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NVIDIA Loses Huge GPU Order Due To Linux Blob

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  • #16
    Originally posted by johnc View Post
    Second, what kind of a MORON would actually release source code to a Chinese "company"? lol. WhyTF do people think NVIDIA refuses to open any of their tech to begin with? They're not worried about IBM here.
    This "company" is a government institution doing main R&D for the Chinese science & defense departments, builds many of China's supercomputers (which they use HyperTransport for—something AMD designed with input from Cray), provides hardware to the Chinese military, and has been using AMD chipsets & IGPs for a couple of years, at least.

    And AMD has the radeon driver, which might be enough for most intended purposes.

    I'd say the most interesting part of that article is that they considered switching to Nvidia...
    Last edited by JanC; 06-22-2012, 07:57 PM.

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    • #17
      hmmm big fail for nvidia... i guess, i do own a nvidia gfx card and i'm pretty much happy about it. with this 10 million deal AMD will get things changed, hope fully the OSS drivers could be in parity feature/support with the closed source windows drivers. though i'm gona stick with my current gfx card for now until i see that AMD gets its oss drivers, as i said previously, in parity with its win-drivers

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      • #18
        What surprises me is nobody yet has paid attention to why this company is doing this. Think about it, these are ARM and MIPS processors that are likely using pci-e 16x based GPUs. First of all, I'm not aware of any processors of those kinds doing such a thing, but I don't see it likely that this company is also doing 1 GPU per CPU - I'm guessing they're going to look into Crossfire. This strategy makes sense, because x86 processors are a little overkill if you're just trying to use GPUs for massively parallel tasks.

        On a side note, it is absolutely fantastic that AMD is getting this attention - they need the revenue and not only will AMD use this money to supply more open source driver developers (they're obligated to at this point) but maybe this company will also help make contributions. I guess the bad news is these driver changes are likely only going to focus on openCL and the likes, not so much graphics.

        As for comments about there not being radeon driver for ARM or MIPS, why do you think these companies wanted the open source in the first place? If nvidia supplied an ARM based binary of their current blob driver, then I'm sure this company wouldn't have been so quick to dismiss them. The only thing that really confuses me is why didn't they just use the nouveau driver if they care about open source so much? Although that driver doesn't have dedicated support, its still better overall.

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        • #19
          I think people are missing the point

          Quite a few people here seem to be making the assumption that the Chinese chose AMD because they have open source drivers (to be fair, this is what Michael's article says). Having actually read the original article...

          http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news...-and-nres.aspx

          ... it seems that AMD is giving the Chinese access to the source code of their proprietary driver, presumably under NDA, which they will then port to the Longsoon architecture, and, I assume, keep closed.

          I'm not sure this is a win for open source at all. It *does* seem to be a win for "the customer is always right" when that customer has a lot of money, which presumably most corporations already realise. Except possibly Nvidia, if the original article is to be believed.

          I would like to be wrong about this, and have it demonstrated that this large GPU order was due to the existence of an open driver, but right now I don't see it.

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          • #20
            So much for the argument that there is no good financial reasons to open source your drivers.

            If there's one thing I think AMD does better than its competitors (Intel and nVidia), it is the attempt to offer the industry what it wants. They left AMD64 open, and basically laid down the framework for efficient and cheap multi-CPU x86 computing with the HT link. Those 2 things alone helped stand the market on its ear and fundamentally changed Intel for the better. Itanium just didn't seem like a positive future, no matter how many billions went into it.
            Last edited by MonkeyPaw; 06-22-2012, 09:44 PM.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by MonkeyPaw View Post
              So much for the argument that there is no good financial reasons to open source your drivers.
              Indeed. This is exactly what we always wanted to become clear(er): No open source support and no hardware info = bad business decision.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by baffledmollusc View Post
                ... it seems that AMD is giving the Chinese access to the source code of their proprietary driver
                The article mentions neither the word "proprietary" nor "open". Why do you think your interpretation of the article is correct?

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by marek View Post
                  The article mentions neither the word "proprietary" nor "open". Why do you think your interpretation of the article is correct?
                  You're right, the article isn't clear. That's just what I infer.

                  First we have

                  A rumor appeared from the heart of Beijing that due to the performance of its GPU architecture and its Linux drivers, NVIDIA was approached by one of the leading Chinese CPU teams to use an NV GPU in a pilot school PC project.
                  Presumably this refers to Nvidia's binary driver. Then we have

                  To cut the story short, the NV team appeared there, and in very arrogant manner told the Chinese side that they are a large US corporation, and that recompiling the Linux drivers would cost the Chinese a lot of money.
                  Again, presumably talking about recompiling Nvidia's proprietary code. So we have the situation where the customer wants code compiled for their new architecture, but is quite happy if that code is proprietary.

