bit-tech.net

Nvidia responds to Torvalds' Linux attack

Nvidia responds to Torvalds' Linux attack

Linus Torvalds' attack on Nvidia - concisely summed up by the above video still - is unfounded, the company has claimed.

Nvidia has moved to address the fallout of Linux creator Linus Torvald's comments regarding the company's failure to properly support the open-source operating system, in a speech during which he branded Nvidia the 'single worst company we have ever dealt with.'

The outburst, prompted by an audience question about Linux support for Nvidia's graphics products, ended with Torvalds raising his middle finger and sending a short, sharp message: 'Nvidia: F*** YOU.'

While Torvald's somewhat innovative approach to partner relations met with applause from the audience - aside from a poor Nvidia employee, who would go on to defend his company later in the speech - both Nvidia and Torvalds have come under fire in the aftermath. Nvidia is finding itself under attack by Linux enthusiasts, emboldened by their leader's speech, for failing to add support for its Optimus power-saving technology to its binary-blob closed-source Linux driver and its refusal to open up its platform for an open-source driver effort. Torvalds, meanwhile, has been accused of a lack of professionalism in his attack on Linux Foundation member Nvidia.

In response to Torvalds' comments, Nvidia's PR department has issued a statement in which the company claims - contrary to comments made by a PR staffer at the company's CeBIT meeting area last year, in which it was clearly stated that 'Linux is not a focus' - to view the open-source platform as important to its own success. Well it might, too: its Tegra family of ARM-based system-on-chip processors have proved popular thanks largely to their support for the Linux-based Android mobile platform from Google.

'Supporting Linux is important to Nvidia,' the statement begins, 'and we understand that there are people who are as passionate about Linux as an open source platform as we are passionate about delivering an awesome GPU experience. Recently, there have been some questions raised about our lack of support for our Optimus notebook technology. When we launched [Optimus], it was with support for Windows 7 only. The open source community rallied to work around this with support from the Bumblebee Open Source Project and, as a result, we've recently made Installer and readme changes in our R295 drivers that were designed to make interaction with Bumblebee easier.

'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 infrastructure,' the statement continues - scotching hopes that Torvalds' scathing attack would convince Nvidia to follow AMD in releasing open-source drivers for its graphics products. 'While this may not please everyone, it does allow us to provide the most consistent GPU experience to our customers, regardless of platform or operating system.'

In addition to addressing concerns regarding Optimus - support for which the company seems happy to leave to third-party backwards-engineered hacks - and the lack of an official open-source driver tree, Nvidia claimed that its support for Linux is not as bad as Torvalds had painted. 'Linux end users benefit from same-day support for new GPUs , OpenGL version and extension parity between Nvidia Windows and Nvidia Linux support, and OpenGL performance parity between NVIDIA Nvidia and Nvidia Linux,' the company claimed in the statement.

'We support a wide variety of GPUs on Linux, including our latest GeForce, Quadro, and Tesla-class GPUs, for both desktop and notebook platforms. Our drivers for these platforms are updated regularly, with seven updates released so far this year for Linux alone. We are a very active participant in the ARM Linux kernel. For the latest 3.4 ARM kernel – the next-gen kernel to be used on future Linux, Android, and Chrome distributions – Nvidia ranks second in terms of total lines changed and fourth in terms of number of changesets for all employers or organisations.'

Although Nvidia's statement - which can be read in full over on Linux news site Phoronix - is significantly better than silence, the company's critics in the open-source world will likely find little comfort in ARM kernel contributions until the official drivers receive Optimus support and Nvidia creates an open-source driver tree. Sadly, judging by Nvidia's official stance on the matter, neither seems likely.

27 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
kenco_uk 20th June 2012, 13:12 Quote
I wish NVidia would fix the lack of power saving features on the HTC One X. It doesn't switch to the companion core when idling, apparently... still.
kosch 20th June 2012, 13:48 Quote
Nvidia should have responded by posting a video of their staff clubbing penguins.

