Linus Torvalds Calls NVIDIA The Worst Company Ever
Torvalds was speaking earlier this week at the Aalto Center for Entrepreneurship in Otaniemi, Finland. He spoke for one hour and his entire interview with public Q&A is available via the YouTube video embedded below.
Near the end of his talk, when asked by one of the attendees about NVIDIA's hardware support and lack of open-source driver enablement / documentation, he had a few choice words for the Santa Clara company.
Torvalds began by stating that NVIDIA is an exception to Linux support rather than the rule in terms of their lack of friendliness towards open-source drivers and the Linux community, etc. He also mentioned he is happy to publicly point them out and their problems, so his NVIDIA statements continued...
After saying that NVIDIA is "one of the worst trouble spots we've had with hardware manufacturers", Linus Torvalds continued on to say, "NVIDIA has been the single worst company we have ever dealt with."
Torvalds ended his NVIDIA comments with "NVIDIA: FUCK YOU!" while raising his middle finger to the camera.
NVIDIA does produce closed-source Linux drivers that are highly regarded by many; for a majority of Linux desktop users they do work out better than the closed-source AMD Catalyst Linux drivers. However, many still want to see NVIDIA provide open-source graphics drivers from NVIDIA for their GeForce/Quadro and Tegra components.
Right now the open-source NVIDIA graphics drivers come via the Nouveau driver project, which is community-based and the driver is written via reverse-engineering NVIDIA's closed-source driver. AMD may have a notorious binary graphics driver, but at least they do provide open-source driver support, some level of documentation, and better interact with the Linux community.
I'm not sure if I would call NVIDIA the worst company ever for Linux since they do at least have the high-quality binary Linux drivers, while there exists other companies with really nasty binary drivers, bad open-source support, and other issues -- such as VIA Technologies. There's also other companies that are not friendly towards Linux at all, but just tell their customers to use Windows instead of Linux.
Aside from NVIDIA not being open-source friendly, NVIDIA Corp does have other fundamental Linux problems as I've explained. It still seems NVIDIA marketing/PR doesn't even want to work with Linux, etc.
From the several NVIDIA Linux engineers I've dealt with over the past eight years, they seem to do their best and are committed to Linux, but management and others above them seem to be where the trouble is at and tie the developers' hands. This is a similar situation to how a Texas Instruments driver developer is so committed to open-source he ended up writing a reverse-engineered open-source driver for his competitor (Qualcomm) since he was prevented from writing an open-source PowerVR driver for TI's OMAP.
Aside from Torvalds' NVIDIA remarks near the end, the entire talk is worth watching.