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Old 01-30-07, 08:47 AM   #1
obra
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Default nvidia reactions to Greg Kroah-Hartman's announcement.

I just read over at the linux kernel mailinglist about an offer from the kernel developers to develop and support drivers for free.

"All that is needed is some kind of specification that describes how your
device works, or the email address of an engineer that is willing to
answer questions every once in a while."


"If your company is worried about NDA issues surrounding your device's
specifications, we have arranged a program with OSDL/TLF's Tech Board to
provide the legal framework where a company can interact with a member
of the kernel community in order to properly assure that all needed NDA
requirements are fulfilled."


I realize this announcement is probably more targeted at companies with no linux support at all, but i'm still curious on nvidias reactions. It would be great to hear if nvidia plans to continue as usual with their gfx-drivers, or perhaps take the linux devs. up on their offer.
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Old 01-30-07, 12:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: nvidia reactions to Greg Kroah-Hartman's announcement.

The "All that is needed is some kind of specification that describes how your device works" part may be practical for some simple USB widget, or maybe something as complex as a network card.
I fail to see how even such a description, for a video card, would result in a free driver within reasonable amount of time.
The Nvidia driver module is 7.2 megabytes of binary code. While part of that is probably explained by a monolytic structure with similar code for many different chipsets, there really is a lot to write, debug and support.
For example, the Intel-supported driver for modern ethernet chipsets (with a lot of advanced features) is only 117 kilobytes, or 62 times smaller.
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Old 01-30-07, 12:28 PM   #3
obra
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Default Re: nvidia reactions to Greg Kroah-Hartman's announcement.

Well i guess i was focusing a bit more on the NDA-aspects in the offer. I have no doubt lots of devs would be interested so i doubt that part would be an issue.
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Old 01-30-07, 03:19 PM   #4
macemoneta
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Default Re: nvidia reactions to Greg Kroah-Hartman's announcement.

The 3D driver for Nvidia video cards is already being developed, without Nvidia's support, by Nouveau.
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Old 01-30-07, 06:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: nvidia reactions to Greg Kroah-Hartman's announcement.

But I think we would all prefer that there was a way to get nvidias support and specifications at the very least..

I just don't know why they are slow to realize how this is important. Every time I have a problem with something my card doesn't support yet I have to wonder, would it be supported if we had more openness from Nvidia? Maybe so, maybe not, but it definitely would not hurt one bit. So how about that?
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Old 01-30-07, 06:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: nvidia reactions to Greg Kroah-Hartman's announcement.

Well, that's one reason that Nvidia is the number three video card manufacturer.

Their Linux support is second best (after Intel). Their GPU performance is better, but now that both Intel and AMD/ATI will be competing on performance, I don't expect that lead to last more than 3 years.

By then, Nvidia may be picked up by a third tier CPU vendor (maybe VIA) in order to compete with the CPU/GPUs from Intel and AMD. I've been in this industry for over 30 years; I can wait a few more.
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Old 01-31-07, 02:32 PM   #7
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Default Re: nvidia reactions to Greg Kroah-Hartman's announcement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macemoneta
By then, Nvidia may be picked up by a third tier CPU vendor (maybe VIA) in order to compete with the CPU/GPUs from Intel and AMD. I've been in this industry for over 30 years; I can wait a few more.
VIA already makes integrated graphic chips. VIA also has S3 which make graphics cards. I think Nvidia will start making own CPUs. There were rumors about that some time ago.

The interesting thing to look at is SiS. What they do with chipsets if the big four will be making cheap C/GPUs? Gamers are minority of the market so almost everyone else will be happy with C/GPUs.

The future is in C/GPUs with common instruction set plus some extensions to have comparative advantage. Open, easy to code , no bus hogging.
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Old 02-02-07, 01:59 AM   #8
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Default Re: nvidia reactions to Greg Kroah-Hartman's announcement.

If I understand what is happening with xorg 7.2 and 7.3, both Nvidia and ATI probably will have a VERY tough time making their drivers work in the future. One solution is of course for either of them to open source their drivers, but I (personally) believe that there are some things that would cause a lot of problems if their driver source was ever exposed (e.g. it has things that if seen could get either company is a mess load of trouble).
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Old 02-02-07, 03:06 AM   #9
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Default Re: nvidia reactions to Greg Kroah-Hartman's announcement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjcox
if their driver source was ever exposed
Releasing source of the existing driver is not the topic of this thread.
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Old 02-03-07, 05:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: nvidia reactions to Greg Kroah-Hartman's announcement.

Well, then the thread is useless since it is asking for Nvidia's official response to the kernel team's offer to help with driver development. Nvidia is currently a closed source driver company (and there isn't a shred of evidence that Nivida is considering opening up). Therefore... if this thread isn't about Nvidia coming to the table, then there can be no official response. Just my two cents.

As far as I'm concerned, Nvidia's "official" response is "take a hike!" But I too, would love to see Nvidia take the kernel developers up on their offer. So... how is this NOT part of this thread again??

Or are you suggesting that Nvidia would actually publish enough internals for a clean room implementation? Sorry.. but AFAIK, the hardware internals and the closed source (secret) driver are joined at the hip.
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