Anyone ever see that ATI power rangers video?
Aracos 20th June 2012, 19:48 Quote
In other words they still won't provide the support themselves? Also saying it was an "attack" is a little strong. He didn't actively start slagging off Nvidia for no reason, he was asked a question about them and their support, he did go a bit far sticking his middle finger up but as he said, he likes offending people that get offended.
SexyHyde 21st June 2012, 01:16 Quote
Love Linus for this, an open honest statement about a company, it's really rather refreshing. Its not like nvidia can stop linux support its on everything now, bar home computers (yes you and i may have it and it may be good but nearly everyone else has windows or a modified bsd os). Back in the day everyone thought open source wouldn't be profitable, but it is, if anything its made companies more flexible and profitable. Hell Red Hat just took $1.13 BILLION!!!!!! Linux is in strong growth so nvidia should do the smart business thing and embrace the growing market. not just support certain parts and starve others.
fluxtatic 21st June 2012, 07:22 Quote
I wish Nvidia's response, in terms of support for desktop Linux, had been Jen-Hsun Huang raising his middle finger and giving Linus a "**** you" himself, then announcing they would cease further development.

I admire all Linux (and Linus) have done - not bad for something that started when he was looking for something to do over a Christmas break. (Which, reminds me - how was it Stallman went twenty years without a kernel for the GNU project, then got even more self-righteously douchey about how it's really "GNU/Linux"?) However, Linux, as a desktop platform pisses me off. I recently took a stab at it again, with Mint. After several frustrating days trying to sort out what sort of package I needed for this or that, what finally killed it was not being able to find remote software that would work. I tried every free VNC package I could find. I found a package that allowed usage of RDP, but only the wrong direction - I need to get to Linux from Windows, not the other way around. Finally I gave up, formatted, and installed Windows again. It's telling that they still around 2% marketshare, and don't give me any BS about MS' monopolistic tendencies. People don't use it because it still, 20 years on, is not user-friendly enough.

As I said, though, I admire the reach of Linux - TVs and refrigerators up to CERN (iirc) phones, data centers - you can't deny it's been wildly successful. Still doesn't give the dude license to be an asshole about it.
fdgjk 21st June 2012, 08:27 Quote
Love Linus for this, an open honest statement about a company, it's really rather refreshing. Its not like nvidia can stop linux support its on everything now, bar home computers (yes you and i may have it and it may be good but nearly everyone else has windows or a modified bsd os).
Snips 21st June 2012, 10:56 Quote
A good, honest and professional response from Nvidia. It's a shame Linus couldn't have done the same.

WELL DONE NVIDIA
fdbh96 21st June 2012, 11:56 Quote
If Linux users thinkt the drivers are bad now...
Phil Rhodes 21st June 2012, 12:31 Quote
I think this little episode tells you most of what you need to know about the professionalism of the Linux "community", inasmuch as the word is appropriate when you're trying to describe a bunch of teenaged amateurs banging away in the back bedroom who don't even seem to like each other very much, let alone the poor users.
Gareth Halfacree 21st June 2012, 12:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
I think this little episode tells you most of what you need to know about the professionalism of the Linux "community", inasmuch as the word is appropriate when you're trying to describe a bunch of teenaged amateurs banging away in the back bedroom who don't even seem to like each other very much, let alone the poor users.
Suuure. Teenage amateurs. Back bedrooms. Whatever you say, Phil. Whatever you say.

Do you know what companies *were* founded by teenage amateurs working in college bedrooms and back bedrooms? Microsoft and Apple, respectively.
PCBuilderSven 21st June 2012, 19:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxtatic
I wish Nvidia's response, in terms of support for desktop Linux, had been Jen-Hsun Huang raising his middle finger and giving Linus a "**** you" himself, then announcing they would cease further development.

