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Old 05-30-07, 05:20 PM   #10
m-singh
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 40
Thumbs down Re: Satisfaction / dissatisfaction with nvidia

Nvidia deserves the linux community's thanks for being the first major graphics chip maker to provide linux drivers. That has won nvidia an immense amount of goodwill.

However, you cannot ride on goodwill alone forever. There has to be performance to match the growing numbers and needs of the linux community.

The persistent bug with nvidia's drivers on certain chipsets in laptops which borks hibernate (or for some people, suspend to RAM) is a case in the point. Many nvidia bug reports have been filed, every scrap of information asked for has been provided, but stable/beta versions come and go and this bug remains unfixed (upwards of 6 months at this point in time).

Nvidia owns the IP on its drivers and has a perfectly legitimate right to do whatever it wishes with them. However, if it wants linux users to invest in nvidia hardware on new machines, it has to demonstrate either of the following three :

1. Fix the bugs in time (yes - it takes a week or two to track it down, but 6 months ?? - this might be passe in the windows world, but it is extremely extremely rare for bugs to survive this long in well-supported Linux OS/applications) and keep the drivers closed source.
2. Open the specs of the chipsets so that people (such as the authors of nv) can add 3D support etc. I would like to mention that the particular bug I mentioned does not occur with nv drivers.
3. Open source the nvidia drivers themselves, so that bugs are hunted down and fixed ASAP.

Its not our place to dictate what nvidia should do. We neither have the right nor perhaps the legal knowhow to do that. However, the picture of closed source drivers that go months with unfixed bugs is not a pretty one. Earlier today, I had to make a purchase decision for two laptops for some of the new people in our group. I specifically chose intel 9xx cards for them (and this is when one of them is a windows user, where the windows version of the driver probably does not have the bug - just what happens when you piss off your fans) because I cannot in good conscience inflict the kind of experience I have had over the past few months on some other people.

I would like to propose that a clean set of drivers (open source or closed or even competing (option 2 above)) with a process that quickly fixes those bugs would do a lot to attract and retain linux users. How Nvidia arrives at that sound business decision is Nvidia's call. My job is only to provide customer feedback as I see it.
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