Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Jun 2008 09:49 UTC
3D News, GL, DirectX Yesterday, we reported on the statement several kernel developers had signed that urged hardware manufacturers to open up their Linux modules and drivers. "We, the undersigned Linux kernel developers, consider any closed-source Linux kernel module or driver to be harmful and undesirable," the statement read. Nvidia, which delivers probably the most prominent closed-source Linux driver, has reiterated its position concerning this matter.
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RE: don't open source nvidia...
by irbis on Wed 25th Jun 2008 18:16 UTC in reply to "don't open source nvidia..."
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It is the dedication and the amount of resources and expertise put into development that matters - not actually so much whether the software / hardware / drivers are open source or closed source. But - naturally open sourcing could help in many cases by providing more resources for the development from the community.

Nvidia is a closed source company but they have put lots work and money also into making their proprietary Linux drivers work well. It is that dedication and hard work that has made those Nvidia Linux drivers work relatively well.

The problem of proprietary closed source development is, of course, the restricted development resources that a single company can have. Like some have already mentioned here, some older Nvidia cards may not get good driver updates anymore etc. In that sense open sourcing could help a lot.

As another example, Matrox used to be a relatively Linux-friendly video card manufacturer, at least many years ago. But the proprietary drivers for their newest cards have not been too good anymore. Matrox didn't seem to have the resources to support Linux better anymore. Their closed source development model did certainly not help them a bit in that sense. On the other hand, open sourcing could have helped as they would then get lots of help from the community for their Linux development. But they were not interested - and lost lots of Linux customers because of that.

Open source means that customers can fix (and see) problems by themselves and improve and tweak the product to suit their personal needs better. By taking the open source route many especially smaller hardware companies could benefit a lot from the extra community resources as they would not have to compete with the big players all by themselves in driver development.

Edited 2008-06-25 18:27 UTC

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