And all the Linux community would be happy with VESA or nouveau.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxtatic
However, Linux, as a desktop platform pisses me off. I recently took a stab at it again, with Mint. After several frustrating days trying to sort out what sort of package I needed for this or that, what finally killed it was not being able to find remote software that would work. I tried every free VNC package I could find. I found a package that allowed usage of RDP, but only the wrong direction - I need to get to Linux from Windows, not the other way around.

Then maybe you should try using a remote desktop protocol (such as VNC/RFB) that, unlike RDP, isn't a proprietary protocol designed by Microsoft to be as hard a possible to copy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
I think this little episode tells you most of what you need to know about the professionalism of the Linux "community", inasmuch as the word is appropriate when you're trying to describe a bunch of teenaged amateurs banging away in the back bedroom who don't even seem to like each other very much, let alone the poor users.
Suuure. Teenage amateurs. Back bedrooms. Whatever you say, Phil. Whatever you say.

Do you know what companies *were* founded by teenage amateurs working in college bedrooms and back bedrooms? Microsoft and Apple, respectively.

^ Exactly.
Phil Rhodes 22nd June 2012, 02:46 Quote
Quote:
Do you know what companies *were* founded by teenage amateurs working in college bedrooms and back bedrooms? Microsoft and Apple, respectively.

The difference, of course, being that both Microsoft and Apple have produced operating systems that are usable by average humans. Red Hat has been banging on about Linux for very nearly two decades and in my view has still failed to do so.
SexyHyde 22nd June 2012, 03:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
Quote:
Do you know what companies *were* founded by teenage amateurs working in college bedrooms and back bedrooms? Microsoft and Apple, respectively.

The difference, of course, being that both Microsoft and Apple have produced operating systems that are usable by average humans. Red Hat has been banging on about Linux for very nearly two decades and in my view has still failed to do so.

GET OUT! *points to door* Red Hat has failed so bad....your right....it's not like they made $1.13 BILLION last year. Oh and what are your views on Windows 8 usability?
JA12 22nd June 2012, 03:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxtatic
However, Linux, as a desktop platform pisses me off. I recently took a stab at it again, with Mint. After several frustrating days trying to sort out what sort of package I needed for this or that, what finally killed it was not being able to find remote software that would work.
I tried every free VNC package I could find. I found a package that allowed usage of RDP, but only the wrong direction - I need to get to Linux from Windows, not the other way around. Finally I gave up, formatted, and installed Windows again. It's telling that they still around 2% marketshare, and don't give me any BS about MS' monopolistic tendencies. People don't use it because it still, 20 years on, is not user-friendly enough.

Your first mistake is to assume that you need to view your desktop to remotely access it because that's how you do it on Windows. Your second mistake is to assume that it's the only way of doing it. Your third mistake is to use Mint with either Cinnamon or Mate desktop environments, that are Mint project's completely new DE's and have issues with VNC connections. I know, why is it your fault when they have issues? Because your first and second assumptions and because they could have removed VNC capabilities until they're ready, but those are less used and might work with workarounds, and that wouldn't stop anyone who thinks (desktop) Linux = 1 graphical interface bitching that they can't remotely access their machine.

There has been easy and secure way to remotely access your machine since 1995 when SSH was made public to replace telnet and rlogin. It's mainly command line interface because it's fast and you can completely control your remote machine with it. Running GUI on a remote machine is a waste of resources. You can control your machine, transfer files, connect to another machines, do other connection tricks, and even launch a GUI application and view its window on your local machine. Yes, even if you connect from Windows. How would you do that last trick the other way around again? You either buy/install/configure Citrix or you virtualize Windows, because Windows is so user friendly, secure, and efficient.

Then there's other options to remotely manage your machine and/or applications. You can use free or paid apps to use VNC, free or paid apps to set up a terminal server, web interfaces that you get for some software or manage the machine's processes through it. The latest thing is to use Chrome remote desktop extension, which is designed to assist other (less technical) people that have their machines behind a NAT.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxtatic
As I said, though, I admire the reach of Linux - TVs and refrigerators up to CERN (iirc) phones, data centers - you can't deny it's been wildly successful.

