Few companies have been the target of as much criticism in the Linux community as Nvidia. Linus Torvalds himself last year called Nvidia the “single worst company” Linux developers have ever worked with, giving the company his middle finger in a public talk.
Nvidia is now trying to get on Linux developers’ good side. Yesterday, Nvidia’s Andy Ritger e-mailed developers of Nouveau, an open source driver for Nvidia cards that is built by reverse engineering Nvidia’s proprietary drivers. Ritger wrote that “NVIDIA is releasing public documentation on certain aspects of our GPUs, with the intent to address areas that impact the out-of-the-box usability of NVIDIA GPUs with Nouveau. We intend to provide more documentation over time, and guidance in additional areas as we are able.”
It wouldn’t surprise me if this is related to the SteamOS announcement.
This also might have helped them revise their policy about publishing some docs:
Whatever their reasons might be, overall I believe this is a great move and a big win for the open source community and the Linux desktop as the out of the box experience can only be improved from now on.
That was my immediate reaction as well. But thinking about it, it would take a while before the open source drivers were truly ready for gaming, even with Nvidia’s help. And given that at this point they are still just dangling carrots, it could be years before we see Nvidia-assisted open drivers competing with their closed source ones.