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NVIDIA Wants To Be A Better Linux Patron

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  • #91
    Think about the market advantages! The board needs figures, so how about this:
    -Jumpstart into the Cloud; imagine how much the likes of Facebook can get to buy this: massive parrallel tiny operations on CUDA because of kernel acceleration;
    -Massively reduce server costs by needing less compute units (saving space, cut down on cooling, saving energy, reducing cost all over the board);
    -Improving nVidia's image means free marketing;
    -Offloading extra development costs for free to the likes of PathScale (let them sign an NDA for improving key parts, saving nVidia cost and improving PathScale income).


    • #92
      Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
      A WONDOZE user who happens to be sitting in front of a Linux computer is satisfied with the useless blob.
      A LINUX user is totally unsatisfied with dealing with bullshit 3rd party closed drivers that could very easily be SPYING on them. I dare you to PROVE that they aren't.
      For over five years I have been using Linux as my primary OS (and by primary I don't mean 60% of the time, I mean 99.999999%. I actually think the HDD in my system holding a Windows installation failed in some way quite some months ago (was making some bad noises on power up), but I wouldn't know, because I haven't looked into it let alone tried to boot it).

      I run a highly customised Arch Linux on my desktop, Debian on my server.

      This makes me a "LINUX user" no?

      "Satisfied" is an accurate enough description of my feelings about their binary blob. (Not like I'm against them open sourcing it, but I don't have any real qualms with the current situation.)

      You see the cup as half-empty because nVidia, who provide the only actual good 3D solution on Linux, don't open source their driver.
      I see the cup as half-full because nVidia, unlike ANYONE else, actually provide us with a good 3D solution for Linux.


      • #93
        To persuade nVidia's directors or board leaders that open source is good for them is it will teach new techniques how to code that in house developers are not aware of. Also the in house developers can share their programming techniques to the open source community. Of course people said that nVidia should participate with the open source projects and give out documentation of their hardware. I do not think nVidia will ever will provide documentation of their hardware because their hardware is probably controller-less. This means their GPU requires a middle-man to handle the conversion and controlling of the GPU. What can nVidia do is nVidia developers can help with graphics API in the kernel and Xorg with out compromising the secrets of their hardware. Probably if they do, Optimus does not have to be handled by a third-party project, but use a certain instruction in the kernel that a nVidia developer has a eye on to support Optimus themselves. To use that instruction in the kernel, nVidia needs to build up seniority and this means they have to participate in the open source community. Only seniority will let kernel developers respect nVidia. Supporting graphic cards through closed source or "binary blob" drivers for several years does not relate to the open source community has seniority. Lately AMD has got seniority by providing information about their hardware, so open source community respects AMD.

        CUDA and OpenCL is kinda frightening because it has once used to run malicious software, so this is another reason to keep that type of API open source. One thing that open source community has an excellence is hunting and hacking source code to minimize malicious attacks. This should be the most critical for persuading nVidia's directors or board leaders to open source their CUDA and OpenCL projects.

        Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
        What really surprises me is why some people care so much about something being open source. Lets say nvidia did open source their drivers and just completely dropped it on the community and said "here you go, have at it". considering the sheer size of these drivers, i don't know anyone in their right mind who would just go ahead and pick up on a few things there and there that the drivers don't include. seriously, even with the nouveau drivers, how many companies or just average joes actually make contributions? hell even the intel drivers, which are compared to the nvidia blob, are dauntingly gigantic for just anybody to join in.

        My point is, some people just want things to be open source just for the sake of it whether there would be any benefit to it at all, with the 1 exception of compiling the software on another platform. Maybe making little tweaks here and there to make a particular program slightly more compatible would be nice too, but 99% of people wouldn't bother doing such a thing on their own time.
        One of my points exactly in other threads that drivers like graphics is just too big for the open source community to make very, very dramatic changes to make the drivers a finished product. What nVidia does to their Linux drivers is a lot more than the open source community can do in 10 years. I am not saying that open source community is slow. It just slow because it is out sourced to many different areas in the world and it takes up to weeks for small changes to occur and to get all developers to get on the same page. Open source is great when small utilities are written, but the open source community loses its best when writing a big program. I doubt LibreOffice will equal to Microsoft Office in the next 10 years. LibreOffice lacks a lot of features to be alternative of Microsoft Office.

        Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
        From what I gather, the only thing the closed source nvidia drivers need to do is to be perfectly compatible with the kernel, X, wayland, and all other software in the same way that the open source drivers are. I haven't used the nvidia drivers in almost a year but last time I checked, they require their own kernel headers, supply their own glx libraries, and probably more I can't think of. I understand why nvidia is doing this, but for people like linus to be more accepting of nvidia, they need to stop acting like their method is the 1 and only way to get things done. linus doesn't seem to have an issue if someone wants to create closed source software, what he seems to dislike is how it hinders the development of everything else.
        I have used nVidia cards in Linux since I first started using Linux on a daily basis. To this day, nVidia cards work just fine with dual monitors, but I do not use any fancy GUI effects. Any driver requires kernel headers to compile. With out kernel headers will make any driver not be able to compile. Some distributions manages separate OpenGL libraries and others do not do so well. Though a lot of people like to upgrade the kernel when it is not necessary, like to use SLI for improve performance, use composite managers (fancy GUI effects), and like to buy the next best model when they come out.

        Linus Travolds does not like the late changes in the graphics API of the kernel. The graphics is just getting bigger and this takes time to add changes. Travolds just bitches about the graphics API of the kernel, so he bitches to nVidia more than other projects. I doubt it because of nVidia making closed source drivers. nVidia does follow kernel patches and updates their drivers to be compatible with those kernel patches. Though they just do not add changes fast enough for people that wants to be on the bleeding edge of kernel patches.

        One thing that is correct is Linus Travolds does not give a reason why he gives F's to nVidia. IMHO, nVidia is actually on the ball making a more complete drivers compared to any open source drivers that are not complete, so this probably makes Linus Travolds jealous. There are a lot of drivers in the kernel that are still not done after ages of development compared to their Windows drivers.

        Originally posted by FuturePilot View Post
        Thank you. Finally some logic around here. Reading through the other threads about this topic I'm just shocked at some of the knee-jerk immature comments like "LOL FUK U 2 NVIDIA". I've been thinking of this same scenario of what if Nvidia just said "fine here's the code, good luck" or just completely drop Linux support without releasing any code or specs. There goes a very large chuck of Linux users. Linux isn't going to go anywhere on the desktop without a good graphics stack. Oh and Steam? Yeah you can probably forget about that too. You FOSS zealots are going to have to realize that there's going to have to be compromises if you want Linux to go anywhere. Only in a perfect world would everything be open source. And IMO this type of fanaticism is just going to drive hardware manufacturers away from Linux. Are you people going to jump all over Valve because they won't release the source of their client or the Source engine? Nobody is going to want to touch Linux because of the outrageous reactions from its user base if something isn't open source. All these FOSS fanatics are going to drive Linux on the desktop straight into the ground all in the sake of demanding the source code for everything.
        Like I said in other threads, there are too many people that act religiously that open source should always be for Linux and only open source not closed source. Having a mixture of open source and closed source does in fact provides the best of both worlds. A lot of people do not see it this way. I think the open source community is hitting an irony here. They want things open but in fact they are narrow or closed minded.

        Originally posted by FuturePilot View Post
        Does anyone remember what happened with Creative and the X-Fi driver? They eventually thew their hands up and said here's the specs, you write the code. And the last time I checked X-Fi support was still shoddy on Linux. And that was how many years ago? Anyway, I'm sure I just poked a hornet's nest now. Go on and flame away.
        Creative Labs also gave up improving OpenAL. It is what is expected of Creative Labs losing support of their hardware for Linux since they did not care to carry on the OpenAL project. I am not impress by Creative Labs products anymore after Soundblaster LIVE. I have move onto other brands like TurtleBeach/Voyetra and Audiotrack during the time I was using discrete sound cards. On-board sound cards are good if using SPDIF/TOSLINK, but it is not easy to set it up in Linux to work in every application.


        • #94
          Originally posted by entropy View Post
          If Red Hat/Ubuntu have signed kernels what does "technically" hinders them to load whatever kernel modules?
          Sure, kernel have to load only signed modules as well. If kernel refuses to load unsigned modules, it's obvious you're out unless you can properly sign them. Looks like if you got idea yourself


          • #95
            Originally posted by asdx
            Secure boot, code signing and Wayland/KMS are the perfect opportunity to really tell Nvidia: "Fuck off. Get your shitty blob out of our system, provide code, specs or GTFO."

            If we don't scare them they won't learn, they will be lazy and they will simply won't care. We have to force them to act and make a choice. Otherwise it simply won't happen, unless they start losing a lot more money. But we shouldn't depend on this. We need to force them to make a choice and act.

            I know it's not nice, but they aren't being nice either. So what do you guys think? Let's not miss this precious opportunity.

            I know you might say "But if they stop supporting Linux altogether?" -- remember that sometimes tough choices and sacrifices like this have to be made.

            nVidia cannot "open source" their source code for their driver blob because they don't own rights to a good deal of it. That simply canot happen, forget it.

