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Linus Torvalds Calls NVIDIA The Worst Company Ever

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  • #16
    Linus never really answered the person who asked about patents. I thought Linus was against software patents...? I think that's one area where he and Richard agree?

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    • #17

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      • #18
        Remember everyone, the key words are dealt with. Nvidia is the worst company linux has dealt with because its a company that actively supports linux and does not cooperate at all. You could argue that Gigabyte is the worst, but they give so little attention to linux that isn't really a "deal" with them, they're just simply dismissive. VIA cares and is agreeable to help out linux but they just don't have the resources; that doesn't make them bad to deal with, that just makes them unreliable. AMD is sorta in the same way, I'm sure if they didn't recently support the open source drivers they would be on-par of linus' hate list because although AMD has notably crappier drivers, they aren't nearly as secretive about them. AMD also supports openCL, whereas nvidia keeps pushing CUDA.

        I'd have to agree with Michael though, I don't think I would say Nvidia is the worst company linux has dealt with, however, I can't think of anyone who is worse. Even microsoft is better - they contribute toward the kernel.

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        • #19
          Well obviously there's no love between the kernel devs and NVidia as proprietary drivers are nothing but a hassle for them, this is an ongoing saga which I think affected Linus pushing Nouveau out of staging and into mainline (obviously the great quality work by the Nouveau devs had alot to do with this aswell).

          And let's be clear, NVidia doesn't care at all for Linux, the only reason they supply a quality driver for it is because Linux is big in 3D/SFX and GPU based number crunching.

          That said, this is hardly news for NVidia so this statement by Linus means absolutely nothing in the grander scheme of things. Personally I'm happy that my increasingly meager GPU needs and the increased performance of cpu-built-in gpu's means I'll likely be able to ditch discrete graphic cards altogether with my next hardware upgrade.

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          • #20
            Well nvidia hardware on desktop systems works usally really well - at least with binary drivers. But i think Linus thinks more about Optimus support. When nvidia's own developers are not allowed to help oss developers and no specs are provided this is definitely a bad signal. Informer it was easy to recommend good hardware for Linux, but since Core i cpus are used for laptops with Optimus support that definitely changed. When you consider all pros against cons you can not buy laptops with nvidia - only when you are 100% sure that you can select the gfx chip in the bios/uefi setup. The bumblebee project is interesting but far away from being usefull for everybody. Next thing which nvidia devs could really help is the reclocking support for nouveau, other parts do not seem to be too problematic to reverse engineer but this does not work fully stable since years. With low speed firmware defaults thats even more performance critical than on ati hardware, there you have got mainly the other problem especially on laptops that the chips run way too hot/fast by default. I really think that nvidia should change their attitude a bit, the drivers for dedicated cards work really well but for the much more interesting laptop systems they really have to do something. When a new Linux user is not able to get it running the way he expects he maybe only uses Linux in a vm or not at all.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by XorEaxEax View Post
              And let's be clear, NVidia doesn't care at all for Linux, the only reason they supply a quality driver for it is because Linux is big in 3D/SFX and GPU based number crunching.
              No company has a reason to "care for Linux." What a company should care for is customer support.

              Corporate is a capitalist entity, not a charity. It's a business. I leave "care for Linux" to non-profit organizations, not to AMD or NVidia. They don't "care" for Linux or Windows or any other OS. They provide working drivers for Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and other systems not because they care for the well being of those systems, but for their customers being able to buy their hardware and use it on those platforms.

              IMO, NVidia could reply in kind with "fuck you, Linus, for trying to upset our business model." If they want to have a closed-source model, it's their damn right. This isn't North Korea where you can force others to follow your own philosophies. If Linux can't accommodate such models (no driver ABI), it's a Linux shortcoming, not an NVidia one.
              Last edited by RealNC; 06-17-2012, 12:03 PM.

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              • #22
                Isn't the proof in the pudding? Nvidia is said to be better than ATI on linux, isn't it?

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                • #23
                  at the end of the video he says "i don't care if i offend people because people who get offended should be offended"

                  that should proboboly end up in a few high school quotes.

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                  • #24
                    what i don't understand is how it comes to that radeon and noveau drivers are on par (at least from my point of view) why isn't radeon driver much better than noveau?

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                      No company has a reason to "care for Linux."
                      Certainly they have if they invest alot into Linux, of course we then have to define what we mean by 'care'. IBM plowing 1 billion into Linux means they see their future with Linux, NVidia keeping an up-to-date proprietary driver means they have customers who demand it.

                      Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                      What a company should care for is customer support.
                      Yes, but what people should realize is that NVidia doesn't give a shit about the Linux desktop or the Linux gamers. They are not the customers they are supporting.

