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NVIDIA Responds To Linus Torvalds 497

Posted by timothy
from the you-can-actually-get-a-degree-in-pr dept.
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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NVIDIA Responds To Linus Torvalds

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @09:34AM (#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.

    • by Picass0 (147474) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @09:40AM (#40384275) Homepage Journal

      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.

      • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @10:00AM (#40384565)

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

        • by sqldr (838964) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @10:58AM (#40385321)

          I've read the specs for AMD. It's mostly just a list of registers and what numbers to dump into them to control it. It's hardly giving away how it works.

          As an offtopic, there's over 500 of the bloody things. I sort of glazed over when I saw it. The people writing drivers with no support are doing a grand (but probably quite fun) job.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by DCFusor (1763438)
            You must not be much of a reverse engineer. That tells you just what can be controlled in hardware - which jobs are hardware and which software, and that tradeoff, as well as the division of labour between the GPU and system CPU is the big deal.

            Plus, with all this closed stuff, who knows, or can know, what software/hardware patents might be getting cheated? What stuff that's just trade secrets (but good stuff) needs to be kept secret?

            Yes, it would sure be nice if NVidia could give us more support - I'm

            • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968.gmail@com> on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @01:07PM (#40387171) Journal

              This would be an argument IF Nvidia and AMD were doing things even closely to the same way, but they are not and haven't been for several years now. Nvidia has always used the classical "Build a big ass bad ass chip, then cut it down for the mainstream and budget markets" while AMD is using the "Build a mainstream chip and then add more chips to ramp UP to the high end" which is a completely different approach and one knowing how the other did X or Y frankly i doubt would help much as their designs are just too different. hell just look at the specs of any two roughly equal Nvidia and AMD chips, Nvidia has fewer but much more powerful cores while AMD has hundreds of weaker cores working in concert.

              so I really don't see how knowing how one does X or Y really is gonna do shit. After all they could always reverse engineer the hardware or write a custom kernel to look at what is going on if they were THAT curious and it certainly didn't seem to bother AMD to open up THEIR specs, most likely because as i said their designs and Nvidia's are just too radically different for one to be copying the other. I mean how long as AMD been using the X2s for the high end now? 5 years? 6? it wouldn't make any sense to suddenly change their designs just because Nvidia opened their specs, not to mention it would mean basically tossing their designs and roadmap, it just wouldn't make sense.

      • by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @10:00AM (#40384569) Homepage

        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.

        • by higuita (129722)

          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)

        • by DrXym (126579) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @10:26AM (#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.

          • by toejam13 (958243) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @12:00PM (#40386251)

            Every time the kernel changes, the video driver must be updated.

            I see that as a problem with the kernel developers, not the video driver developers.

            I've read elsewhere that developers from Nvidia are frustrated over the volatility of the Linux kernel interface to the graphics subsystem. It changes frequently and often with little advanced notification. You don't hear that complaint about Windows, MacOS or FreeBSD.

            Perhaps your ire is aimed at the wrong group.

          • by houghi (78078)

            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.

            True for many distro's. Not so for openSUSE. I just add the NVidia repo and be done with it.

        • I don't know.... Right now, I think both AMD and nVidia have pretty good handles on how to produce graphics boards consumers think are worthwhile. They could start copying every single innovation that each other formerly had as "company secrets", to the point where both brands of board performed absolutely identically in benchmark tests -- and STILL, I suspect they'd both sell about the same number of boards as before.

          The real problem is, the marketplace has consolidated so much, you really only have these

      • by Latent Heat (558884) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @10:10AM (#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?

        • by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @10:28AM (#40384915) Homepage

          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).

          • by Lonewolf666 (259450) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @10:55AM (#40385285)

            Getting a bit off topic, but I don't see the conflict between Federal law and state law.

            By not providing the codes (including decryption codes for encrypted onboard electronics) the auto manufactures would be violating state law. Instead of trying to crack the encryption, auto mechanics could sue them. No DMCA violation necessary there.

          • by MarkGriz (520778) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @11:01AM (#40385385)

            Good luck selling your cars in a state where you don't comply with state law.

            Do you think car manufacturers don't have to meet California's tougher emissions standards because Federal law trumps state law?

        • 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.

        • by Belial6 (794905)

          and I guess do-it-yourself people

          I am not a do-it-yourselfer when it comes to repairing cars. I am however aware of just how many mechanics will rip you off, and on more than one occasion caught a mechanic breaking things so that they can later fix it. I want access to my error codes so that when I can know that the engine light came on because the gas cap is loose or a fuse blew out before I get to the mechanic who tells me that the on board computer needs replacing at $1000.

