Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

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Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:49 pm

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Last edited by clone on Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:59 pm

Thats.... Ummmm.... Unexpeced :o

The Nvidia is the single chip maker that works trouble free in Linux. Even after so many years, it's still true... I had problems with AMD, I had problems with Intel, but none with Nvidia.

If this is about some Intel - Nvidia integration, I can understand they wouldn't want to do anything about it.
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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:05 pm

He's completely right. Nvidia refuses to write an open driver nor release specs so an open driver can be written by someone else (for free). AMD and Intel have done so. This makes it incredibly hard to integrate with the kernel, troubleshoot when it goes wrong, build compatibility with other Linux programs, support cards after official support ends and so on.

It's a narrow issue but Nvidia haven't moved anywhere in years.
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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:17 pm

Game_boy wrote:He's completely right. Nvidia refuses to write an open driver nor release specs so an open driver can be written by someone else (for free).


Who the F* cares? Their drivers work, and they work consistently and well among different distributions, they, most likely, have code optimizations for improved performance that's probably patented and developed for 20+ years, and shared with the Windows code-base. I don't have to thinker with stupid notepad every time kernel is updated via apt-get, or when the new driver version comes out.

The stupid attitude that everything has to be open-source is what makes Linux pretty much irrelevant and crappily supported by all software vendors. Common, intellectual property of some companies is probably worth more than the whole Linux ecosystem, and you expect them to give away their multi-billion trade secrets, so that some geeks could improve them? Grow up.

Linux is very promising, I really like it, and I'm trying to migrate to it fully. But the problem is that it's been promising for what, 20 years? And this attitude is still the single reason why a lot of good software is not available on Linux, which kills market share, and most software houses don't care about supporting it because of that. Which makes it a crappy alternative to Windows in multiple occasions.

I want Linux to succeed, but the Linux ecosystem seems to fight against succeeding all the time.
Last edited by Madman on Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:18 pm

Read about this over at the [H]. Lot of AMD hate in their comments. I have to admit that in the past I've had issues with ATI/AMD drivers on Linux, but recently it's been smooth sailing.
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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:25 pm

Madman wrote:
Game_boy wrote:you expect them to give away their multi-billion trade secrets, so that some geeks could improve them? Grow up.


AMD had a legal team look at Radeon specs for six months to remove all the secrets before releasing. Harm done: zero Cost: one-time

Then all the driver work was done externally and the current open radeon driver is very stable and easier to install than the closed (zero clicks compared to like ten). People can still use the closed driver if they want 100% performance, but all the low level integration (modesetting) is better done with a driver the kernel devs can edit.

Intel is even better because they only have an open driver (again no harm to them) and they've lead the way on a number of Linux graphics standards that brought the APIs up to Windows/DX level featureset and ease of use.

It's not the most pressing issue ever, but what Linus said is true.
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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:30 pm

Madman wrote:Who the F* cares? Their drivers work, and they work consistently and well among different distributions, they, most likely, have code optimizations for improved performance that's probably patented and developed for 20+ years, and shared with the Windows code-base. I don't have to thinker with stupid notepad every time kernel is updated via apt-get, or when the new driver version comes out.

The stupid attitude that everything has to be open-source is what makes Linux pretty much irrelevant and crappily supported by all software vendors. Common, intellectual property of some companies is probably worth more than the whole Linux ecosystem, and you expect them to give away their multi-billion trade secrets, so that some geeks could improve them? Grow up..


http://www.linuxfoundation.org/about/members

Those geeks care.
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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:39 pm

Washer wrote:http://www.linuxfoundation.org/about/members

Those geeks care.


They don't care, THEY INVEST, where it makes sense. Do you see Adobe Photoshop CS6 for Linux? Adobe is a silver member...

Do you see Android stuff backported to Linux by Google much, or being a real Linux? Google is a gold member...

Do you see widely available Linux preinstalled Dell PC's? Dell is a silver member...

Do you see Nvidia open source drivers? Nvidia is a silver member....

It's all business, these companies support Linux where it makes sense, they will not give away their competitive advantage to boost OS which is constantly failing either way, only because OS has some sort of an identity crisis.

Open source Photoshop? You wish...
Last edited by Madman on Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:43 pm

Game_boy wrote:AMD had a legal team look at Radeon specs for six months to remove all the secrets before releasing. Harm done: zero Cost: one-time

And people who care about graphics, don't care about this open-source driver either way...

