Originally Posted by kriko
netllama gave me this idea, so I'm opening this thread to discuss opinions on nvidia.
What is bothering me is the almost "fully" closed development of new drivers. You don't know which bugs are going to be fixed in future release, when are they going to be fixed or if they are assigned to be fixed at all.
So I'm proposing an open bug-tracking system, where customers would report bugs, see their priority and progress.
I am glad that you have had the initiative. However, it is good to give credit where it is due. Proposing an open bug-tracking system was one the main issues macemoneta raised in his post at the beginning of that thread. It was implicit but we can infer that fairly easily. Otherwise he would probably not have said so.
Bringing back that issue in my post is likely to have been the cause of that popular thread being closed since, according to Lonni, it obviously veered way off topic lately. Now, had it not wandered off topic before? Why is it so unnatural that in such a long discussion about an old and persistent problem people begin to express their feelings about it? After all, we are only humans.
Closing it down so abruptly gave the impression that it had reached the absolute end of that discussion. However, there was no strong reason to believe that the next post would not have taken us back into the main subject. A simple reminder or a suggestion to opening a new thread could have been effective.
Coincidently, this was the second time a thread was closed right after I posted. At least this time the person who did it was kind enough to give a reason. Exercising what looked like authoritarianism against a customer, in the words of somebody else who wrote to me in support, is probably a recipe for dissatisfaction. What is nVidia trying to do?
Considering all this, I would like to say that I used to be fully satisfied with the way nVidia was responding to and interacting with the community. I was and I still am a loyal fan of their products. However, I have been growing increasingly weary lately about their taking so long to respond to prevalent issues and now due to the aforementioned incidents. I would say that I am certainly less than satisfied with nVidia.
I live in Brazil, where nVidia is very popular and so is Linux. Furthermore, Linux is the only OS that can still run reasonably well on old/low-end hardware many people down here can afford to buy. For us, open source drivers make perfect good sense and we want them. Besides, my household is completely Windows-free and 100% legal and I wish I could keep it just like this. I do not want to depend on a driver that, aside from the fact of it not working as expected, it can potentially bring up legal issues and cause me to loose support (most commercial drivers taint the kernel).
Last year, the Brazilian government has adopted a roadmap to adopt open source and open standards at all of its hierarchical levels. As a result, it is expected that Linux figures will grow steadily in the country. My employer, a public university, has recently asked me to organize a Linux workshop on campus and hold at least one Linux installfest session during the event which is to be open to all individuals. In my presentation, what kind of graphics card should I recommend? Probably the same kind of card I would recommend the other members of the University TI committee I am part of.
I wish nVidia would at least follow the lead (namely Intel and ATI/AMD*) in either open sourcing their video card drivers or releasing the hardware specifications so that community developers could work on their own. Last, but not least, Mandriva, the Mandrake-Conectiva merger, is a good example of what Brazilian and German software engineers are capable of in terms of complex software development**, not to mention the host of voluntary developers scattered all around the world.
Gosh, that was a long post.
Prof. Waldeck Schützer, Ph.D.
(*) Intel has open sourced their drivers last year and AMD has recently promised to open source theirs (cf. Google).
"customers aren't asking for open-source drivers" -- nVidia
"It's so hard to write a graphics driver that open-sourcing it would not help" -- Andrew Fear