Opinion: NVIDIA drivers are a BAD Thing [tm]

Luc Bouchard luc at luker.on.ca
Tue May 18 20:21:10 UTC 2004

Sean Estabrooks said:
> So, to the question of how to promote more open source adoption.
> It seems to be well accepted that the market place _rules_ and every dollar
> spent is a vote.   Being simplistic then, the more "votes" that companies
> get because they support open source (intel seems to be a pretty good actor
> these days for example)  the better.    The fewer "votes" that companies
> who don't support open source get (NVIDIA in this case) the better.

You are forgetting one thing here Sean, economies of scale.  Let's assume that NVIDIA
makes 1 million cards per year.  Let's be generous and say that 5% of those cards end up
in Linux boxes (and I'm being VERY generous with that number).  Then let's say that 50%
of those machines are run by people that are principled in thought and would only use
Open Source drivers.  This means that NVIDIA engineers need to make a business case to
management and share holders to satisfy 25,000 clients  out of 1 million.  Most
management would say tough luck.  They do provide Linux drivers and for them that is
enough, whether this is principled or not is irrelevant.  Most business will not cater
to the common good, but only to the corporate wallet.

Don't get me wrong I do very much believe that these drivers should be open sourced, but
I will not extort a company to suit my whims against their profitability and their
intellectual property.   A business is a business and must follow their own business
plans and policies.  When the total percentage of desktops that don't run a windows OS
climbs about 15% then you might see companies like NVIDIA cater to small interest
groups.  Until then keep spreading the message of Open Source, we either fail trying or
give up now.  But I will keep using everything I can to have a workable machine at home
as a linux desktop.

Luc Bouchard

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