Game_boy wrote:Intel is even better because they only have an open driver (again no harm to them) and they've lead the way on a number of Linux graphics standards that brought the APIs up to Windows/DX level featureset and ease of use.

The difference with Intel is that they don't produce graphic cards, they call them graphic cards, but if you want graphics, you chose anything but Intel. So dumb video buffer driver can be either open source or closed source, no one cares either way.
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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:25 pm

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Last edited by clone on Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:52 pm

Madman wrote:And people who care about graphics, don't care about this open-source driver either way...


Did I argue otherwise? If you are a gamer and only care about that, then this is irrelevant. That is not the same thing as saying Linus is wrong; from a wider perspective of Linux's desktop/business viability, APIs, kernel maintenence, and even tablets (Tegra) it's very important.

The difference with Intel is that they don't produce graphic cards, they call them graphic cards, but if you want graphics, you chose anything but Intel. So dumb video buffer driver can be either open source or closed source, no one cares either way.


Wow. This shows you know nothing and that you don't read TR. Intel's architecture has improved enough that it outperforms recent low-end AMD and Nvidia offerings, and matches them in feature set and programmability. Any graphics engineer would say it has equal standing to AMD or Nvidia in technology relevance. And as I said Intel has helped out with Linux graphics very much because they are open source, it'd be far behind Windows in features for all cards if not for their leadership on X.Org.
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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:59 pm

I believe Torvalds' beef with Nvidia lies not only with their reluctance to disclose specs to driver/kernel hackers, but also because they're actually making money off Linux already--most Tegra devices sold come with Android--which is already in the process of being merged back into mainline Linux. (http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/03/19/linux-3-3-kernel-begins-to-merge-with-android-brings-us-closer-to-a-true-multi-purpose-smartphone/)

They're not really giving back anything that might help the community better integrate Nvidia devices. And their insistence of using binary blobs make the whole development of Linux and Android difficult, because they can't easily debug when you've got binary drivers instead of open ones. This results in power, graphics and other weird glitches on many Tegra devices, and the manufacturer taking the brunt of criticism, when it's been Nvidia's fault all along.

No wonder many Tegra-based devices end up being buggy, especially during launch (e.g. Moto Xoom, HTC One X)--Nvidia nsists on not disclosing, thus the slow and arduous road to relative stability for otherwise decent and even fantastic devices.

Not hating on Nvidia here; I've got a couple of Quadro cards for CAD work and they're good. But they could sure use some civility when it comes to open-source.
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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:30 pm

Game_boy wrote:Wow. This shows you know nothing and that you don't read TR. Intel's architecture has improved enough that it outperforms recent low-end AMD and Nvidia offerings, and matches them in feature set and programmability. Any graphics engineer would say it has equal standing to AMD or Nvidia in technology relevance. And as I said Intel has helped out with Linux graphics very much because they are open source, it'd be far behind Windows in features for all cards if not for their leadership on X.Org.

I very well know that they are sort of performing good, and they sort of support all the features, until it comes to real world.

Intel HD4000 is what OpenGL 3.1? GeForce 8xxx from 2008 is 3.3. You can blindly look at some numbers and the card might be good enough for some stuff, but it's just not something you want for hardcore gaming or development.
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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:00 pm

I agree with Torvalds, but I also agree with a company being able to make their own decisions to protect their intellectual property. As as long as NVIDIA still has enough of their own stock, they can make their own decisions. NVIDIA doesn't have to even make closed-source drivers for Linux if they don't want to, but they do, so it's better than nothing. If it hurts NVIDIA in the long run to not participate fully in the open-source community, then that was their own decision, and they have no one to blame but themselves. If keeping the source closed on their drivers in the long run helps them, then they made a good business decision. That is all it is about. Protecting their intellectual property for the sake of profit. Like it or not, that is the way it is.
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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:21 pm

Madman wrote:
Washer wrote:http://www.linuxfoundation.org/about/members

Those geeks care.


They don't care, THEY INVEST, where it makes sense. Do you see Adobe Photoshop CS6 for Linux? Adobe is a silver member...

Do you see Android stuff backported to Linux by Google much, or being a real Linux? Google is a gold member...

Do you see widely available Linux preinstalled Dell PC's? Dell is a silver member...

Do you see Nvidia open source drivers? Nvidia is a silver member....

