Monday, 25 June 2012

Nvidia responds to Torvalds by citing Linux ARM kernel contributions

CHIP DESIGNER Nvidia has replied to Linux founder Linus Torvalds' stinging criticism over the firm's lack of Linux video driver support by saying that it is one of the biggest contributors to the Linux kernel for ARM architectures.

Nvidia got some harsh criticism earlier in the week when Torvalds said the firm is "the single worst company" he's ever had to deal with while working with Linux. Torvalds' criticism centred around Nvidia's Optimus graphics switching technology, which has at best had patchy Linux support, something Nvidia said has recently been changed to improve its usability.

The firm said, "Recently, there have been some questions raised about our lack of support for our Optimus notebook technology. When we launched our Optimus notebook technology, 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."

Nvidia's statement also included an admission that by using "Nvidia common code" rather than the Linux driver infrastructure, the firm would not please everyone. However Nvidia claimed that the move allows it to "provide the most consistent GPU experience to our customers, regardless of platform or operating system", a statement that long-term Linux users might find hard to believe.

Eventually Nvidia tried to quash the notion that it doesn't do much for the Linux community by talking up its work in the ARM Linux kernel, which of course is used by Android and runs on Tegra devices. The company said, "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 organizations."

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