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.
Thread beginning with comment 319918
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
don't open source nvidia...
by xushi on Wed 25th Jun 2008 10:15 UTC
Member since:

I REALLY really hope they do not open source nvidia... It, to me, shows one of the best example on how open source IS harmful, and does cause damage..

Here we are, years after years of observing ATI's open source drivers just being 10 steps back, and, to put it in one word, SHITE.. I've never had it working properly in any kernel on any distribution of Linux.. After months of trying hard (which is not i want to do), and it eventually works half well, a new kernel is released which breaks everything and you wait again and again forever.. This is personal experience many many years ago. You can check for the endless threads i created or participated in.

Nowadays, I end up with an ATI card again, and it's back to square 1 with the problems..

On the other hand, when I switched to nvidia's closed source drivers, believe it or not, they WORK! and they work right out of the box, with no hacking, spending months reading and editing, or any of that sort.. It has been like that for years on end with all the cards I got...

And guess what? I bought a new-ish nvidia card last week to replace the ATI graphics I have, and, yep, it WORKS out of the box, with just a few clicks, and my machine doesn't feel like a 486 anymore...

This to me sells it.. do not open source the drivers, otherwise you'll just ruin the drivers forever... Heck, I don't want to see what happened with Sun's Java, and Solaris, to happen with nvidia. The other two are so lost now with everyone (At least for solaris) making tons of different copies and working on their own instead of improving ONE...

anyway, i've said what i wanted to say. Some things should not be open sourced.. it's not the best solution, or even the solution for many situations.

Reply Score: 0

RE: don't open source nvidia...
by JMcCarthy on Wed 25th Jun 2008 10:22 in reply to "don't open source nvidia..."
JMcCarthy Member since:

ATI open source drivers up until recently have had to be reverse engineered. Of course the quality isn't going to be spectacular -- though considering that they're pretty decent.

Your argument fails.

Edited 2008-06-25 10:25 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 11

timefortea Member since:

ATI open source drivers up until recently have had to be reverse engineered. Of course the quality isn't going to be spectacular -- though considering that they're pretty decent.

Your argument fails.

I think that means xushi's argument does not fail. The NVidia driver is great. I specifically bought an NVidia 9600 recently because of NVidia's support of previous cards I had. I had to download a beta driver as the hardware is pretty new but guess what? Its working perfectly. No problems in two months on my 64-bit Ubuntu 8.04.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: don't open source nvidia...
by Kochise on Wed 25th Jun 2008 11:20 in reply to "don't open source nvidia..."
Kochise Member since:

All the "I don't rely proprietary code" stuff is just non-sense : nVidia drivers, Opera browser, ... ain't considered as an issue on the Windows world, why would it be on the 'open-source' FOSS ? This is plain gross... Aren't the nVidia drivers good enough ? Don't they just do the work ? What expecting much from open-source drivers ? What about 'Nouveau' then ?


Reply Parent Score: 3

Soulbender Member since:

Aren't the nVidia drivers good enough ? Don't they just do the work ?

Do they run on other architectures than x86? On OpenBSD? On Haiku?
Personally I don't care whether the source is open or not as long as the API is documented and not encumbered.

Reply Parent Score: 4

WereCatf Member since:

Aren't the nVidia drivers good enough ? Don't they just do the work ?

Atleast in my case no. You see, I have this laptop with GeForce 4 integrated, the card itself is getting a little old so nVidia won't be releasing new drivers for it, they will not make any improvements to them nor are they fixing the issues I have with them. My issues are pretty bad, too: the drivers under Linux insist I have the laptop connected to external monitor so they disable the DFP, and under both Windows and Linux they insist the DFP size is 968x768, not 1024x768 as it really is. If the drivers were open-source then someone could atleast fix the issue! OTOH, the NV linux driver correctly detects the DFP but doesn't have 3D acceleration, and Nouveau drivers are nowhere useable yet. The only way to make the the nvidia drivers work under Linux is to manually edit the xorg.conf, take a dump of the DFP edid and modify it with a hexeditor and add that too to the xorg.conf. Under Windows I either have to use Omega drivers which won't allow higher res than 968x768 or the horribly, horribly outdated Toshiba-released drivers..

So, are you still saying OSS wouldn't help anyone?

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE: don't open source nvidia...
by Redeeman on Wed 25th Jun 2008 12:07 in reply to "don't open source nvidia..."
Redeeman Member since:

you do ofcourse realize that the drivers which breaks on new kernels are the closed ones... are you perhaps confused? this is exactly the type of thing which ALSO happens with nvidia, but NOT the free drivers..

Reply Parent Score: 4

Kochise Member since:

Don't move of kernel then... The nVidia proprietary drivers is a known issue for quite a long time now, why the Hell such intelligent people like you are STILL using these hardware while it is known to cause trouble ? Are you all masochists ?


Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: don't open source nvidia...
by elanthis on Wed 25th Jun 2008 15:02 in reply to "don't open source nvidia..."
elanthis Member since:

Congratulations on being a dumbass. The ATI open source drivers have been reversed engined until (very!) recently, and of course they'd be crappy in that case. The Intel drivers -- which are Open Source, but supported and developed by Intel engineers -- are damn nice, and the new ATI drivers are coming along at a quick pace (even a proprietary driver can't be developed any faster - most proprietary drivers are started on years before the hardware they're designed for hits the market). NVIDIA "just works" because it's been around a long time and NVIDIA has access to the full specs for the cards, not because it's closed source.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: don't open source nvidia...
by jabbotts on Wed 25th Jun 2008 15:21 in reply to "don't open source nvidia..."
jabbotts Member since:

Until AMD baught ATI, the OSS ATI driver was based on reverse engineering. The developers did a heck of a job without any support from the hardware manufacturer. In comparison, the ATI provided closed source driver was shite; no 3D framerate above 20 even aftare archain "adjustments" and every howto I could lay eyes on.

Again, in comparison, the ATI supported OSS drivers for the newer GPU seem to be doing very well.

Why can't ATI release hardaware specs and/or put all that IP crap in the chips behind a generic driver interface?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: don't open source nvidia...
by irbis on Wed 25th Jun 2008 18:16 in reply to "don't open source nvidia..."
irbis Member since:

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

Reply Parent Score: 3