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Thread: NVIDIA Wants To Be A Better Linux Patron

  1. #101
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    If we all get behind 'my' idea, then that's what they have to do to please us. Then if they don't? It's no damage controll for them and they're done for. That's how it's done.

    And if that would mean having to implement a new hardware design, it's in nVidia's interest to tell us that and keep us informed. We could then even (since the stack is open already (Gdev+PathScale+nVidia compiler(they open sourced it!))) implement a 'software Mesa' on top of it.

    Calm down and get it together guys.

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnc View Post
    You can't discriminately lock out only the nvidia blob just because you don't like nvidia. You'd have to lock all blobs out or risk a lawsuit.
    Yes, the whole banning 'proprietary blobs' is just nonsense, although it's not as if there's alot of them left. The way the devs are handling it now is just fine, they've announced their displeasure with binary blobs and the practical reasons behind it, they refuse to make it easy for binary blobs to work with the kernel and they go out of their way to make it as beneficial as possible to have your drivers as open source within the kernel tree.

    If some companies still find that they want to retain the control over how and where people who bought hardware from them use that hardware and thus refuse to open either specs or (better yet) provide an open source driver then so be it, they will have to carry the burden of keeping a working driver out-of-tree.

    As for those who seem so adamant to jump to NVidia's defence because -'they provide the best 3d drivers for the Linux desktop', again realize that the reason NVidia bothers to bring drivers to Linux has absolutely nothing to do with them giving a crap about the Linux desktop, they are catering for Linux high usage in 3D/SFX/scientific/industry etc where there are strong buyers interested in utilizing GPU's for high performance visuals and GPU based calculations.

    However given that those Linux sectors are only getting stronger those of you currently using NVidia proprietary drivers on the Linux desktop have nothing to worry about, Torvalds and the rest of the Linux kernel devs could call NVidia 'terrorists' and they still wouldn't stop producing their proprietary Linux drivers.

    On the other hand if you want to use NVidia tech which is particularly desktop/laptop oriented (optimus) then you are out of luck because that's not where NVidia's big Linux customers are and again they couldn't give a rats ass about the Linux desktop end users.

  3. #103
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    Exactly. If nVidia wants to do everything in their power not to be able to benifit from the free software market, then let them. If they lose the 1% extra income that could make or break their quarterly finance reports, let them screw themselves.

    In the event that nVidia realy does want to be a free software patron, lets help them. If it turns out to be a case of "actualy we don't care", then let them lose Android and Linux desktop customers permanently to AMD and Intel.

    If nVidia realy can't go the Gdev route, then they can call their license contact and tell them "if we can't open up x part of y documentation, we loose money and are forced to not license from you again, so give us the ability to open up or you'll lose a big licensing customer. Don't think you are able to knock on door at AMD or Intel". Simple. Then change/add some part of a future hardware design if needed.

    In the end it's all about money. Don't satisfy your customers? You'll lose. China is the biggest example of failure.

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnc View Post
    You can't discriminately lock out only the nvidia blob just because you don't like nvidia. You'd have to lock all blobs out or risk a lawsuit.
    Then lock out all blobs out of the kernel ... leave only firmware binaries (firmware runs on the card, it isn't part of the kernel). Easy peasy. UEFI secure boot will soon do this anyway.

    BTW, you truncated the post you quoted. It actually finished like this:

    I think it would be far better and cheaper for Nvidia and everyone if they just released specifications so that Linux developers could write their own drivers. Is this really too much to ask?
    Why did you leave out the critical question at the end? Why is it too much to ask for programming specifications? Why on earth shouldn't nvidia release programming specifications if it wants to profit from selling a hardware subsystem that can be used as part of Linux machines?

    "Linux machines" is now a market that is worth trillions. I'm not talking about only the desktop market, but rather the entire computing hardware market, into which nvidia could conceivably sell graphics hardware. Linux is a dominant player in this wider market.

    If nvidia want to be a part of it, and profit from it, why shouldn't it be a requirement that nvidia releases programming specifications?

    We can make it so. It can very easily be done. Lets do so, I say.

  5. #105
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    If they don't satisfy us, that would be an excellent plan B.

    Who are they going to sue? Thousands op GPL contributors? Lols. And if nVidia can do what it wants, how can't we? It'll just be another middlefinger, but from the a much larger crowd.

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by V!NCENT View Post
    If they don't satisfy us, that would be an excellent plan B.

    Who are they going to sue? Thousands op GPL contributors? Lols. And if nVidia can do what it wants, how can't we? It'll just be another middlefinger, but from the a much larger crowd.
    Here is another plan ... ignore nvidia, and also ignore machines with UEFI secure boot designed for Windows 8.

    Just run Ubuntu on new machines such as the Mele A1000 or the MK802 micro-PC.

    http://liliputing.com/2012/03/mele-a...-based-pc.html



    Powered by a 1 GHz Allwinner A10 ARM Cortex-A8 processor, the Mele A1000 should be noticeably faster than the Raspberry Pi, which has a 700 MHz ARM11 chip.

    While the Mele A1000 is described as a TV box, it’s basically a little ARM-based computer with HDMI, VGA, USB, and Ethernet ports, as well as support for an external SATA hard drive.

    Now for the most interesting part (if you happen to be a free software enthusiast): The folks at Rhombus Tech have been working on a free and open source platform based around the Allwinner A10 chip.

    The project is entirely GPL compliant, and the goal is to work with a Chinese company to produce a PCMCIA-sized computer which is capable of running Linux-based software without any proprietary, closed source drivers. Rhombus Tech hopes the platform can be used in all sorts of devices including tablets, notebooks, desktop PCs, and in-car systems. Theoretically the price could be as low as $15 per unit… assuming an order size of 100,000. Right now the cost is higher.

