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Hardware Linux

NVIDIA Is Joining the Linux Foundation 113

Posted by samzenpus
from the welcome-to-the-team dept.
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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NVIDIA Is Joining the Linux Foundation

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  • by Sigvatr (1207234) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @05:50PM (#39281421)
    Hedging my bets on Apple, Microsoft and McDonalds.
    • Already announced (Score:5, Informative)

      by MrEricSir (398214) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @05:53PM (#39281463) Homepage

      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.

      • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @06:18PM (#39281779) Journal

        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?

        • by crazycheetah (1416001) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @06:33PM (#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).

          • by drcheap (1897540) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @07:52PM (#39282687) Journal

            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.

            • Nokia, Sony (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Xtifr (1323) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @09:19PM (#39283241) Homepage

              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.] :)

              • by gl4ss (559668)

                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.

              • by ilguido (1704434)

                Of course, Sony is a big company, and just because their games division seems to hate Linux

                Well, Naughty Dog, the developers of the Uncharted series, use Linux: The Technology of UNCHARTED: Drake's Fortune (.pdf, 6.6 MB) [naughtydog.com].

              • by tlhIngan (30335)

                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 t

              • by marnues (906739)
                A million dollars may be an interesting amount to us peons, but companies like Sony, Nokia, and my current employer can toss a million dollars at something just because it might be important to have an "in" at some point in the future. My company throwing money at Linux would be very odd to most people, but if my division had hired different people at the top 5 years ago, we could have been a large Linux shop. That we make consumer goods is irrelevant to our computing needs.
            • 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.

          • by ianare (1132971)

            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.

            • 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.

          • 1. RTFA.

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

          • by willaien (2494962)

            You also have Oracle

            Which has their own linux distribution.

        • 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.

          • by evilRhino (638506)
            I would imagine the opposite. They are not a software company. They make most of their money on hardware.
          • 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.

            • by Kjella (173770)

              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 AM

              • 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.

          • by LingNoi (1066278)

            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.

        • by Xtifr (1323) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @07:30PM (#39282483) Homepage

          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).

        • by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @07:34PM (#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.

        • 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?

          • by red crab (1044734)
            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.
    • by sconeu (64226)

      SCO, Unxis, and Caldera

      • by unixisc (2429386)
        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
        • by sconeu (64226)

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

  • Not for graphics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @05:53PM (#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.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @06:11PM (#39281705) Journal
      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...
      • by IMightB (533307)

        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 (Score:5, Informative)

          by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @06:41PM (#39282011) Journal
          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.
          • by dbIII (701233)
            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
        • by tlambert (566799) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @07:39PM (#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

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Fuck off then.

    • by erroneus (253617)

      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 p

  • by Anonymous Coward

    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 bil

    • by Anonymous Coward

      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...

    • by Knuckles (8964)

      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 se

  • by ThorGod (456163) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @06:14PM (#39281741) Journal

    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!

    • by IMightB (533307)

      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.

    • by neonsignal (890658) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @07:21PM (#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.

      • by dbIII (701233)
        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'

      • by Kjella (173770)

        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

  • Will ARMnix become the new Wintel?
    • by Microlith (54737)

      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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @06:21PM (#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.

  • 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 had
    • by Knuckles (8964)

      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.

      • by Dega704 (1454673)
        I do have to agree with you there. Dual monitor setups have always been a pain for me with Nvidia.
      • by dbIII (701233)
        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 could
        • by Knuckles (8964)

          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.

          • by dbIII (701233)

            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 SOMEWH

  • by RocketRabbit (830691) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @08:31PM (#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!

    • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @09:51PM (#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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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,

        • by mx+b (2078162)

          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 so

      • by pavon (30274)

        [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), I

    • 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 drive

  • ... 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.

  • by Entropius (188861) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @10:30PM (#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.)

  • The times I've heard of the Linux Foundation, it has either seemed a PR group, or actually opposed to FOSS. I'm not at all sure I should be pleased that they are getting another influential member. Remember, the name is not the thing. OTOH, I've only seen them mentioned in an occasional story, and read a few of their PR pieces. These aren't highly reliable sources.

    So what does the "Linux Foundation" do that is supportive of FOSS?

One possible reason that things aren't going according to plan is that there never was a plan in the first place.

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