      • by DrDitto (962751)
        nVidia device drivers have the complexity of an entire operating system (yes, seriously). Much of the functionality and competitive advantage comes from the software drivers.
      • My NVIDIA experience has vastly improved when Nouveau started supporting my chipset. Thank you Nouveau guys!

        Finally, Flash does not crash any more (apparently 2 closed-source apps are too many).

      • by multi io (640409)

        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.

        The way they probably see it, the hardware-independent graphics API layer (DirectX/OpenGL) is the "spec", and the stack that they offer, including the hardware, hardware-software interface, and the driver, is their "implementation" of that spec. So the hardware-software interface (which Linus wants them to publish) is sort of an implementation detail, which they may want to change without notice.

    • by kanto (1851816) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @09:42AM (#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: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

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

        • by peppepz (1311345)
          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

          • The fact that we have a binary blob driver of such high quality (compared to the ATI experience)-- and have for recorded history-- indicates that they DO care about linux.

    • by TWX (665546) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @09:44AM (#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!
    • 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

    • by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @09:47AM (#40384383) Journal

      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.

      • by Andy Dodd (701)

        In addition, despite their claims of supporting Linux on ARM, their Tegra open source support is piss-poor compared to TI's OMAP4 support.

        Their mainline cpuidle support is still shit. They also have not published any TRM whatsoever for the chip, unlike TI who provides a comprehensive OMAP4 TRM.

        Hell - they're so diverged from mainline that products running ICS are still running 2.6.39 kernels unlike 3.0.8 which is the official standard for Android devices running ICS.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @09:47AM (#40384389) Journal
      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.
      • by gl4ss (559668) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @10:07AM (#40384643) Homepage Journal

        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).

    • by knuthin (2255242)

      ...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.

    • by Alwin Henseler (640539) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @10:07AM (#40384645) Homepage

      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.

    • by green1 (322787) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @10:24AM (#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.

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      I think this is BS. I don't recall Linux ever saying that "everything linux related must be open source", in fact I think he's pretty pragmatic about the whole thing and has nothing against proprietary software running on top of Linux. You're thinking of RMS, who wants all software to be open source and under the GPL license; Linus and RMS are very different.

      What Linus does think, however, is that all kernel-space drivers in Linux should be part of the kernel. That's a very different issue than proprieta

  • by Parker Lewis (999165) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @09:37AM (#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.
    • by Joehonkie (665142)
      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.
    • by Sarten-X (1102295)

      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

      • 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.
    • by am 2k (217885) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @09:53AM (#40384467) Homepage

      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.

    • by seanzig (834642)

      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

  • Diplomatic response (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    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 needin

    • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @09:49AM (#40384413) Journal

      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.

    • by higuita (129722) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @10:10AM (#40384681) Homepage

      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.

      • 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?

  • by DdJ (10790) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @09:47AM (#40384379) Homepage Journal

    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?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @09:51AM (#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.

    • 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
    • by _xeno_ (155264)

      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 t

  • It Is Positive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by assertation (1255714) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @09:47AM (#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.

  • by Severus Snape (2376318) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @09:52AM (#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.
  • by peppepz (1311345) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @09:53AM (#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.
  • lol.. consistency (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @10:00AM (#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 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @10:02AM (#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.

  • by ndtechnologies (814381) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @10:21AM (#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.
    • by cockroach2 (117475) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @10:36AM (#40385003) Homepage

      Huh? The radeon driver is pretty damn good these days.

    • by Andy Dodd (701)

      If you actually bothered to read his complants, they were directed at Optimus (almost completely unsupported in Linux) and Tegra (Nvidia is making a shit-ton of money off of Linux and not being cooperative. Their PR bullshit about contributing to Linux is inconsistent with the reality of the code. They might have had the most changes from 3.3 to 3.4 - but that's probably because their shit was in the worst state to begin with. Even in 3.4, looking at their codebase it's woefully incomplete in mainline, f

    • by ratboy666 (104074) <fred_weigel@@@hotmail...com> on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @11:45AM (#40386031) Homepage Journal

      The AMD community supports all (11 now?) chip types, over all (4 now?) generations of Radeon released (since 2000).

      KMS (kernel mode setting) and other features of the Linux graphics stack are supported over all hardware, including TV out, and other features.

      3D is a work in progress. Yes, it's been almost five years, but the features do work.

      I would say that, objectively, the open source drivers have been a success. I would even say that the open source drivers are arguably superior to the closed ones. Work continues (especially in the 3D area). Does the proprietary driver support stuff like multi-seat?

      Of course, you claim that it doesn't work at all, and that the effort has been for nought. Please clarify. Bug reports would probably be welcome (not sure, but check x.org, freedesktop.org).

