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Old 06-04-07, 03:53 PM   #36
gmp
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 32
Default Re: Satisfaction / dissatisfaction with nvidia

I think it's really quite a difficult question.

Are my staff and I exasperated with nVidia? Yes, at times we are. The best comment from a developer yet was just last week, "Hasn't nVidia ever heard of a recursion test?"

That said; what in the market do we have to compare nVidia to? ATI? Please. ATI's brought a pointy stick to a howitzer fight and quite frankly I have no more interest in dealing with ATI than I do shoving their stick into our right eye.

Would I like nVidia to do better? Hell yes. But, am I prepared to kick them to the curb because they piss us off? Not yet - the only alternative is so horrific I can't even bear to think about it.

But if you want to ask how we feel about nVidia as a vendor for our linux graphics drivers...??? Compared to other platforms (namely windows and mac OSX)...? I would have to say they are doing a pathetic job of it.

If our customers felt this way about us I'd be pretty upset and more than just a little bit concerned.

Their drivers are far better on Mac (I know Apple writes them for OSX, not nVidia) and on Windows it's like night and day. But we do understand the difficulty they face here and are to some degree sympathetic.

I just wish they could understand how much money we have lose as a result of issues relating to nVidia's drivers when we do simple things like kernel updates.

That said, what's our option?

It's kinda like voting day here in the US... Hmmm... which one sucks the least. This guy sucks, but the alternative is as bad as voting for Satan so I pick the former sucky candidate because I hate him just a little less...

If I was in charge would this be acceptable? Probably not. But I'm not in charge so there you have it.

My advice would be to make your job of supporting Linux easier until you can say with certainty that you are doing and spectacular job of supporting your Linux customer base on a smaller number of distributions.

Pick a handful of distros, namely Fedora, Suse and maybe Ubuntu and explicitly support them as large players like Autodesk has done. If you have to pick just two, chuck Ubuntu. RHEL and FC can be considered one distro for the sake of this argument.

At least then the commercial users like movie studios and large geo sciences folks are happy and able to get their work done. The job of maintaining working drivers for every flavor of the week linux distro can just go away and nVidia's job gets infinitely easier. Then ask these customers for whom your drivers are mission critical what applications they are using and then set up a suite of recursion tests using these applications. Validate new drivers using these recursion tests and be certain that you don't hose people before releasing new drivers. It would go a long way toward improving people's confidence.

The thing is, success here will be difficult to quantify. Most of the customers like this have real, adult IT staff that are pretty much mute on the topic till they have a problem that shuts them down. Then they get real loud. They are hardly the kind that goes whining online every time they can't get doom to run properly after updating their drivers or buying a new card. They generally muddle through the installation and configuration issues most suffer and know how to read a log file, can debug things as well as most folks without direct access to the driver source.

Problem is, loads of people will moan and complain about this. Get over it. Most of these folks don't have airliner parts to get designed or movie release dates to contend with. Let's support people whio need the drivers for business rather than worry about every Linux hobbyist on the planet and I think we'll all end up in a much happier place.

I'd rather have stable, solid performing drivers on two or three distros than unstable, flakey performance from driver version to driver version on every distro under the sun.

My $0.02.

Bash away...

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