            However, what nVidia CAN can feasibly do, but for some reason they don't, is release programming specifications, such as AMD/ATI have done.

            Like so:

            This documentation doesn't expose any nVidia IP, nor does it expose any third party's IP that is in nVidias binary blob driver. It merely is documentation on how a driver may be written to interface to the GPU hardware. In the linked documents it is for AMD/ATI hardware, what is wanted is the equivalent documentation for nVidia GPUs.

            Releasing this documentation would make it feasible to use nVidia GPUs for Linux machines. Whilst Linux machines don't have significant market share on the desktop, they dominate in every other market, and a lot of those machines do have graphical UI and video requirements. Failure of nVidia to release programming specifications for its GPUs is eventually going to hand over this huge market to Intel and AMD/ATI.

            Why? Why don't nVidia release the programming specifications? Releasing them would eliminate all the negative PR, it would enable access to a huge market, it would cost next to nothing, and it would not divulge any nVidia IP or third party IP.

            So why not? What is there to lose nVidia?
            People cannot reasonably ask for code, but they can quite reasonably ask for programming specifications. I believe this question needs to be asked of nVida repeatedly, until they are absolutely sick of hearing it.

            Why not release programming specifications? How does it hurt you? Since there is no IP involved, why not? What is there to lose nVidia?

            Bullshit PR responses won't cut it, we need an explicit answer.

            If their answer is "because we promised other proprietary vendors that we wouldn't release programming specifications" then the Linux community has its answer. nVidia and Linux together are not feasible. Oil and water. Use only Intel or ATI.

            Then it would be appropriate to tell Nvidia: "Fuck off. Get your shitty blob out of our system, provide specs or GTFO."

            Since Linus Torvalds has no doubt already been involved in discussions with nvidia, and no doubt has already asked this question directly to nvidia management, then sice Linus' reaction is clear, I think we already can read between the lines here, and we already do in fact know the answer to this question.


            Last edited by hal2k1; 26 June 2012, 09:28 PM.


            • #96
              Originally posted by asdx
              It's simple: They want to stay? Give us the specs. They don't want to give us the specs? We show them where the door is and kick them out (we ban their blob, make it unloadable with all kernels, make it uncompilable).

              There's no other way with those parasites.
              So you want to lock out every Linux user that uses the blob for maximum performance on their NVidia hardware? Sounds like a great plan, we make the hardware vendors play nice with Linux with driving away their customers from Linux.


              • #97
                Originally posted by asdx
                Yes, sometimes we have to make tough choices because nothing else will change things. With tough choices things could change for the better, perhaps not immediately, but in the future.

                And I would say that change in this case will be painful but immediate because Nvidia won't stand that their "3d studios or film clients" won't be able to use Linux with future distros. So they will have to comply with Linux development rules. They will have to do what they're not doing todaay: provide specifications.
                It would be easier for them to just deploy custom kernels that can work with the blob to their customers. In this case your approach would be nothing more than damaging to Linux, while NVidia is able to fix the kernel "broken by the zealots" for their customers.


                • #98
                  Originally posted by asdx
                  So you think that Nvidia will have to maintain a custom kernel forever? That'll be lot of work, how much backporting they will have to do to catch up with the latest kernel development and drivers? You know, hardware changes all the time, and the mainline kernel will be years ahead of what they have.

                  This will cost them more money in the long run, I don't see every Ubuntu user having to downgrade their kernels for running the nvidia blob.

                  I think it would be better for Nvidia and everyone if they just released specifications so that Linux developers could write their own drivers.
                  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.


                  • #99
                    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.
                    Well, in practice with Secure Boot that would be the deal: no binary blobs will work unless they get the blobs signed by that specific distribution.
                    So nVidia will tell their costumers to just not enable Secure Boot. And nVidia and all other "blobbers" without a open implementation at hand will lose customers because some adapters really seem to like the idea of secure boot handled right...


                    • Hey c'mon... WTF! nVidia doesn't HAVE to play nice with others, but then they are not getting 'our' support.

                      They asked what they COULD do to make us happy. I think my proposal @page 10 was fair (they don't have to open any magic, we get a consumer prices IBM Cell processing card for free, they can work on other kernel components and the blob works well with others, plus improved security).

                      If you don't like nVidia? By all means don't buy it, but if they ask us if they could do something else open sourcy for us, don't try to ban them and shoot yourself in the foot. C'mon... Are we 12 year old Stalins? At least give them a change to do some giving back to open source. It would only improve our situation and nobody has to by their cards.