Nvidia Loses 10 Million PC order in China; AMD Called In Instead
Industrial espionage by the ChiComs in a bid for source code? You be the judge. Either way, AMD wins:
Excerpt from the above URL:
"What Went Wrong?
Recently, Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux went on a tangent during a talk, gave NVIDIA the middle finger and said "Fuck You, NVIDIA." While NVIDIA attempted to mitigate the damage by releasing a story, there was a 'behind the curtain' reason why Linus was so frustrated with the company. It did not have to do with open source as much as it did with China.
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. The Linux would run on the Chinese CPU, while GeForce GPU would provide the graphics power. 'Pilot project' in this case means over 10 million PCs in one order, broken down - 100,000 schools with 100-150 PCs each. The problem was two-fold; NVIDIA never releases source code for its Linux drivers, and the binaries are only X86. Incentivized by the Chinese government, the Chinese CPU team called NVIDIA to come to China and work with them.
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. The money that Chinese CPU team and the Academy of Science were supposed to fork out was to the tune of several million dollars in incentive that are typically referred to as NRE - Non-recurring Engineering.
Our sources close to the heart of the matter said that was the end of the meeting and of the relationship. While we cannot foresee the consequences of that meeting, bear in mind that back at the day, Intel supplied Chinese government with an Itanium-based cluster that failed miserably, and the Chinese forced Intel to invest heavily in China. To this date, this was one of smartest moves Intel pulled, as they enjoy a very fruitful relationship with the Chinese government.
Epilogue - AMD Wins
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. This ended up in being part of a 10-15 million PC project. Even if selling its cheapest DirectX 11 capable GPUs, this is a revenue opportunity of at least 250-350 million dollars. Thus, if the Beijing rumor turns out to be true, this means NVIDIA destroyed a relationship with a potential long term partner, which in turn began working with AMD. All of this was caused by a couple of million dollars in NRE's on GPUs which were already paid out (let's say NVIDIA would end up selling 10 million GeForce GT 520 boards), and for a project that required drivers that NVIDIA needs to develop anyways (after all, CARMA toolkit is consisted out of ARM-powered Tegra 3 processor and a 96-core Quadro GPU)?
The real question remains, though - when will the company stockholders start demanding responsibility for a lost deal of at least quarter a billion dollars, a deal that went to NVIDIA's direct competitor - which is rapidly gaining market share?"
After that, AMD need to open a bunch of new vacancies for work on open driver (допилить по полной).
Motivation to invest in quality open-source drivers?
Just wonder, if such a "happening" is enough motivation, to seriously start investing in open-source drivers?
With the upcoming Wayland / Weston display server, which is requiring KMS, open-source drivers are required anyway.
So lets hope, that those two points get some top level managers rethink their effort regarding open-source Linux drivers.
What isn't clear to me is if the Chinese got the source to the fglrx driver or were content with the existing open source radeon drivers?
Damn just caught a GTX 570 for Cuda : renders 5 times faster than Core [email protected]
Originally Posted by Wilfred
Dummy question : how NVIDIA & AMD may protect their engineering if they fully open the source code ?
Well, they only need to open the source code for the driver necessary for using their silicon, whereas I believe the silicon source (HDL code) will still be a closely guarded secret. As they make their money on selling the silicon and giving away the driver, they should really try to make it as easy as possible for their users to use their silicon, by open sourcing the driver - that, of course, assuming they even care about other than Windows users..
Originally Posted by cyring
Although I suspect the driver code represents a significant effort as well as their silicon, it is probably reimplementing the same functionality across the different drivers and really should be much more integrated with the Operating System. GPUs are becoming much more like a computer in itself requiring memory management, scheduling, context switching etc.
Last edited by Veto; 06-23-2012 at 09:21 AM.
"Now let's hope upper-management at AMD will see the new opportunities presented by Linux and open-source so that they can ramp up their efforts... "
Well if AMD lets this slip away, then, as Linus recently said: "...they should just all kill themselves..."
What always is wrong on this discussion is the following point:
Originally Posted by cyring
We do not want nVidia to open source it's own driver. The developers only want the hardware interface specs
and some support from nVidia! The development of the drivers will be done by themselfs!
Hope this incident will force nVidia in the right direction!
No what is always wrong is that people are naive enough to believe that making specs public is enough to get very good drivers. For how long have AMD specs been available now? And how fast exactly are open source drivers against the binary blob?
Originally Posted by Sven
I'm aware of this...
I'm aware of this. But even if the free/open-source AMD drivers do not match the binary ones, they provide better hardware support.
Originally Posted by ldesnogu
And the drivers are getting better!
Of course, it's a long way to create good drivers and this takes lot of time, but why should this be a reason not to make the specs public?
Let the community decide what they make out of the specs! Even if they are not able to make a better driver, the kernel support will
getting better and the developers are satisfied... And we will not see the dirty finger again ;-)