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Old 07-31-06, 04:34 PM   #31
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 40
Default Re: Opinions on driver license

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 .
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