3D preformance. But, that was several years ago I must admit (Neverwinter Nights was the main game I was playing at the time).

This story starts more than a decade ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384347)

This story starts more than a decade ago. There was a hugely popular software vendor concerned that maybe one day people might choose to not use their software. They had vast sums of money and controlled access to the immediate future for software and hardware vendors alike. Foreseeing a potential difficult future they chose to defend themselves in a particular way. They formed subsidiaries they controlled and gave them patents, and filled them with developers skilled in the finer (and secret) nuances of how to interact with their software, and they kept them informed with advance knowledge of how it would work in the future. These subsidiaries approached hardware designers with a simple message: they would accept the patented technologies and use them; they would let the subsidiaries write the drivers that had special hooks into the software; they would do this under non-disclosure and never tell - or they wouldn't. If they accepted they would not be able to publish open specifications about how their own hardware worked because that would be exclusively cross-licensed with the subsidiaries in exchange for access to the patents. The hardware makers who wouldn't play along wouldn't get as good compatibility with the big company's software, nor inclusion in their distribution CD and OEM images. The refusers would be plagued with difficult installation, buggy drivers and unhappy customers and fail in the market. The software would change in ways the refusers could not predict, but the accepters could. Some accepted, and some refused. Those who accepted survived, those who refused mostly died. This has continued to the present day and as the hardware has evolved the agreements persist in ways that are now not removable. Nobody involved in Linux wants hardware manufacturers to write the device drivers for them. They only want open and clear specifications for how the hardware works so they can make their own drivers. They aren't going to get that from NVidia, nor ATI, nor any others whose technology is intertwined with this compromise from yesteryear. This boon is now beyond their ability to grant without starting again from the beginning. Source [slashdot.org]

Re:This story starts more than a decade ago (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384497)

One must be mindful that these offers were all carrot and no stick. The developers came with a plausible story: we have experience and insight into the big company's software, as many of us came from there. We know how to pass validation. We have the inside track to getting on the CD, and can speed your way to market. We can use our secret ways to optimize it because we have special insight we can't share even with you. All we ask (other than pay) is that the interfaces become private between us. We will help you develop your hardware so that the hardware interfaces presented are optimal for interfacing with the software, and we don't want to share that work with others for no pay, which is fair, right? They had good stuff to offer too: the benefits of some deep research into compositing that the hardware vendors couln't get some other way - but it always came with this catch. And it seemed like such a little catch at the time since there were no credible challengers to the big company's ware. And it seemed quite reasonable to work together and not share with outsiders. But the devil is in the details.

Only rarely would the stick come out, in reference to some other company: "oh, that seems to be a smart way to think. So-and-so thought so." So-and-so being a dead company who failed to come around to the "right" way of thinking. The threat implied was never stated outright.

Later, when hardware vendors want more, they get more committed. Implement that new hardware feature in the OS game engine rendering interface? Sure.. but there's more cost than just money. Want the standard user interface to leverage high-end blurring, transparency and shadow features... sure.. but how that works has to remain private between us. That requires a specially committed level of partnership. Along the way there were more patents to incorporate and license, and a stronger bond to build until the hardware manufacturer is committed to the big vendor's software and none other - in a way they can't be free of even if they want to be. These aren't just patents and copyrights: they're trade secrets too, and those are immortal. Each is as much to blame as the other, as they used each other to mutual advantage. There's enough dirt in there to get mud all over everybody and nobody wants that.

Every now and then some PFY trying to implement a feature for X will call up the hardware vendor hoping for some help. "So I've got some app in the debugger, and I can see it load a texture in the buffer and trigger the interrupt that submits it to your hardware. But there are mode-setting things in here that have been deserialized and I can't see which one goes first, or the right grammar for the call so when it doesn't crash it looks like crap. Throw me a bone. Feed me just a tiny little hint please, I'm dying here." These calls used to be fielded by actual developers who might be conflicted and want to say the easy truth but would instead give the same bored answer every time: "sorry, but that's a trade secret." And never would they say the big secret: "and it's not our trade secret so we'll never be able to answer these questions." Now it's probably handled by some flunky in Bangalore who couldn't give the right answer if he wanted to. It might as well be a recording - but they still want to pretend that they care.

