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Old 06-13-09, 07:04 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 21
Default Re: Reasons for keeping the nvidia driver closed

- The drivers may contain 3rd party code with proprietary licence, and thus cannot be opened.
=> The open sourcing of Java should have proven, that the community is able to replace those parts.
Personally I think/guess this is the main reason/concern of Nvidia. It is not comparable with java case as java is software only. Nvidia code may contain interface code that interact with chips or chips logic, which are controlled by license and cannot be open.

- nVidia may fear that it looses control on the driver development.
=> This is quite unlikely. Even if the driver would be open source, the community would still need the nVidia developers. Ok perhaps not need in a strict sense, but it's really nice if someone (who really knows what he does) does the work.
And it would be still possible to have an "official trunk" where nVidia decides which patches from the community go in and which not.
I think this and the follow part is the least Nvidia concern about.

- nVidia may fear that it opens its business secrets.
=> Well I'm not a computer graphics expert, but are there really that much secrets? I'd rather think that there are real "secrets" in fields like raytracing or high performance rendering. Not our computer 3D acceleration for games and that, but more stuff like CGI / high performance raytracers/renderers for cinematic areas / 3D engines for computer games (e.g. CryEngine) but not the stuff that's exported by the driver.
My guess is Nvidia have not much concern about this too. The "real" work is inside the chip, and in some way chip design now a days already go beyond the mathematical logic, optimization is going to the physical level.

- nVidia may fear that an open driver could be of less quality or that people blame nVidia if an open driver has bugs.
=> Look at the tens or hundreds of thousands of open source projects that prove the opposite.
Or just look at the kernel itself. People don't think bad of a company just because a driver in the vanilla kernel has bugs. They think bad of it, if it doesn't support the developers with technical manuals, or the community with open drivers.
50/50, but in reality, the 1st person knowing they have problem properly is AMD, while the reverse case is true also.
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