Originally Posted by acreal
The only reason you consider this whining is because you are happy with the drivers NVidia provides (and to make it sounds childish). I agree this debate is rather subtle sometimes and it isn't always clear as to why closed source drivers are a problem in the perspective of end users, but you could try to understand why so many people are against it before labeling this as "whining".
Personally, I think that the "whining" part is not about the closed-source drivers, but simply the fact that the current nVidia drivers don't yet support the latest eye candy. And that just comes down to impatience, which is indeed a slightly childish thing
I also think that we need to give nVidia some credit here. Now, I'm not arguing whether they should release their "IP" or not - as far as I'm concerned, it's theirs and the decision about whether to make it open or not is theirs alone. But given that they have made the decision *not* to release it, they are giving us the next best thing: binary drivers that are of a pretty high standard, and a demonstrated commitment to supporting the changing face of Linux over time.
See, what is "Linux"? Linux users have a bunch of kernel versions with slightly different driver interfaces, some with procfs and others with sysfs, static /dev versus devfs versus udev, various threading mechanisms, and X11Rx.y with all its changes as well. This is daunting for a hardware manufacturer contemplating building drivers, without even considering the *BSDs and Solaris that nVidia supports as well.
I love that Linux is so dynamic. I run Gentoo, because I'm addicted to the latest new toys and I've reached a level where I can fix the breakages when they occur
. But since I've been using it for my production PCs rather than just a toy, I do need some stability. nVidia's fairly conservative approach to releasing drivers probably prevents me from having display foul-ups that could seriously kill my productivity!
I would like to see the odd beta release, because I'm a software developer and I think that widely-distributed betas are very valuable. But once again, it's nVidia's call. Testing Linux drivers must be a real nightmare, compared to (say) Microsoft with their relatively static driver interface and WHQL service. Of course, it can't hurt that Microsoft seems unable to actually deliver a new OS at this point, which gives driver providers plenty of time to iron out their bugs
As was the case with the 2.6 kernel 4k stacks issue, nVidia *will* eventually come through with a high-performance driver that works nicely with X11R7.1. They are currently the only display hardware that I have that confidence in. And you can also bet that sometime down the track (X11R7.2?) a new breakage will occur and people on this site will be "whining" about nVidia's slowness to respond to it.
Until GNU/Linux takes over the world, or the AMD/ATI merger changes the face of the industry, or some other cataclysmic event happens, I suspect that this is how life will continue to be