It's Been Three Years Since Linus Torvalds' Huge NVIDIA Rant
Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA on 17 June 2015 at 05:34 PM EDT. 46 Comments
It's been three years since Linus Torvalds did his very public shaming of NVIDIA over their Linux support and called them the worst company he ever dealt with, gave them the finger, etc.

It was on this day in 2012 that the story was run about the creator of Linux calling NVIDIA the worst company, which in turn sparked a wide range of Internet comments. Torvalds' frustrations with them were mostly over their Optimus support on Linux, or there the lack of, plus that they haven't been very open-source friendly.

Since then, the Optimus Linux support has improved marginally for the binary driver as well as for the open-source Nouveau driver with DRI PRIME, RandR enhancements, etc. It's still far from a first-class experience.

Three years later, NVIDIA still isn't very open-source friendly when it comes to desktop graphics but at least they've released some limited documentation and have tried to answer some questions drawn by Nouveau developers. On the Tegra / mobile side, however, they've become quite open-source friendly with contributing Tegra K1 portions to Nouveau and enabling other Tegra open-source support given that their mobile customers are interested in Wayland, etc.

My biggest open-source gripe with NVIDIA right now is over NVIDIA not yet providing their signed firmware images for GTX 900 Maxwell GPUs, which is blocking the open-source hardware-accelerated support for these new graphics cards advancing. I'm hopeful though that NVIDIA will soon release these firmware blobs for use by Nouveau developers...

Recent: Benchmarking The Latest AMD Radeon & NVIDIA GeForce Graphics Cards On Ubuntu Linux

However, for those not concerned about open-source GPU drivers, running the NVIDIA proprietary driver on Linux remains an excellent choice if you're a gamer and/or just concerned about the best support and performance. One of my few gripes on the binary driver side is that they're still working on Wayland support.

Three years after Torvalds' rant about NVIDIA, what else would you (realistically) like to see NVIDIA do to improve their Linux support? Share with us by commenting on this article in our forums.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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