Not bad. To add to your list: Hollywood (desktops & servers), European car manufacturers (desktops & servers), stock exchanges (servers), US military in subs/UGVs/USVs/UAVs/ground control (desktop, servers, embedded), aviation (desktop, servers, embedded), space exploration (mainly servers & embedded), public administration (desktop & servers), education (desktop & servers), networking gear in consumer and enterprise level (servers, embedded), all sorts of big and small IT companies that make their money by using/developing/selling Linux, and the list goes on.

They didn't give the Millennium Technology Prize for Torvalds just because of 331 million Android devices. Why would they do that?
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxtatic
Still doesn't give the dude license to be an asshole about it.
Correct. You need to register on Bit-Tech forums for that.

Although, Nvidia had it coming.
Gareth Halfacree 22nd June 2012, 10:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
The difference, of course, being that both Microsoft and Apple have produced operating systems that are usable by average humans. Red Hat has been banging on about Linux for very nearly two decades and in my view has still failed to do so.
So you're now saying that being a teenage amateur working in a back bedroom *isn't* a problem, and can result in "operating systems that are usable by average humans?" If you're going to argue, pick an argument and stick to it. Which is it to be: Linux is rubbish because it's made by teenage amateurs working in back bedrooms - in which case you're tarring Microsoft and Apple with the same brush - or Linux is rubbish because you don't understand it - in which case I think the set of things you think are rubbish might just be uncountable. Do you understand flight mechanics? I don't, but I don't think they're rubbish - especially when I'm 30,000 feet in the air.
BLC 22nd June 2012, 13:17 Quote
I'm sick of Linux-bashing on these forums.

Each major platform - Mac OS X, Windows & Linux - has it's advantages over the others. To name at least a few examples: in Windows' case, it's enterprise connectivity/compatibility and games; in the case of OS X, it's simplicity and usability for people who've never even so much as looked at a computer before (plus the flexibility of the BSD-like core, for the more technically inclined); Linux may be seen as less user-friendly (though I'd contest that), but it's infinitely more flexible and powerful, and doesn't require the latest and greatest hardware to run it. Too much bloat in your kernel? Recompile it. Don't want all the un-necessary packages and guff? Uninstall them or, better yet, don't install them in the first place. Want to tweak, customise and optimise every single aspect of your OS? Build your own OS from scratch.

None of this makes Linux "better" than the others; by the same rationale the respective advantages of OS X and Windows don't make them "better" than Linux, or even each other. An OS is fundamentally a tool to get something done with your hardware; like any tool, some are better at certain tasks than others. I wouldn't run a DNS server or high-volume web server under Windows, and I wouldn't host an enterprise email or domain server with Linux (well... If it was my choice I would, but in the real world I recognise that there are practicalities to consider such as end-user familiarity, desktop compatibility, ease/cost of maintenance, etc).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
So you're now saying that being a teenage amateur working in a back bedroom *isn't* a problem, and can result in "operating systems that are usable by average humans?" If you're going to argue, pick an argument and stick to it. Which is it to be: Linux is rubbish because it's made by teenage amateurs working in back bedrooms - in which case you're tarring Microsoft and Apple with the same brush - or Linux is rubbish because you don't understand it - in which case I think the set of things you think are rubbish might just be uncountable. Do you understand flight mechanics? I don't, but I don't think they're rubbish - especially when I'm 30,000 feet in the air.

:D
BLC 22nd June 2012, 13:37 Quote
On the slightly tangential subject of low-power hardware... @Gareth: I've just noticed the link in your sig regarding the R-Pi manual... I also notice that Eben Upton is co-author; is this going to be a formal publication by the Foundation?