      At the least, please post your hardware information, so that other people will know to avoid it.

  • by rraylion (1406761) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @11:04AM (#40385431)

    Everyone is upset NVIDIA doesn't give away all it's secrets. There hard earned property. that they built. Why not go the more open route and create one set of driver standards for video cards. VESA -- everyone knows the standard and its up to the manufacturer to optimize their side and on the consumer side you get what you asked for.

    This is actually a battle over special features -- my hardware can do some pretty sweet stuff, but I wanna control how you can access that stuff. the concept from above still applies, but there is no incentive for the hardware designer to devote resources (people and the salaries they have to pay those people) to help you bang out that new framework.

    I love open source, but it's built on peoples free time. Companies have to justify how something makes them money. Saying this will build product sales in a 10% market share is not enough. So come halfway and get the framework done and they will optimize their side. This is the best of both world I get a product and they stay behind their doors, but it's a blackbox I can use.

  • by bored (40072) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @11:06AM (#40385467)

    They all think there is secret sauce in their product with some genuine trade secret level information.

    In reality, having seen the secret sauce from a 3rd party perspective a few times, it turns out that often times the competitor is doing it basically the same way. So the only people being hurt by not publishing the hardware specifications (as was the normal state of things until the late 1990's) are the hackers and budding engineers trying to make the product better in some way.

    In the case of graphics companies, it seems they are somewhat justified for not releasing the source to the proprietary drivers, as that is such a huge part of their performance work (aka sometimes the games aren't faster because the hardware is faster, they are faster because the driver is using a better algorithm, or has more micro optimization). Not releasing the hardware specs is just silly, because at this point, a big portion of the graphics chips are understood well enough that releasing information on mode setting or shader setup is more like filling in the details, rather than giving away any secrets.

    The Optimus stuff is a prime example, its basically just going to be information on enabling/disabling parts of the chip or setting power envelops for certain functions. The real secret sauce is how to use that information. I have a similar issue with my little NAS box at home based on a guru plug. Marvell claims to be open source friendly, and gives away specifications that look good until you actually try to do something like power down an unused sata port. Then your SOL without the NDA, because knowing the register which controls the power gating is some kind of secret....

    Mostly, what is being hidden is the fact that the emperor has no cloths.

  • Both Sides are Wrong (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Plekto (1018050) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @12:17PM (#40386507)

    First off, Nvidia are buttheads. They are. But they also have a right to make money. Apple, EA games, Sony, Intel, and on an on - they all operate this way, as does 99% of business. Where Nvidia is wrong is, well, where can I go out and pay $5 or $10 for a driver from them that works? You see, part of it is that the companies say that they offer a proprietary driver but I can't actually go out and BUY it from them or obtain it from them.

    But this brings up the other side of the dirty coin, as it were. That the Linux (in particular) community seems to have a major issue with paying for anything. I have zero issue with paying small fees. I do it all the time. I pay for my sandwich at lunch, my gas in my car, and well, pretty much everything in life. I just want a solution and to move on to the dozen other things that that I have to do during my day. So there's this great divide. They often don't even deal with issues or fix things at all, because it requires paying "the man" or using their code. ie - if it's not free and 100% open-source, we won't touch it at all.

    It's just as bad as Windows. They have effectively decided that you're SOL and stuck with their vision of 100% free or it's impossible to obtain view of their OS (which while open-source, is controlled on most Distros by a group of whingey, anal buttheads that might as well be CEOs at a typical software company, since they control the project with an iron fist) And this filters down to the forums and "help" groups that are as useful as a wet rag most of the time. Yes, the people mean well, but it's always "just install this". Without any explanation or documentation. Instead of mentioning the exact codecs you need to buy, they just will say "there is no package for that". No link - it's this attitude that if it's not 100% free, we don't even mention it or link to it.

    This idiocy is most apparent with "projects" like Wine. There has been a long-standing mouse driver issue that never gets discussed, fixed, or worked on. Because the code to make it work, is proprietary and there is no work-around (requires paying Microsoft a small fee, and their code is the only way to make it work properly). Cedega had a version of the driver that worked. Cedega went out of business, and as an end-user, stuff just stopped working a few months ago. The mouse driver(among other things like sound drivers and so on) and is effectively locked away as it's Cedega's proprietary (and legally protected) code. Wine won't release it.(yes, these are the same people) The official response over at Wine is "there is no fix". There is an actual fix, but they refuse to release it or make it available for a small fee.

    They whine about everything having to be open-source to the point of acting like it's a holy war, and yet when there's money involved, the same people don't act any different than Nvidia.

    Me, I just want to pay my fee and get on with my life.

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears

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