This is all in the desktop and laptop arena of course. Servers are different. The big software company didn't have tyranny over server vendors like they did over desktops. Servers had to support Unix at first, and then Novell, and then Linux - to the point where no server company could survive or even be taken seriously with servers that could only run the big company's software - though they did try, notably with Broadcom network chipsets. The special features of the software/hardware interface just weren't as important in servers. Now in servers we have virtualization and the danger is pretty much passed. For some years when people wanted to run desktop software that was not based on the big company's ware they bought tower servers instead of desktops because those were always fine and had rocking performance as well - though the price was high. This happened so much that server vendors came up with "workstation" designs that were essentially servers designed to be used as desktops. This server thing was always one of two final doors that the big company failed to close that could have made their dominion permanent. The other open door was at the other end of performance and completely blindsided them.

Now we're having a grand migration to mobile, and a huge part of that is just a desire to escape the big company's ware, or have the progress we've been denied for so long. Grown large and complacent, the big company doesn't offer progress as well as they once did - they're more in the defensive mode now of preventing progress they don't control. So progress comes in avenues they don't control like servers and more recently, mobile. The mobile migration has come on so fast and caught them so off guard that they are unable to establish their dominance and manage progress they don't control - and that's mostly Apple's doing. Android has now leveraged this craving for progress, but they're crowding through a door Apple opened. We are dangerously close to once more being free of the big company's control. If we can hang in there for another year or two, we will get the Grand Change we've long been hoping for.

But there is much work to be redone from scratch still, many hardware vendors still entrapped and committed to the big company and unwilling or unable to escape. Freedom is by no means certain. For once though, there is hope.

Source [slashdot.org]

This is a tough call... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384375)

This is a tough call. We want/need this hardware, and the software is tightly coupled with it.
I've installed nVidia's driver on many Linux architectures and haven't had any problem with their
certified drivers. I think nVidia will benefit by open-sourcing their driver, and eventually they will,
but they've no complaints from me.

I can understand how releasing the source could expose them at the hardware level and be copied by somebody.
But, their properitary driver works very well and I'm not sure with just the source, I could improve on it.

"consistent" experience? (4, Interesting)

DdJ (10790) | about 2 years ago | (#40384379)

They're saying "providing a consistent GPU experience across multiple platforms for all of our customers continues to be one of our key goals".

So, my interpretation of that is:

"If we released the drivers as open source, then people might figure out how to optimize and tune the Linux drivers. This could result in a better GPU experience on Linux than under Windows. That would embarrass us. To ensure a consistent experience across platforms, we therefore must prevent others from tinkering with the drivers, which mandates closed source."

Does anyone else read it that way?

Re:"consistent" experience? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384449)

No the "Consistent Experience" statement is just PR bullshit.

If providing a "consistent experience" was a true goal of the company they would be implementing Optimus on Linux.

Re:"consistent" experience? (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 2 years ago | (#40384475)

I did not, however, it makes sense. They also don't want to show you all of the software voodoo they have in the driver that runs on your CPU, but should be running on your video card

Re:"consistent" experience? (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | about 2 years ago | (#40384693)

Considering that the NVidia drivers consistently hard-freeze the machine and force either a remote "ssh sudo reboot" (if you're lucky) or a complete reset - I'm not sure I really want their "consistent experience."

Seriously, it's been my experience that more often than not the Linux NVidia drivers crash after running for a day or so, leaving you with a completely non-responsive desktop. I had to revert to Nouveau, which gives me a functional machine with no pretty graphics.

This has been my experience with the Linux NVidia driver for years across multiple machines and cards, for probably the past decade or so.

So, no, I'm not sure they're worried about Linux speed exceeding Windows speed. I'd say they're more worried about people making Linux drivers that actually fucking work when they've proven themselves completely incapable of doing so.

Re:"consistent" experience? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384755)

Does anyone else read it that way?

I read it as, "People will find out about all the shit we throw into our drivers to cheat in benchmarks. Also, nyah nyah, what are you going to to, go and buy an AMD card about it? Please."

Re:"consistent" experience? (1)

BeansBaxter (918704) | about 2 years ago | (#40384777)

Interesting. It just sounded to me like they said go buy AMD Video cards. Solved my problems with Nvidia drivers.

It Is Positive (5, Insightful)

assertation (1255714) | about 2 years ago | (#40384387)

It is positive sign that they care enough about the Linux community to bother to have their PR department give the usual empty corporate zero content response.

Re:It Is Positive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384625)

We only have support because the vfx industry is centered around linux. That's fine and I don't think anyone is ungrateful but NVidia could still do more. I have a couple of aging workstations running integrated intel graphics having decided open source drivers are important... I'd much sooner buy CUDA supporting cards with my upgrade but I'm not swallowing "the blob".