And forgive me for asking, but... Given the aims/goals of the Foundation, the inevitably open-source nature of the majority of the software that the Pi will run and the fact that there's an awful lot of material already freely available online, do you think it's "wrong" to profit by selling a manual? Especially when the manual is nearly half the cost of the Pi itself - EDIT: Ignore that - I totally misread the price... (That's not a judgement on my part, by the way - I'm not saying that I think it's "wrong", and I'm not implying that there will be any profit made)
Gareth Halfacree 22nd June 2012, 13:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLC
On the slightly tangential subject of low-power hardware... @Gareth: I've just noticed the link in your sig regarding the R-Pi manual... I also notice that Eben Upton is co-author; is this going to be a formal publication by the Foundation?
No, it's published by Wiley & Sons. It's endorsed by the Foundation, but not a product of the Foundation - merely of one of its founding members.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLC
And forgive me for asking, but... Given the aims/goals of the Foundation, the inevitably open-source nature of the majority of the software that the Pi will run and the fact that there's an awful lot of material already freely available online, do you think it's "wrong" to profit by selling a manual?
Depends whose profit you're talking about. Do I think it's wrong that I make a few pence (and it is a few pence) per copy sold, considering I've spent the best part of two months writing over two hundred pages of content? No, not at all. In fact, I'd be happier if I made more profit - but there we are. Do I think it's wrong that Eben makes a few pence per copy sold? No. It's his project, and the book is an optional extra - you don't need it to use the Pi. If people want it, they can buy it. If they don't, they don't have to - just like all the multifarious add-on boards, cases, pre-flashed SD cards, power bricks and so forth that have appeared.

Do I think it's wrong for Wiley & Sons to make a (far larger) profit from the publication of the book? No. Getting a book made isn't cheap - you should see the list of people involved in the production of this one - and it's a risk: if it doesn't sell, Wiley could be left with a warehouse filled with dead trees. Remember, too, that Farnell and RS make a profit on every Raspberry Pi sold - as does Broadcom.

It's true that some - but not all - of the software the Pi will run is open-source, but remember the saying: free as in speech, not as in beer. Take a look at the number of Linux books on Amazon - are they wrong? Personally, I don't think so. There's a heck of a lot of work goes into a book, and it's right that people are rewarded for that.

But, as you say, this is a bit off-topic. :)
BLC 22nd June 2012, 14:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
No, it's published by Wiley & Sons. It's endorsed by the Foundation, but not a product of the Foundation - merely of one of its founding members.

Depends whose profit you're talking about. Do I think it's wrong that I make a few pence (and it is a few pence) per copy sold, considering I've spent the best part of two months writing over two hundred pages of content? No, not at all. In fact, I'd be happier if I made more profit - but there we are. Do I think it's wrong that Eben makes a few pence per copy sold? No. It's his project, and the book is an optional extra - you don't need it to use the Pi. If people want it, they can buy it. If they don't, they don't have to - just like all the multifarious add-on boards, cases, pre-flashed SD cards, power bricks and so forth that have appeared.

Do I think it's wrong for Wiley & Sons to make a (far larger) profit from the publication of the book? No. Getting a book made isn't cheap - you should see the list of people involved in the production of this one - and it's a risk: if it doesn't sell, Wiley could be left with a warehouse filled with dead trees. Remember, too, that Farnell and RS make a profit on every Raspberry Pi sold - as does Broadcom.

It's true that some - but not all - of the software the Pi will run is open-source, but remember the saying: free as in speech, not as in beer. Take a look at the number of Linux books on Amazon - are they wrong? Personally, I don't think so. There's a heck of a lot of work goes into a book, and it's right that people are rewarded for that.

But, as you say, this is a bit off-topic. :)

Like I said, I wasn't making a judgement call at all; I'm not trying to say that it's wrong to reward someone for their work. The Amazon page gives very little info and it wasn't clear who was actually going to be publishing it. In fact if anything, I'd say that's a bit of a bargain price for a manual released by a major publishing company; I can certainly understand the financial risk involved in their part. Perhaps bringing "open-source" into it was a bit of a misleading characterisation of what I was trying to say; there is indeed nothing wrong with profiting from open source material, provided you adhere to any applicable license.