                  Then we have

                  With NVIDIA back in Santa Clara, California and Southern China, there was no doubt as to who the Chinese would call next. The other GPU vendor, while having mediocre Linux drivers, at least did not make any fuss over source code access.
                  My interpretation of this is that AMD is offering source code access to fglrx. The reason I think this is that a) the Chinese didn't seem to care if the code they got was proprietary, b) "mediocre Linux drivers" almost certainly refers to fglrx, and c) "fuss over source code access" would be redundant if they were talking about the open Radeon driver.

                  So, yes, perhaps they chose AMD because of open drivers, rather than AMD's willingness to give them access to their closed code. The article isn't clear; maybe the author doesn't actually know either. My reading of it, however, is that the Chinese have gained access to fglrx.

                  I'm happy to hear arguments to the contrary.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by baffledmollusc View Post
                    My interpretation of this is that AMD is offering source code access to fglrx. The reason I think this is that a) the Chinese didn't seem to care if the code they got was proprietary, b) "mediocre Linux drivers" almost certainly refers to fglrx, and c) "fuss over source code access" would be redundant if they were talking about the open Radeon driver.

                    So, yes, perhaps they chose AMD because of open drivers, rather than AMD's willingness to give them access to their closed code. The article isn't clear; maybe the author doesn't actually know either. My reading of it, however, is that the Chinese have gained access to fglrx.

                    I'm happy to hear arguments to the contrary.
                    Careful. Facts and logic don't go over easy with much of this group.

                    Lots of hate and fanboyism here to contend with.

                    Basically we have:

                    1) A source article that is mostly garbage and hearsay and says nothing of confidence.
                    2) Michael coming along and reinterpreting this article to draw his own wild-ass conclusions. (Though, in fairness, he claims another "source". But who's to know how reliable that source is?)
                    3) All the fanboys lining up in this thread to congratulate themselves for yet another proof that 100% FOSS is full of win. (Missing the point that, if the story is to be believed, NVIDIA was actually the first to be contacted, despite the fact that it's well known that they don't work with open drivers.)


                    Is it wrong to wait until there are some actual facts before drawing any conclusions? And, even if true, this "loss" to NVIDIA might not be such a loss... if they place super high value on keeping their tech close to their vests.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by baffledmollusc View Post
                      I'm happy to hear arguments to the contrary.
                      1. They use Radeon IGP in the past (I give example on page 1) and probably continue to use IGP instead or discrete in this pilot project (we talk about GPU for school, not for computing or CG rendering, remember?)
                      2. They alredy use FOSS radeon driver on boards with Radeon IGP.
                      3. I think port fglrx to MIPS is much harder than use existence FOSS driver and also pointless for weak IGP GPU.
                      Last edited by RussianNeuroMancer; 06-22-2012, 10:43 PM. Reason: typo

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by baffledmollusc View Post
                        b) "mediocre Linux drivers" almost certainly refers to fglrx, and c) "fuss over source code access" would be redundant if they were talking about the open Radeon driver.
                        "mediocre Linux drivers" almost certainly refers to the radeon open source driver. fglrx is quite comparable to the nvidia proprietary driver for linux.

                        "fuss over source code access" is not redundant if they were talking about the lack of it for the nVidia driver.

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                        • #27
                          Hopefully this will now light the fire under nVidia to at least help the nouveau team out in the same fashion as AMD did for the radeon driver. SO here's hope AMD will have the incentive to improve their blob as well as getting the FOSS radeon driver into tiptop shape

                          Good for the Chinese to be the catalyst (no pun intended)

                          Now if nvidia can port their blob to ARM then that'll be another market for them...so they should wake up now
                          Last edited by DeepDayze; 06-22-2012, 11:45 PM.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by hal2k1 View Post
                            "mediocre Linux drivers" almost certainly refers to the radeon open source driver. fglrx is quite comparable to the nvidia proprietary driver for linux.

                            No it's not. Fglrx is easily one of the worst possible drivers you could use on Linux.

                            It may look half-way decent when you are running full screen benchmarks, but in terms of actual real world use it's compatibility with applications and desktops is miserable and it's crash prone. Not to also mention that it's miserable to install.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by allquixotic View Post
                              Ten million graphics cards? I guess they don't do anything small in communist China...
                              China is capitalist. It's a pretty bad dictatorship, but still capitalist. AFAIK, there are no communist countries left on the planet right now.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                                China is capitalist. It's a pretty bad dictatorship, but still capitalist. AFAIK, there are no communist countries left on the planet right now.
                                There's way too many anti-capitalists looking at China as "the future"(in a positive way), for China to be capitalist.

                                It's still communist.

                                Sad thing is, most people don't know what communism is anymore, or why it's so dangerous.

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