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trey85stang 11-10-2004 08:00 PM

nvidia interview... why oh why....
 
Quote:

LQ) At times, NVIDIA has taken a bit of flak for the Linux drivers not being Open Source. Can you tell us a little bit about why they aren't? Do you have any plans for a full open source driver, or is the long term plan to stick with one Open Source driver (nv) and one closed source driver (nvidia).
NV) We have lots of IP in our supported closed source Linux driver some of which is licensed and cannot be open sourced. While we did our best to ensure that there was open source driver (nv) for our chips available, we got lots of feedback from our professional partners as well as end users that wanted a driver that had the same quality and performance characteristics of our supported drivers for platforms such as Windows and Apple. By taking on the commitment to providing great Linux drivers for our GPUs, networking adapters/storage/audio devices we have given our end users the same Compatibility, Reliability & Stability that NVIDIA Software has become known for. We will maintain the strategy of providing both. Due to the UDA architecture, there is too much IP in the driver source to make open sourcing the driver a practicality.

LQ) Is there anything the Linux community could do to help enable the release of an Open Source driver?
NV) Not at this time.
No offense to the interviewer with this post.. This question is directed to all the Open Source only advocates out there....

Why does the above question have to be asked in every single ATI and NVIDIA interview when discussing linux drivers... Everytime they are interviewed this is asked... yet the answer is the same. IP!! they cannot release this information, they are a corporation that is in existance to make money first, provide quality second.. just as every other corpration around this globe is.

Why can't this question be dropped.. why do others whine and cry that they are not open source?? Am I the only linux users that understands why stuff like this is not open source :confused: :confused: :confused:

/rant off

Thanks
Trey

vharishankar 11-10-2004 08:39 PM

This surely is not the forum for this question. All comments on interviews must be placed in the same thread as the interview.

jeremy 11-11-2004 08:17 AM

General is fine for this I'd say. I did know the answer to that question when I asked it, but I wanted a place on LQ to be able to point people to when they asked.

--jeremy

Genesee 11-11-2004 10:32 AM

Re: nvidia interview... why oh why....
 
Quote:

Originally posted by trey85stang
Why does the above question have to be asked in every single ATI and NVIDIA interview when discussing linux drivers... Everytime they are interviewed this is asked... yet the answer is the same. IP!! they cannot release this information, they are a corporation that is in existance to make money first, provide quality second.. just as every other corpration around this globe is.
my take: "open source" is not just a nice extra feature of Linux and GPL projects, it's a fundamental element. OSS has been so successful, and will continue to be, directly due to open collaboration and the efforts of thousands of people, and that collaboration depends on others making their contributions open, as well.

although I commend nvidia for their support, they are in effect exploiting that collaboration by not contributing to it. as you said, they're in it for profit, so you have to assume selling cards to Linux users is in their interests. also, it seems a good bet that they sell cards to Linux-only users that they wouldn't have otherwise sold - so they are profiting from the free work of the community, without completely contributing to it.

that said, the argument is that "well, closed drivers are better than nothing" - that makes some sense, but it's not ideal, and not in the spirit of OSS.

:twocents:

Mega Man X 11-11-2004 10:39 AM

Re: nvidia interview... why oh why....
 
Quote:

Originally posted by trey85stang
No offense to the interviewer with this post.. This question is directed to all the Open Source only advocates out there....

Why does the above question have to be asked in every single ATI and NVIDIA interview when discussing linux drivers... Everytime they are interviewed this is asked... yet the answer is the same. IP!! they cannot release this information, they are a corporation that is in existance to make money first, provide quality second.. just as every other corpration around this globe is.

Why can't this question be dropped.. why do others whine and cry that they are not open source?? Am I the only linux users that understands why stuff like this is not open source :confused: :confused: :confused:

/rant off

Thanks
Trey

I understand your point mate. However, it's was necessary to ask that. This forum is full of questions about why the drivers aren't open source. I myself heard of licenses issues before, but I would not believe until I've heard directly from the horse's mouth... It's always good to have one official answer in the forum ratter then copying the answer from another forum. We can not trust everyone on the net, ya know ;).

Stack 11-11-2004 12:28 PM

Re: Re: nvidia interview... why oh why....
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Genesee
my take: "open source" is not just a nice extra feature of Linux and GPL projects, it's a fundamental element. OSS has been so successful, and will continue to be, directly due to open collaboration and the efforts of thousands of people, and that collaboration depends on others making their contributions open, as well.

although I commend nvidia for their support, they are in effect exploiting that collaboration by not contributing to it. as you said, they're in it for profit, so you have to assume selling cards to Linux users is in their interests. also, it seems a good bet that they sell cards to Linux-only users that they wouldn't have otherwise sold - so they are profiting from the free work of the community, without completely contributing to it.

that said, the argument is that "well, closed drivers are better than nothing" - that makes some sense, but it's not ideal, and not in the spirit of OSS.

:twocents:

:rolleyes: Poor exploited linux let's all cry now! Would someone care to explain to me how the hell you take advantage of linux when people choose to buy their hardware? You don't like Nvidia? Don't buy the cards... Really it is that simple.

PS: Nvidia will never open their drivers because open source does not protect IP. Who is going to stop ATi from reading their source and saying Oh neat i think we will incorperate that algorithm in our next release?

Genesee 11-11-2004 12:49 PM

Re: Re: Re: nvidia interview... why oh why....
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Stack
:rolleyes: Poor exploited linux let's all cry now! Would someone care to explain to me how the hell you take advantage of linux when people choose to buy their hardware? You don't like Nvidia? Don't buy the cards... Really it is that simple.
thanks for the sarcasm. put another way, nvidia is profiting by selling a product to users of an OS developed by community effort, without itself fully contributing to that effort. as I said previously, that's fine and acceptable to some, but others may disagree because it does not fit strictly within the OSS philosophy.

XavierP 11-11-2004 01:08 PM

Nvidia are not profiting by selling to users of an OS they didn't create. They are profiting by selling a product they did make. The drivers don't cost money to obtain. And OSS does not say that you can't charge for a product, go read the GPL and say where it says that you do. Remember the now legendary saying "free as in speech, not as in beer".

Genesee 11-11-2004 03:04 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by XavierP
Nvidia are not profiting by selling to users of an OS they didn't create. They are profiting by selling a product they did make. The drivers don't cost money to obtain. And OSS does not say that you can't charge for a product, go read the GPL and say where it says that you do. Remember the now legendary saying "free as in speech, not as in beer".
sure, but "free beer" isn't the same as "GPL" :D -- you can charge for distributing a GPL'd program, and distribute it in binary form provided you supply, or offer to supply, a copy of the source code as well (sec. 3). the nvidia drivers are not released under the GPL.

for example, the GPL states:
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html
Quote:

2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1 above

3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:

a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code
...
nvidia's license says:
http://www.nvidia.com/object/nv_swlicense.html
Quote:

2.1.2 Linux/FreeBSD Exception. Notwithstanding the foregoing terms of Section 2.1.1, SOFTWARE designed exclusively for use on the Linux or FreeBSD operating systems, or other operating systems derived from the source code to these operating systems, may be copied and redistributed, provided that the binary files thereof are not modified in any way (except for unzipping of compressed files).

2.1.3 Limitations. No Reverse Engineering. Customer may not reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the SOFTWARE, nor attempt in any other manner to obtain the source code.
anyway, I wasn't saying nvidia necessarily should or should not keep them closed, just offering a reason why many people are interested in the subject and keep asking about it.

XavierP 11-11-2004 03:36 PM

There are lots and lots of different licences out there, each of which is "free" to varying degrees. And don't forget, they have spent a ton of money on developing the drivers and hardware, I think they are entitled to try to recoup that.

stabile007 11-12-2004 07:50 AM

Any company who makes software for any OS is entitled to use whatever licences they feel are necesary. Just because Linux is under the GNU license does not mean nVidia needs to be. Frankly I would just be thankful that Linux is gettign any support from nVidia in terms of drivers given how craptacular ATi drivers are.

if linux is going to end up seriously competeing with Windows on the same scale I think people are just going have to accept that not everything will be released under the GNU style license and will remain closed source.

nuka_t 11-12-2004 02:08 PM

i really dont see a reason why nvidia should OS their drivers. they make good drivers that work. while they would probably improve if OS'd, there isnt a big need for it and it would make them vulnrable cause they have to release videocard specs.

ATI on the other hand has failed time and time again to make decent drivers. they are horrible. if they dont get their act together or opensource them soon, we should hack ATI and opensource their drivers on our own.

trey85stang 11-12-2004 10:01 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Harishankar
This surely is not the forum for this question. All comments on interviews must be placed in the same thread as the interview.
I did not want to trash the interview thread with a rant :)

Quote:

Originally posted by jeremy
General is fine for this I'd say. I did know the answer to that question when I asked it, but I wanted a place on LQ to be able to point people to when they asked.

--jeremy

I understand why it is asked.... and once again no offense to you for asking :)

trey85stang 11-12-2004 10:09 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Genesee
my take: "open source" is not just a nice extra feature of Linux and GPL projects, it's a fundamental element. OSS has been so successful, and will continue to be, directly due to open collaboration and the efforts of thousands of people, and that collaboration depends on others making their contributions open, as well.

although I commend nvidia for their support, they are in effect exploiting that collaboration by not contributing to it. as you said, they're in it for profit, so you have to assume selling cards to Linux users is in their interests. also, it seems a good bet that they sell cards to Linux-only users that they wouldn't have otherwise sold - so they are profiting from the free work of the community, without completely contributing to it.

that said, the argument is that "well, closed drivers are better than nothing" - that makes some sense, but it's not ideal, and not in the spirit of OSS.

:twocents:

It may just be me.. but I do not think hardware support should fall into the OSS category... Hardware is marketed to be sold... It cost money to develop hardware and to support it whther it be with a windows, linux or mac driver.

Software on the other hand can be written in someones freetime or commecially, then wrapped up with a pretty liscense to be given away... I do not think hardware falls into this category. Hardware cannot just be written... it has to be written tested thrown away written tested and approved... Lot of money involved to do that.

anyways...

good comments everyone... A lot better responses than what you see on slashdot.

nuka_t 11-13-2004 12:42 AM

what do you mean?

they arent outsourcing their cards, jsut the drivers.

and the whole of linux was created in peoples free time. im sure the linux community can handle a couple of drivers, esprecially if the bigboys at mandrake/novell/redhat get their hands on them.

what do you guys think about hte idea of nvidia giving their driver sources to the big distro companies and having them improve upon them together and release a joint propriety driver for all linux users?

that way they wont release video specifications to the public, we get better drivers and nvidia gets to lay off a couple of its workers. everybody wins. well...


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