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  • NVIDIA Denies Opening Up Its Driver

    Phoronix: NVIDIA Denies Opening Up Its Driver

    Yesterday we reported on the Linux Foundation's message they have issued on the behalf of more than 140 kernel developers: Binary-only kernel modules are harmful and undesirable. While no vendor was singled out in this message, the biggest hardware manufacturer that has yet to provide any real level of open-source support is NVIDIA Corporation. Over the past few months, however, we've received word from our sources that NVIDIA may be planning an open-source strategy...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=NjU0NQ

  • #2
    I'd donate money to fund a third party army of reverse engineers.

    Buy a bunch of people a recent nvidia card, have them produce public domain docs of every transistor down to the HDCP implementation..
    get nvidia's high end cards blacklisted by windows vista for any and all secure high definition media playback...

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ethana2 View Post
      I'd donate money to fund a third party army of reverse engineers.

      Buy a bunch of people a recent nvidia card, have them produce public domain docs of every transistor down to the HDCP implementation..
      get nvidia's high end cards blacklisted by windows vista for any and all secure high definition media playback...
      if you know of such an effort, a sort of dedicated warfare against nvidia, please please let me know, ill happily support it

      Comment


      • #4
        Sorry but I dont think some of the sentiments in that article are entirely realistic, or for that matter even close... Sounds like propaganda against the kernel developers to me. How would properly and completely supporting an open driver cause workstation users to pack up and move to another OS? Really? I would like to try and understand the logic behind that.

        I would like to try and steer clear of subjective ideologies, and instead stick with facts. Fact 1: The only limitations to the open drivers are the ones that ATi artificially imposes. Fact 2: It is only the artificially imposed limitations that would prevent workstation users from adopting open drivers.

        Seems pretty cut and dry to me. If properly and completely supported, an open driver can and will be better then any closed driver could possibly be. Ever. How would a stable and functional open driver, drive workstation users away? Seriously, I'd like to try and understand the logic behind this reasoning.
        Last edited by duby229; 06-24-2008, 03:05 PM.

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        • #5
          It wouldn't be a war against nvidia so much as it'd be an effort to remind them that they're /hardware/ vendors, and they should keep it that way.

          I think it's worth it for every linux user with an nvidia card to pay the cost of the card as donation to such an effort, because a gpu is only as good as its drivers....

          I'm getting an Ubuntu Dell w/ nVidia GeForce 8400m GS soon (no ati option), so for me, such a donation would be around $150.

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          • #6
            well.. it SHOULD be warfare, they deserve it..

            But again, if you hear of some effort, please inform me

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            • #7
              Redeeman: we don't want to completely alienate the company while there's still some hope of them coming around.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ethana2 View Post
                Redeeman: we don't want to completely alienate the company while there's still some hope of them coming around.
                Not with the 4870 just around the corner... Wait till you see what that thing can do. Hahaha , but on the warfare part, I'd give it a little more time. Just a little more, but not much.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ethana2 View Post
                  Redeeman: we don't want to completely alienate the company while there's still some hope of them coming around.
                  nvidia has had plenty of chances, if i had the means, i'd gladly invalidate hdcp capability of all current nvidia products, thats not nearly as big a punishment as they deserve.

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                  • #10
                    Theirs is what used to be the mindset of everyone, even ati and intel at some point in the past-- i would attribute their problems to obselete thinking rather than malevolence. If they really hated us we'de have no drivers at all.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by duby229 View Post
                      I would like to try and steer clear of subjective ideologies, and instead stick with facts. Fact 1: The only limitations to the open drivers are the ones that ATi artificially imposes. Fact 2: It is only the artificially imposed limitations that would prevent workstation users from adopting open drivers.
                      Wasn't this an article about the other guys ? How did ATI get involved ?

                      Originally posted by duby229 View Post
                      Seems pretty cut and dry to me. If properly and completely supported, an open driver can and will be better then any closed driver could possibly be. Ever.
                      Open drivers can be better if the same development resources (or more) are poured into them. That's where it gets complicated.

                      Workstation customers make purchasing decisions based on proprietary software features and performance, which HW vendors spend a ton of money developing and don't want to give away to their competitors. The existence of open source drivers is not the issue, it's the implicit "and then we'll ban closed source drivers" that would be a problem for workstation customers.

                      Workstation seems to be an exception to the typical user base, since the "Linux workstation market" is really the old "Unix workstation market", which didn't have a problem with closed source drivers.

                      Originally posted by duby229 View Post
                      How would a stable and functional open driver, drive workstation users away? Seriously, I'd like to try and understand the logic behind this reasoning.
                      This is easy. Linux workstation customers expect feature and performance parity with Windows, which means either the same development cost for 1/10th the market size or sharing code between the OSes. Practically speaking, that means the Linux workstation drivers are going to share a lot of code with drivers from other OSes, which in turn means that "opening up the drivers" puts your competitive edge at risk in all OSes not just Linux.