I guess I'm just coming at it from a different point of view; that of someone who doesn't make his living from putting words to page. I do occasionally write guides, how-to documents, tutorials, etc (maybe not on these forums and not necessarily for the Pi), and some of the posts on my site in the past have bordered on essay-length pieces. I do enjoy it, but I don't consider it something that I would get paid for; in reality I'm probably not really that good at it, and people probably aren't interested in the guff/waffle that I write!

Tangent/musings over :)... OT: Nvidia are a pain in the a**e when it comes to supporting Linux, and Linus Torvalds can be a bit of a troll! (Albeit a troll who usually has a good point :))
Phil Rhodes 22nd June 2012, 19:15 Quote
Quote:
So you're now saying that being a teenage amateur working in a back bedroom *isn't* a problem

Only inasmuch as any of the biggest players are actually described by that.

The interesting thing about Red Hat is the RPM system, which if anything seems to be even less reliable than apt, which in itself is so flaky that it makes me mutter "just give me a damned installer and stop farting about."
Fizzban 22nd June 2012, 20:27 Quote
Has anyone read the first thread, and then this one? The fanboyisum on both sides is hilarious. It pretty much wipes out any point either side wanted to make.

This makes me laugh..no really, it does. I won't add my own opinion simply because it would get converted to one side or another.

This could be attributed to my warped humour, or it could simply be you guys cannot have a balanced argument without creaming yourselves over your preferred side.
SexyHyde 23rd June 2012, 00:26 Quote
I don't have a side. I prefer Linux over Windows, but I only have Windows 7 installed on my system as I am a PC gamer. I have Virtualbox installed (I hate dual booting) so i can test other operating systems, and keep my views on them topped up.

Linus isn't a troll. He is effectively the "CEO" of "Linux Corp" only he isn't actually CEO and there is no Linux Corp, so he can be as truthful as he likes about things. I like him as there is no pandering to anyone, he is honest about his views and the reasons behind them. He doesn't seem like an unreasonable man. It's just every other person at his level has to please shareholders, whereas Linus just wants to enable people to use technology to please themselves.
PCBuilderSven 23rd June 2012, 11:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
Quote:
So you're now saying that being a teenage amateur working in a back bedroom *isn't* a problem

Only inasmuch as any of the biggest players are actually described by that.

The interesting thing about Red Hat is the RPM system, which if anything seems to be even less reliable than apt, which in itself is so flaky that it makes me mutter "just give me a damned installer and stop farting about."

RPM and APT are different things - APT is a front-end (to DPKG), RPM is a back-end (often with the zypper front-end).

Anyway, since when was apt (and DPKG) ever flaky? Maybe since you didn't know how to use it properly and screwed it up? Very old versions of zypper (and RPM) were sometimes slow and a bit flaky, but newer versions are stable. Both are miles better than Windows Installer and InstallShield.
Phil Rhodes 23rd June 2012, 15:33 Quote
Usually I'm just told to type "apt-get install foobar", which in my experience causes the screen to fill with error messages and not much else.
SexyHyde 23rd June 2012, 15:46 Quote
Phil is a learner troll in the linux section. Same OLD irrelevant points from linux of yesteryear.
Phil Rhodes 23rd June 2012, 15:54 Quote
If only.

As usual I am forced to point out that these problems will not be overcome by everyone pretending they don't exist, which seems to be the usual approach of the opensource community.
SexyHyde 23rd June 2012, 23:47 Quote
Phil if your serious about this, and your not being a troll, I urge you to try linux mint 13 cinnamon. Just give it a whirl. I can honestly say hand on heart it is one of the easiest systems to setup and use, on par with win 7. Win 8 is the worst OS I have used by far. Even worse than some of the linux distros from around 10 years ago. Which I admit were poor.
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums