Linus Torvalds, the chief architect of the Linux kernel, railed against Nvidia for its approach to Linux. Nvidia officials said they won’t change the way they support Linux.
Nvidia officials are not going to change the
way they approach Linux, regardless of the obscenity-laced rant aimed at it by
the man who helped create the open-source Linux kernel, Linus Torvalds.
Speaking at the Aalto Centre for
Entrepreneurship in Finland June 14, Torvalds was asked about Nvidia and its
lack of support for Linux. Torvalds, whose talk was taped
tore into Nvidia, noting that the graphics chip maker still does little to
support the open-source technology while at the same time trying to court the
Android device space with its Tegra line of chips based on ARM Holdings
I know exactly what youre talking about,
Torvalds said in answering the question. Im very happy to say that its the
exception rather than the rule, and Im also very happy to point out that
Nvidia has been one of the worst trouble spots weve had with hardware
manufacturers. That is really sad because Nvidia has tried to sell a lot of
chips in to the Android market, and Nvidia has been the single worst company
weve ever dealt with, so Nvidia, [expletive] you.
He then turned to the camera and showed
his middle finger.
Torvalds brief tirade garnered a lot of
attention, but it took Nvidia officials several days to respond. The response
essentially was that nothings changing.
While we understand that some people would
prefer us to provide detailed documentation on all of our GPU internals, or be
more active in Linux kernel community development discussions, we have made a
decision to support Linux on our GPUs by leveraging Nvidia common code, rather
than the Linux common structure, they said in a prepared response. While this
might not please everyone, it does allow us to provide the most consistent GPU
experience to our customers, regardless of platform or operating system.
Nvidia officials noted that their Optimus
notebook technology supports only Microsofts Windows 7, but noted that the
open-source community worked around that with the help of the Bumblebee Open
Source Project. In response, Nvidia made changes to the installer and readme
files in some drivers that made working with Bumblebee easier.
They argued that because of such steps
as offering greater support for Bumblebee and using the Nvidia common code,
Linux users get same-day support for new GPUs, OpenGL parity between Windows
and Linux support from Nvidia, and equal OpenGL performance between Windows and
Linux on Nvidia products.
In addition, a wide range of Nvidia
GPUsincluding the latest GeForce, Quadro and Tesla graphics chipssupport Linux
in notebooks and desktops, and that Nvidia is an active participant in the ARM
At the end of the day, providing a
consistent GPU experience across multiple platforms for all of our customers
continues to be one of our key goals, the Nvidia officials said.