                      We adopted a two driver strategy because we felt that workstation absolutely needed a closed source solution (because of the market pull for parity with Windows and the competitive challenges that brings) while most other Linux users could be satisfied with an open source stack that had all the important functionality but not the proprietary features or performance work which feeds the workstation market.

                      Our workstation customers felt that it would be handy to have an open source driver which could be swapped in to confirm that a kernel problem was in no way related to the binary graphics driver, but every one I spoke with (including both ATI and NVidia customers) said that what they cared about was performance and stability on a standard commercial OS distribution (typically RHEL or SLES/SLED), not open-ness or ability to work across arbitrary distros.
                      Last edited by bridgman; 06-24-2008, 03:45 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                        We adopted a two driver strategy because we felt that workstation absolutely needed a closed source solution (because of the market pull for parity with Windows and the competitive challenges that brings) while most other Linux users could be satisfied with an open source stack that had all the important functionality but not the proprietary features or performance work which feeds the workstation market.

                        Our workstation customers felt that it would be handy to have an open source driver which could be swapped in to confirm that a kernel problem was in no way related to the binary graphics driver, but every one I spoke with (including both ATI and NVidia customers) said that what they cared about was performance and stability on a standard commercial OS distribution (typically RHEL or SLES/SLED), not open-ness or ability to work across arbitrary distros.
                        Well.. as long as the free ati driver gets fullfeatured opengl, xv, and reasonable performance, i dont care at all what stuff amd does with their binary stuff.. and the same would be true for nvidia, not that i EVER plan to again purchase an nvidia product given that the AMD commitment holds.

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                        • #13
                          I'm fine with binary drivers, but what irritates me is they are slow when it comes to fixing things.
                          New nvidia graphic card series have terrible performances under 2d desktop and they are just telling us - we'll fix this in near future. But when will this near future come (some bugs are 1+ year old!)? There are also a lot of other unfixed things that needs to be worked out, but it seems they don't care much. I'll go with AMD next time when I'm buying a graphic card.

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                          • #14
                            If the performance of the open source AMD drivers will be at least 75%, which is still some great work to do, then I think most people (home users) will use them over the proprietary one in the future as Xv and other important features should be avaible, too. With the AMD open source plan, I would have guessed that nVidia really has to do the same to continue selling cards for the non-Windows market, but it seems that they believe in something different...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                              Wasn't this an article about the other guys ? How did ATI get involved ?
                              Substitute ATi for nVidia. Same difference really. The argument that Michael was going for applies both ways.

                              Open drivers can be better if the same development resources (or more) are poured into them. That's where it gets complicated.

                              Workstation customers make purchasing decisions based on proprietary software features and performance, which HW vendors spend a ton of money developing and don't want to give away to their competitors. The existence of open source drivers is not the issue, it's the implicit "and then we'll ban closed source drivers" that would be a problem for workstation customers.

                              Workstation seems to be an exception to the typical user base, since the "Linux workstation market" is really the old "Unix workstation market", which didn't have a problem with closed source drivers.
                              I'd like to see some hard facts to back up these claims. How about a double blind test in a cube farm with software developers. Or maybe a farm of say... transcriptionists. Possibly a farm of... telemarketers. Ooohh and... Medical billers...

                              The only two areas of potential concern is Graphics and Video. Graphics is easy. The fact is that graphics designers should be developing 100% opengl compliant products to begin with, which an open driver will be able to provide wonderfully. The only other issue is video and that has been hashed and rehashed too many times already.

                              This is easy. Linux workstation customers expect feature and performance parity with Windows, which means either the same development cost for 1/10th the market size or sharing code between the OSes. Practically speaking, that means the Linux workstation drivers are going to share a lot of code with drivers from other OSes, which in turn means that "opening up the drivers" puts your competitive edge at risk in all OSes not just Linux.
                              I disagree hardily. I disagree about as much as one can disagree. First of all your already putting the efforts needed into an open driver. Once you've dropped the closed driver your costs will go down. Not up. Second of all, the community is already developing an open driver with the documentation that you've already released. All you have to do is support that effort alone. Or you could do as I have previously suggested and re-allocate existing resources. Instead of paying people to develop the closed drivers, pay those same people to teach a new generation how to develop graphics drivers. Instead of wasting time and money on a futile short term effort that will ultimately fail, invest it into the future.

                              We adopted a two driver strategy because we felt that workstation absolutely needed a closed source solution (because of the market pull for parity with Windows and the competitive challenges that brings) while most other Linux users could be satisfied with an open source stack that had all the important functionality but not the proprietary features or performance work which feeds the workstation market.

                              Our workstation customers felt that it would be handy to have an open source driver which could be swapped in to confirm that a kernel problem was in no way related to the binary graphics driver, but every one I spoke with (including both ATI and NVidia customers) said that what they cared about was performance and stability on a standard commercial OS distribution (typically RHEL or SLES/SLED), not open-ness or ability to work across arbitrary distros.
                              The only thing I can say here is that most folks dont actually know what is --best-- for them. Do a double blind study to confirm. The scientific method actually does work.

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