                      Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                      IMO, NVidia could reply in kind with "fuck you, Linus, for trying to upset our business model."
                      Yes they could, and it would make about as much difference as when Linus says it.

                      Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                      This isn't North Korea where you can force others to follow your own philosophies.
                      And this isn't North Korea where people can't speak their minds, which is exactly what Linus did, how is expressing his opinion on NVidia suddenly 'forcing them' to do something?

                      Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                      If Linux can't accommodate such models (no driver ABI), it's a Linux shortcoming, not an NVidia one.
                      Linux can accomodate a stable driver ABI, but the devs don't want to. They want drivers in-tree so that they can easily locate and hopefully fix bugs, and in return they make modify those drivers to reflect changes and enhancements in the overall driver infrastructure. This also means that Linux can offer by far the best hardware support out of the box for by far the largest amount of architectures out there, architectures were it's extremely unlikely they would enjoy anything near the hardware support they have through Linux should they have to rely on the goodwill of the actual hardware vendors to supply binary drivers.

                      This policy has led to a huge amount of hardware companies either supplying/cooperating on open source drivers or atleast providing the necessary documentation, again resulting in Linux supporting more hardware out of the box than any other system.

                      NVidia is one of the few holdouts, instead choosing to maintain an out-of-tree proprietary driver which is an option for anyone who won't provide an open source driver/documentation.

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                      • #26
                        When it comes to Linux support, it all depends on the definition of "support".

                        NVIDIA is like the guy who gives out free meals each day.
                        While it looks and tastes fantastic, you don't know what's in it.
                        It may be poisoned one day or it might happen that the guy will never turn up again.

                        AMD, on the other hand, shares dry bread but also gives you a piece of land
                        and some tools to grow your own stuff.

                        IMHO AMD is significantly more in line with the "idea" of Linux.
                        NVIDIA surely isn't, so I would agree with Torvalds.

                        p.s. Yeah, "Worst example of the day award" is mine.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by XorEaxEax View Post
                          Linux can accomodate a stable driver ABI, but the devs don't want to. They want drivers in-tree so that they can easily locate and hopefully fix bugs, and in return they make modify those drivers to reflect changes and enhancements in the overall driver infrastructure. This also means that Linux can offer by far the best hardware support out of the box for by far the largest amount of architectures out there, architectures were it's extremely unlikely they would enjoy anything near the hardware support they have through Linux should they have to rely on the goodwill of the actual hardware vendors to supply binary drivers.

                          This policy has led to a huge amount of hardware companies either supplying/cooperating on open source drivers or atleast providing the necessary documentation, again resulting in Linux supporting more hardware out of the box than any other system.

                          NVidia is one of the few holdouts, instead choosing to maintain an out-of-tree proprietary driver which is an option for anyone who won't provide an open source driver/documentation.
                          This +1.

                          I do not always agree with Linus, but I must admit, seeing the outraged responses to this made my day.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by XorEaxEax View Post
                            Linux can accomodate a stable driver ABI, but the devs don't want to.
                            It can't due to politics. Argument is still valid.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                              No company has a reason to "care for Linux." What a company should care for is customer support.

                              Corporate is a capitalist entity, not a charity. It's a business. I leave "care for Linux" to non-profit organizations, not to AMD or NVidia. They don't "care" for Linux or Windows or any other OS. They provide working drivers for Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and other systems not because they care for the well being of those systems, but for their customers being able to buy their hardware and use it on those platforms.

                              IMO, NVidia could reply in kind with "fuck you, Linus, for trying to upset our business model." If they want to have a closed-source model, it's their damn right. This isn't North Korea where you can force others to follow your own philosophies. If Linux can't accommodate such models (no driver ABI), it's a Linux shortcoming, not an NVidia one.
                              Whether someone cares for Linux is a misleading question to begin with. The whole issue doesn't have to do anything with Linux per se. A more meaningful question would be whether the general public should consider it an acceptable practice for a company to sell computing devices without providing information on how to operate (read: program) them. And then it will become obvious immediately that they shouldn't. It's simply a bad bargain.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                                It can't due to politics. Argument is still valid.
                                The reasoning is based in PRACTICALITY. Binary blob drivers are a goddamn nuisance to work against since they are black boxes, you have no f***ing idea of what they are actually doing which is cause for system instability and also security. Not only can the kernel devs themselves update/modify/debug and quickly diagnose errors with in-tree drivers, it again also means that they can offer a vast driver support across ALL the architectures they support (there's more than x86) without having to rely on the goodwill of hardware vendors to supply drivers on non-mainstream systems.

                                And obviously it's paying off as more and more companies want to have their hardware supported by Linux and not having to maintain the driver themselves to prevent bit-rot while also having their hardware working out-of-the-box anywhere Linux is deployed is also a boon.

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