There's no sense of entitlement with me, individuals and companies are free to make their own deals with the world.

Re:It Is Positive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384767)

Next time I buy a notebook it will be . . . one without Nvidea graphic card ... or a Mac (have to look up what's in there) . . .

Re:It Is Positive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384857)

So is it positive because is zero? I guess I'm math outdated.

They get results (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384395)

I don't know what it is like to deal with NVIDIA directly in a company/developer relationship, but I will say they have been very good about supporting Linux and BSD for years. Yes it's through binary blobs, but in my experience they have been _working_, _effective_ binary blobs. Purists might not like it, but I've had better luck running NVIDIA cards on my Linux and BSD machines than any other. Heck, NVIDIA's binary drivers often work better for me than Intel's open source drivers. Linus might not like how they do business, but as long as NVIDIA keeps doing what they're doing I intend to keep buying their hardware.

Linus missed the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384417)

Linus should be sending Nvidia chocolates and flowers on the anniversary of Nvidia first Linux driver release. 3D / hardware acceleration on Linux was in a terrible state for a very long time. Open source drivers were going almost nowhere, and there was a very small number of cards on the market with "proper" support. Even if Nvidia opened up their full design so people could design open soruce drivers, those drivers would still be way behind where Nvidia is. Nvidia closed source drivers are certainly much easier to use and far more effective than the alternative for people that *gasp* want to use their PC and not make a statement about open source issues. I know a few people who only switched over to Linux (for good) after they got an Nvidia card and would be properly supported.

IN OTHER WORDS US MOFOS ARE TOO STUPID !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384445)

We can't handle the driver !!

We can't handle the driver !!

Linus summed it up best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384447)

"@#%& you NVIDIA!"

Nvidia has said this all along.. (2, Informative)

Severus Snape (2376318) | about 2 years ago | (#40384457)

90% of the code used in the Linux driver is shared with the Windows driver, that was a claim made by one of their developers on their forums I read a year or so ago. Open sourcing the code is out of the question as all of that code isn't just from internal employees, as getting everyone who has written lines of code to agree to their code being available under a open source licence would be a huge task. Documentation would be great, there's the issue of IP though there. To be fair to Nvidia, they actively support Linux, I've used their cards for years and have never had much of an issue, in the old days, it was just a matter of shutting X11 and running their installer, it built the kernel module and you were good to go. Nowadays every distro I've used has the packages ready out of the box. I think Linus pain comes simply from running pre release kernels and expecting them to be supported before their even released! Nvidia normally provide patches in these situations anyway so I don't understand what Linus really wants them to do.

Re:Nvidia has said this all along.. (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#40384697)

nope.. this is particularly about optimus for which they're not giving specs(switching between using integrated and a discrete gpu).

also the nvidia answer dodges that _totally_.

Re:Nvidia has said this all along.. (0)

rrohbeck (944847) | about 2 years ago | (#40384853)

Replying to undo moderation mouso...

Re:Nvidia has said this all along.. (5, Informative)

Joehonkie (665142) | about 2 years ago | (#40384737)

He wants working Optimus on laptops. He was kinda clear about that.

Re:Nvidia has said this all along.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384849)

He wants open specs not their source code. So there might be an optimus driver for linux (and other systems). There is a difference between the hardware specs and the open sourcing the existing driver.

Re:Nvidia has said this all along.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384891)

They could write their drivers in such a way that they aren't version-locked. Plenty of other companies do it, so why not Nvidia?

Open Source community lacks professionalism (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384461)

This is why Linux will never be taken seriously.... The open source community as a whole lacks professionalism. The rant, which basically says that nVidia driver support was a pain and in the end result the drivers are not to par with Windows AND they are BLOBS. It is a childish rant coming from an old man in a professional environment.

People only buy nVidia GPUs to play games on them and it just so happens that 99% of the PC games are run off Windows, hence nVidia would happily support that platform. As for Linux... gaming on it is still in its infancy. nVidia has to spend real money (because time = money) to develop those drivers, of course they are going to release them as BLOBs, which is the root of the rant is coming from.

Hence the linux community lacks professionalism. Obviously nVidia and Linux developers can coordinate, but it's like having a down syndrom kid work with someone with aspergers - problems in communication will be abound.

Re:Open Source community lacks professionalism (2)

Adaeniel (1315637) | about 2 years ago | (#40384725)

People only buy nVidia GPUs to play games on them

That's not true at all.

