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NVIDIA Wants To Be A Better Linux Patron

NVIDIA

Published on 24 June 2012 03:12 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA
116 Comments

It's been an interesting week for NVIDIA with Torvalds speaking quite negatively of NVIDIA, NVIDIA PR's fluffy response, and their recent loss of a huge order due to not having an open-source driver / MIPS port. However, NVIDIA Linux engineers are hoping to be better Linux patrons.

As was shown earlier this week on the Linux kernel summit mailing list, Stephen Warren of NVIDIA is even willing to discuss at the August event how NVIDIA can better engage with the Linux development community. His main points:
Within the constraints I have, what should I and perhaps other NVIDIA employees be contributing to in the kernel? In a Google+ comment, Linus noted that we have mainly been contributing patches for Tegra SoC infra-structure details. I'm curious what other areas people might expect me/NVIDIA to contribute to. I assume the issue is mainly the lack of open support for the graphics-related parts of our HW, but perhaps there's some expectation that we'd also start helping out some core area of the kernel too? Would that kind of thing help our image even if we didn't open up our HW?
And:
Are there any new/novel ideas I could take back to NVIDIA to help persuade any kind of opening up? I'd be happy to feed anything interesting up the chain.
As I've written in previous articles, it's not that the NVIDIA Linux engineers are secret Windows fans who really hate open-source and Linux or anything along those lines, but rather they're doing their best but are effectively bound by upper-management and other factions at NVIDIA. All of the NVIDIA Linux engineers I've communicated with over the years have really been doing their best to support Linux.

NVIDIA's binary Linux graphics driver is top-notch, their team also supports the shared FreeBSD and Solaris drivers, the Tegra Linux support is great, VDPAU is an open API, and NVIDIA Linux engineers occasionally submit upstream X.Org patches against the xorg-server, RandR, etc.

NVIDIA's Linux engineers have even bought graphics cards themselves to send over for Linux reviews at Phoronix. NVIDIA PR has had no interest in seeing Linux reviews on their products, etc. They've just played games with me for years and never delivered.

Anyhow, from Warren's request, does anyone have any novel ways to get NVIDIA to "open up" or better engage with Linux?

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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