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Re: [Nel] GNU/Linux ... (nVidia stuff)

From: Vincent Caron
Subject: Re: [Nel] GNU/Linux ... (nVidia stuff)
Date: 14 Feb 2002 17:13:56 +0100

On Wed, 2002-02-13 at 15:52, Loic Dachary wrote:
>       Who is pressuring nVidia to release their drivers under a Free
> Software license ? I'd gladly add my 0.2 euro advocacy bit ;-)

Not quite, but I'm tring to encourage them on this path ... Since nVidia
has based its market on consumer-grade 3D hardware, the Windows+DirectX
patform provides close to 95% of their income. The 'professional' users
are not willing to purchase a new video card every month like gamers ;),
so the Quadro serie seems only a way to tickle 3DLabs. It is a common
belief that the key element which lead nVidia to bring OpenGL support is
more ID's John Carmack than industry needs such as CAD tools. I think it
also reasonable to think that they don't want to be MS-dependent, and
their comitment with both OpenGL and Linux is the best and cheapest way
to keep the evil at a safe distance :). Maybe they also think that
tackling their chipsets with two approaches and two APIs might bring a
better driver/hardware development expertise (let's be idealistic, but
it could prove true since everybody agrees that OpenGL shaders are
better designed than DX8's ... ghossip, etc :)).

I'm currently thanking them for their Linux support. Their driver
developers are rather easy to reach, bug reports are quickly answered,
and they honestly try to keep up with Windows drivers performance and
quality. They also take into account the fact that Linux users tend to
have a more technical background : their Linux FAQ is the kind of
thorough and efficient documentation you'll never find under Windows
(giving away all the hacks to tweak the driver :

They currently focus on driver setup support, their main goal being
letting any user play Quake3 with the best experience under Linux.
I think that the next task is to bring some animation around OpenGL
development under Linux. They have an important code base to show off
all their OpenGL driver abilities, but it's a heavily win32 oriented
code (you'll find spare Makefiles...). They recently setup a CVS as a
distribution alternative (Unix users don't really like tarballs !). I'm
maybe optimistic, but I like this kind of initiative :). The definitive
step further would be to port their 'Effect browser' (the core of their
OpenGL code base) to Linux, and I'm seriously thinking about doing it.
The goal is twofold : 1) showing them people want to develop with their
hardware under Linux & FreeBSD, 2) make their 'nvsdk' available to the
Unix community.

Before thinking about coding, they are some licensing issues that need
to be addressed. Of course, from an advocate point of view, this nvsdk
should be GPL. But I guess developers are encouraged to steal bits from
it, so a MIT/Xfree license might be more accurate. This is where a OSS
adocate expertise could be useful ...

I'm keeping some URLs up to date there :

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