Disappointing response (5, Interesting)

peppepz (1311345) | about 2 years ago | (#40384469)

Basically they're confirming Linus' words, not denying them. Linus never said that they don't make good drivers. He said that they suck at doing open source, which is an objective truth. Their response is that they do that because they don't want to invest resources to specifically support Linux. Which is exactly what Linus was upset about.

It is about Tegra (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384561)

The reason why you don't see a lot of android devices is that driver updates from nvidia is really bad. A lot of andriod phones are stuck at 2.2/2.3 because the old drivers won't run on the new kernel. Nvidia isn't really interested in releasing updated drivers for these old chips. If you want ICS drivers, get tegra3.

Wayland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384571)

If Nvidia wants their drivers to work with Wayland, they'll have to cooperate, since Wayland requires KMS to work. If Nvidia choose not to support Wayland, they'll lose customers.

lol.. consistency (5, Insightful)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 2 years ago | (#40384575)

I haven't had an NVIDIA driver work the same in Linux as it does in windows. Ever. Random screen blanking (nouveau driver), weird X errors (poly request too large or internal Xlib length error) and re-compiles every time there is a system kernel update. In comparison, all you need to do in Windows to get the NVIDIA driver working is hold down the enter key with a stapler while it's installing. Accept all the defaults. reboot. it's working.

At "the end of the day" this is not consistency, it's crapsistency.

I used to agree (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40384599)

These days I have a GTX460 and I get tearing all the damn time. I have turned off compositing, I have turned it on, I have switched to xfce I have tried gnome3.

I hear the Open driver would fix this. If you can't even stop the tearing, then let someone else write your drivers.

Re:I used to agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384669)

This is because the Nvidia driver supplies bogus refresh rate values to xrandr. The only way I've found to fix it completely is to disable compositing, and enable vsync and page flipping in nvidia-settings. XFCE works great, but it has its own compositor you must disable.

Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384601)

Nvidia has surely wronged here, the angry hippie want's them to give THEIR source code for FREE. Nothing wrong with that eh?

I don't get it. It's their code, let them do whatever they wish with it, they paid money for making it.

Vote with your wallet and go by Amd chips, stop griefing over stupid things.

nVidia are not the worst (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384677)

ATI/AMD are the pathetic ones with the perpetually broken drivers, nVidia, with it's common platform and easy update (1 ring to rule them all) are not the worst by any means. Support nVidia.

I Have Already Purchased The Card!!! (1)

zenlessyank (748553) | about 2 years ago | (#40384743)

Since the purchase has been made, then NVidia has made their money. Since NVidia has already decided to write drivers for Linux, it only stands to reason that that NVidia is getting paid by another OS manufacturer to NOT open the API's or source code for optimizations, which is what I think several other posters have stated in so many words. And if I remember correctly, what is good for the goose, is good for the gander, so I would imagine that AMD/ATI is also getting paid, hence the same deal from both companies. Money talks, bullshit gets 2D.

Linus needs to look in the mirror (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40384795)

Since I am a FreeBSD user this problem also occurs with...gasp...linux! As in companies and developers only support Linux versions of their software. I still build it myself when I can anyway. For instance I had to jump in with my own custom changes and make Bitcoin-QT build in qtcreator under FreeBSD 9.0 because it didn't "just work". So did I yell at the BitCoin devs for this or Nokia claiming they make the single worst IDE in the planet? Not really- in fact how I felt was that with all the advances with Linux its just so fragmented and the efforts behind it are so aloof and out for profit that they are now worse than microsoft and almost as bad as apple. Old age has made Linus very ornery and when it comes down to it kids its all about money. I would rather be able to "actually" compile everything from source than get linux binaries when a project is unable to be cross-compatible due to the "unholy mess" Linus has created. Time to get a new spokesman- when I read this I could have mistaken Linus for Ballmer there.

The community failed on ATi (3, Insightful)

ndtechnologies (814381) | about 2 years ago | (#40384821)

So ATi opens up, and the community COMPLETELY failed to deliver a usable solution. WTH should Nvidia care? The FOSS community has already shown that they can't do it. Mod me down if you want, but I speak the truth. We failed. As long as Nvidia continues to provide a driver that works, and works well (which it does), then I will always use Nvidia cards.

"Consistent Experience" (1)

TechieRefugee (2105386) | about 2 years ago | (#40384843)

Yeah, sure, I guess they're right on that. Nvidia drivers have crashed my (now long gone) install of Vista and forced me to reinstall Linux Mint two times because both available proprietary drivers crashed the GUI, leaving me no access to my OS. Oh well, at least I didn't have much on there anyways.
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