Dear nVidia guys,
Thanks very much for supporting Linux with your drivers. I prefer nVidia over ATI specifically for reasons the quality of the Linux support for graphics cards.
However, the fact that the drivers can't be included with free distributions such as Debian are causing me a lot of hassles. For instance, with Debian's "net-install" installer, I have a chicken and egg problem. The boostrap install CD can't ship with a an nVidia-written network driver, but the installation CD needs to bring up the network to download most of the distribution's packages.
I feel similar pain with getting X up and running. My workstation installations have three phases: (1) Get the system up and running enough so that I have a console, (2) copy the nVidia driver from a CD-R that I've previously prepared, and (3) install and configure the driver.
There are two real shortcomings with this approach to installing the X driver:
- I have to prepare a CD-R ahead of time to contain the nVidia driver. This is because it's hard to navigate nVidia's website except in a truly graphical web browser. Lynx isn't easy to use for nvidia.com
- People writing installation software for free Linux distributions can't make setting up the graphics card be seemless and easy,
I urge you to find some way to get your drivers, or at least the parts needed for basic functionality, released under a certified free license. It would make my experience with your products much better.