Linus Torvalds makes headlines again!

Last Thursday, our very own Linux creator, Linus Torvalds, made headline news at the Aalto conference. After the conference there was a Q&A session, and one of the questions that came up was about how NVIDIA have been supporting Linux (including Android devices!)

As you may expect, he came out with a straight answer:

You can watch the full talk below:

Though I really can’t see why they’d need to keep their drivers closed-source (unless they think the source code may help a competitor) … I think Linus has gone off on another undeserved rant.

Why should nVidia open source their drivers ? … or help with backward engineering of them ?

The fact is, they supply their proprietary Linux drivers for download, and they’re generally better than anyone elses.

Would be a bit awkward if nVidia took this to heart and went “sod Linux then” and stopped supplying their proprietary drivers or supporting Linux AT ALL … IMHO, Linus is running off at the mouth again, and he should know better … as usual, the press will be all over this and blow it up out of all proportion (or at least attempt to).

And since when has slagging someone off in public been considered a good ploy for getting someone to reassess their stance ?

Showing nVidia the finger, in a public video, that he MUST have known would go global … yeh, great idea … they’ll certainly change their stance now. <— Sarcasm for those that didn’t recognise it.

I hold Linus in high esteem, but lately he’s been making that difficult.

I was somewhat amused and bewildered that on his blog (where he slagged off Gnome) … Linus (and apparently everyone else that responded) couldn’t figure out how to edit the google-chrome.desktop file to add a couple of startup arguments to the Exec= line ???

I would have responded, but by the time I spotted it there were already 500 responses (non of which contained the answer, which seemed to p*ss him off), and it wouldn’t accept any more responses.

Odd to think Linus can write a kernel, but has no idea where the desktop/application files are stored … does make one wonder why he considers himself an expert on the Gnome 3 DE, and in a position to slag them off :o

I think Linus’s view is, Linux doesn’t NEED Nvidia, but rather Nvidia NEEDS Linux, as they get most of their profits from server hardware, and android devices.

Well that’s just plain stupid ::slight_smile:

In a sense yes, Linus wants open-source drivers, and as an open-source community we could do that just fine, BUT we need the specs from NVIDIA to do that, and they refuse to release the specs.

As I said, why should they if they choose not to ?

Of course Linus would be happier with free open source drivers … and I’m sure a ton of cheap Chinese knock off hardware would arise to take advantage of the released hardware specifications and drivers, and they’d be happy too … but what’s in it for nVidia, beyond good will, which (Linus aside) they generally already have in the Linux community ?

They already release their proprietary drivers, free of charge, and support their hardware quite well (better than most) in Linux … Linux will (in my opinion) suffer if hardware manufacturers see it as (even possibly) a threat to their income.

If you were a hardware manufacturer, would you release the hardware spec and driver code that cost you money to develop, so the rest of the world could copy it ? … or would you consider it the investment that it is, and say “buy our product (from us), and we’ll give you working drivers but not the code” ?

I would open-source the code, because it would have the butterfly effect, and good would come of it. You think about it, in proprietary drivers/software, you DON’T know what’s in the code. They could be tracking you, they could be doing anything. With open-source, that risk/ability is very minimal since it’s open-source, and the code would be ripped out in a matter or minutes/hours.

Not only do you benefit from having open-source drivers, but the whole Linux ecosystem does. Sure there will be copies, but if your a manufacturer and your the FIRST to provide open-source, stable & reliable drivers, people WILL come back to you, and you’ll benefit from that. You’ll get donations, which yes may not be much for your efforts, but at the same time, shows people appreciate what you’ve brought to the table.

I’m sorry, but you’re making a LOT of (IMHO wrong) assumptions.

a) Joe Average really cares what the drivers do as long as they work … remember everyone knows Tesco and Google track your habits, anad do they care … who are the largest browser and supermarket ?

b) That Joe Average could spot malicious code in open source code … and if he can’t, why would he perceive the code as any safer … on the contrary, most people seem to think (wrongly) that open code leaves them MORE at risk.

c) That considering the first two, there is anything in it for nVidia

d) That it would necessarily be good for Linux … would it benefit Linux if nVidia went under because the Chinese were copying their hardware, and using their now OS drivers ?

e) That it’s possible to run a financially viable hardware company on donations … I seriously doubt that.

f) That anyone would appreciate something they don’t understand, and “come back” … on the contrary, people have been known to leave companies and ecosystems they don’t understand.

Seems to me that you (and Linus) are viewing this through the rose tinted specs of a Linux fan … which is all well and good … and in an “ideal world” you may be right, but this aint no ideal world.

A lot of people seem to be under the impression that if it’s software and connected to Linux, it should be open and free … why is that ? … are programmers not allowed to feed their families.

Linus is making a good living despite/because he gave away Linux … but do you think the programmers that work for nVidia are in the same position, or do you think they rely on nVidia to stay solvent for their living ? … nVidia made the investment in development, I (and apparently nVidia) see no tangible benefit for nVidia (and their employees) to open source the code, and/or provide the hardware specs … besides pleasing Linus and the nouveau driver devs.

One more thing … I know you’re waiting for that video editing software to be released, and have said you’d be more than happy to pay the £60 for the full version.

You’ll never convince me that you’d have paid that £60 as a donation if it were free … and you ARE a Linux user with rose tinted specs :wink:

Linus might have been a bit harsh on Nvidia, but at the end it cost them millions because they refused to open-source their drivers

China: NVIDIA Loses Face and a 10 Million PC Order over Linux Drivers and NRE's

Hmm … China want nVidia to open source their drivers … now there’s a surprise :wink:

At the end of the day, nVidia own the drivers … the decision, good or bad, is theirs to make, and they’ll live or die by those decisions.

That said, if they’re going to keep them closed, and continue to say “we support Linux” … then they need to get off their a**es and do something about the Optimus farce … leaving it up to third parties (bumblebee/ironhide) is just not acceptable.

I love how the project names are named after the Transformers, being a HUGE Transformers fan and all. :smiley:

That said, NVidia ought to sort out their attitude towards software and drivers. They are flat out refusing to support the Optimus cards, which IMO is wrong. Saying “We only support Windows 7” is completely stupid considering MS have no moved on to Windows 8 and other failings to come.

If Nvidia are smart, they’ll see that Linux is where money is to be made, and not just 100k here and 200k there, we’re talking 100M here and 800M there… Just saying.

Us Linux users are more than willing to pay higher than the average Windows user.