It's all business, these companies support Linux where it makes sense, they will not give away their competitive advantage to boost OS which is constantly failing either way, only because OS has some sort of an identity crisis.

Open source Photoshop? You wish...


Ahh, so you're trolling. The constantly failing OS that's doing better than ever in every way. Totally dude.

EDIT: You're probably not trolling. The truth is you're just utterly lacking in perspective. For one second just consider why the key figure and developer of the Linux kernel would be upset with Linux. Just consider for one second why those companies invest and care about the future and improvement of Linux. The goal of the Linux Foundation has never been to be a 100% desktop Windows replacement, that was arguably the goal of Canonical at one point but it's incredibly narrow minded. All of those sponsors rely on Linux to the degree of billions upon billions of dollars. They depend on it and it's in their best interest in many cases to have a standard OS that they can take and customize or ship along with their products. It's the same reason why projects like OpenStack are also becoming massively important. Especially when you're in the business of building hardware or enterprise support you truly understand why that standardization across the industry is crucial. Clearly, in your case, it isn't obvious if all you are is a poor fooling expecting something that just isn't the case.
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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:29 am

I like Linux, I think it's great it exists, but there's no lack of support from Nvidia. They just don't want randoms touching their code and possibly making them look bad, I can't fault them for that. I *can* fault the Linux community for expecting things for free.
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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:54 am

zzz wrote:I like Linux, I think it's great it exists, but there's no lack of support from Nvidia. They just don't want randoms touching their code and possibly making them look bad, I can't fault them for that. I *can* fault the Linux community for expecting things for free.


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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:56 am

zzz wrote:I *can* fault the Linux community for expecting things for free.

You really don't get the open source movement, do you?
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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:33 am

The foremost problem with this discussion where ever it has popped up on the internet is that most people don't actually know exactly what Torvalds said or else they don't respect the actual context of Torvalds' remark. Torvald's anger towards Nvidia is based on this: Nvidia does not provide any response or support what so ever to open source developers. Torvalds was not asking Nvidia to open source it's driver. Torvalds was merely expressing his frustration with the fact that Nvidia has completely shut out the open source community in regards to that community's efforts to develop their own driver solutions for Nvidia's hardware. That's my understanding of it, at least. So the complaint is that Nvidia champions itself as a champion of Linux, but completely shuts out open source developers from developing open source drivers. And in that respect, Torvalds claims than Nvidia has been the absolute worst offender - even companies that don't give a spit about Linux have been more supportive than Nvidia.
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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:52 am

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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:13 pm

zzz wrote:I like Linux, I think it's great it exists, but there's no lack of support from Nvidia. They just don't want randoms touching their code and possibly making them look bad, I can't fault them for that. I *can* fault the Linux community for expecting things for free.

You've completely missed the point. The Open Source community isn't asking for the code; they're asking for GPU hardware documentation so they can write their own driver.

IMO nVidia's intransigence on the documentation issue makes them look far worse than a buggy driver produced by the Open Source community would. They're directly responsible for the lack of documentation; they AREN'T responsible for any bugs in the Open Source driver, since they can plausibly and rightfully claim "that's not our problem".

nVidia isn't in the business of selling drivers, they sell hardware. Their stubbornness hurts everyone (including themselves).
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Re: Linus Torvalds hammers Nvidia for lack of Linux support?

Postposted on Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:49 pm

zzz wrote:I like Linux, I think it's great it exists, but there's no lack of support from Nvidia. They just don't want randoms touching their code and possibly making them look bad, I can't fault them for that. I *can* fault the Linux community for expecting things for free.


There is hella lack of support from Nvidia. 6 years ago what Nvidia provided was great support. Unfortunately for them, the game has changed, but Nvidia has not. AMD released documentation for their chips, AMD releases FOSS code for their chips, and Intel has in house team dedicated to maintaining their FOSS drivers, which are first-class citizens in their drivers program.

If they really wanted to support Linux, and not just say they do, they would release documentation. The FOSS coders would be more then happy to write a driver for them (as they are doing with the Nouveau driver http://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/), and all those man hours aren't free.

As it stands, Nvidia is only good for CUDA on servers, HPC, and render farms. Their driver shouldn't be used on the desktop because it's too detrimental to the user experience. The Nvidia driver replaces large parts of the graphics stack which breaks lots of things.
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