    But thanks to the efforts of the folks at Rhombus Tech, developers have access to all the drivers needed to make use of any device with the Allwinner A10 processor, and that includes the Mele A1000.
    A fully-fleged desktop PC, with full desktop software, (less monitor and keyboard) for $70 per seat.

    Here is another:

    http://www.pcworld.com/businesscente...s_just_74.html



    Featuring a single-core 1.5GHz AllWinner A10 Cortex A8 ARM processor, Android 4.0, 512MB of DDR3 high-capacity memory, and WiFi connectivity, the MK802 is now available on Aliexpress for $74 including free shipping to the United States via China Post.

    With a MALI400 graphics processing unit, the device from Chinese brand rikomagic features 4GB Flash storage, a microSD slot, and two USB ports: one full-sized and one micro, according to CNXSoft. Video output is via 1080p HDMI--an HDMI cable needs to be added separately--and users can tap either an Android virtual keyboard or add a wireless mouse and keyboard.

    Perhaps best of all is that users can run Ubuntu, Debian, or another Linux distribution of their choice via microSD card.
    These $70 micro PCs both use the AllWinner A10 Cortex A8 ARM processor with the MALI400 GPU. They both use minimal power yet have enough grunt to run desktop software and decode and render 1080p video.

    A company with generic office-type IT needs can potentially set up their entire IT infrastructure based on this type of hardware at perhaps only 5% of the cost-per-seat of a Windows 8 solution. Maintenance? Pffft ... if a box breaks, get a new one ... here, have a spare as well. OS corrupted? Here, plug in this new SD card.

    http://www.calligra-suite.org/
    http://www.netrunner-os.com/features/

    Very nice desktop software. Excellent.

    This solution would also be ideal in an educational setting.
    Last edited by hal2k1; 06-27-2012 at 09:17 AM.

  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by hal2k1 View Post
    Here is another plan ... ignore nvidia, and also ignore machines with UEFI secure boot designed for Windows 8.

    Just run Ubuntu on new machines such as the Mele A1000 or the MK802 micro-PC.
    On a 1 GHz single-core CPU?

    I want at least quad-core and 8 gb RAM as bare minimum. Preferably better.

  8. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by hal2k1 View Post
    Then lock out all blobs out of the kernel ... leave only firmware binaries (firmware runs on the card, it isn't part of the kernel).
    Well that's where we are right now, the kernel devs have marked large parts of the driver structure symbols as GPL-ONLY meaning that proprietary drivers can't link to them and thus not take advantage of the features they provide (noticeable already two seconds into the boot sequence as NVidia proprietary drivers can't make use of kernel modesetting for example). Also any non-GPL compatible kernel module loaded is automatically flagged as 'tainted' which in practice means that any bugreport encountered containing this flag is generally not investigated as the kernel devs have no interest in trying to debug against a black box.

    Quote Originally Posted by hal2k1 View Post
    Here is another plan ... ignore nvidia,
    Done, once I upgrade from my current machines, those two with NVidia cards will mark the end of my use of NVidia tech, perhaps also the end of my use of discrete GPU's alltogether given the rapid development of IGP (gpu on cpu) technology.

  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by uid313 View Post
    On a 1 GHz single-core CPU?
    This will run Netrunner (Ubuntu derivative) comfortably. One of the machines has a 1.5 Ghz CPU. This will run Netrunner very comfortably. Skype even. 1080p video.

    Not all users are power users. For mundane office or educational desktop usage, this machine is perfectly adequate. The killer feature is that you can have twenty or thirty for the price of a single Windows 8 machine with equivalent desktop software capability. Kit out the entire class of students for the price of just one Windows 8 machine. No licence hassles whatsoever. No viruses are written to attack this platform ... absolutely none. Extreme low price means throwaway hardware which in turn means no need for expensive maintenance. Ultra low power usage. Unbeatable.

    http://www.calligra-suite.org/
    http://www.netrunner-os.com/features/

    Very nice desktop software. Excellent.
    Last edited by hal2k1; 06-27-2012 at 10:12 AM.

  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by hal2k1 View Post
    BTW, you truncated the post you quoted. It actually finished like this:

    Why did you leave out the critical question at the end? Why is it too much to ask for programming specifications?
    To be fair, what I quoted was what was posted at the time. The poster afterwards went back and edited his post and added in that question amongst other things. There was no ill will intended on my part.

    And to answer your question... I don't know. I don't know that any of us truly knows. I think there's an underlying assumption that releasing such documentation is easy and cheap. It might be... it might not be. It's hard to know for sure without being inside the company and having all of the information. It could be something as simple as their API is so embarrassing that they don't want anyone to know about it. (srs) But I'm assuming that NVIDIA is a rational company motivated by rational reasoning.

    It could be that they're working on something now... and don't intend to promise anything publicly until they can follow through. Look how long it took to open source Solaris, even after everyone from the CEO down to the janitor and everyone in between was on board with the idea... it still took forever to navigate through the sea of legal nightmares. In theory, opening up specs would be far less resource-intensive... but you still have all the legal shenanigans that you have to walk through. And lawyers are much more expensive than programmers. (You could probably contract 4 programmers for every 1 lawyer.)

    But again... what is the end game? What does opening up the specs get us? A better nouveau? Ok... a better nouveau is nice... and the kernel devs would be all smiles. But for an overwhelming majority of us NVIDIA end-customers, a better nouveau doesn't help us. So NVIDIA would spend resources that ultimately would make kernel devs happier, extend an olive branch to the open source community, but in the end won't at all help those of us who forked over hundreds+ to buy their product. How is that fair to us? What do the kernel devs intend to do to make Linux work better with binary blobs, for those of us who require them?
    Last edited by johnc; 06-27-2012 at 11:13 AM.

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