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Hardware Linux

NVIDIA Is Joining the Linux Foundation 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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NVIDIA Is Joining the Linux Foundation

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

  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @08:34PM (#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.

  • by Maltheus ( 248271 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @08:35PM (#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.

  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @08:39PM (#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 RocketRabbit ( 830691 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @09:31PM (#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!

  • Nokia, Sony (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Xtifr ( 1323 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @10:19PM (#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 Entropius ( 188861 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:30PM (#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.)

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.