back to article Linus Torvalds drops F-bomb on NVIDIA

Linus Torvalds has exhorted GPU-maker NVIDIA to indulge in sexual intercourse with itself, and angrily raised his middle finger to the company to re-enforce the suggestion. Torvalds' “remarks” were made last week during a live interview at Finland's Aalto Center for Entrepreneurship. After the interview, Torvalds took …


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  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    What has to be said has to be said.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So when a closed-source person swears it's unprofessional and laughable but when a FOSS person does the same they're Freeing The World™?

      Not in my book.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Never read your book.

      2. Ben Tasker Silver badge


        Depends on the situation really dunnit.

        If Steve * (yeah ok, if Jobs did it it'd be newsworthy for a different reason) were to swear at NVIDIA for the same reason, most would probably agree.

        If any of them walk on stage and shout {INSERT OS} is the dog's fucking bollocks then yes it'd be unprofessional and laughable.

        The thing about swearing, is it's just language. Just like every other word, phrase or sentence, there are times when it's appropriate and times when it isn't. Given the NVIDIA use Linux but flatly refuse to help provide GPU support, I'd say it's a reasonable comment.

        Swearing is only offensive when you say it to/near the wrong person

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC

          "If Steve * (yeah ok, if Jobs did it it'd be newsworthy for a different reason) were to swear at NVIDIA for the same reason, most would probably agree."

          Many here didn't when he sweared at Adobe.

          1. elderlybloke

            Re: @AC

            Posted Monday 18th June 2012 09:35 GMT

            Anonymous Coward

            Dear AC,

            You !@#$% bugger, it is not sweared at , it is sworn at.

            Get it right or you will be @$%!*&ed with the rough end of a Pineapple.

            1. jukejoint

              Re: @AC

              It's "Many here didn't when he swore at Adobe"

              ... 'sworn at' - perhaps he would have, after that nasty encounter with the Pineapple...

          2. Ole Juul

            Re: @AC

            Many here didn't when he sweared at Adobe.

            Some people are offended by bad English and some aren't.

          3. DM2012

            Re: @AC

            Or Google...

        2. Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC

          Nvidia DO provide GPU support on Linux, they just don't open source their driver. Their driver is and has been one of the most stable parts of Linux for the last 10 years. ATI's and Intel's drivers are very flakey, and open source alternatives are slow and buggy.

          1. McToo

            Re: @AC

            "Nvidia DO provide GPU support on Linux" is true. The rest of your statement, sir, is complete bollocks.

          2. sisk

            Re: @AC

            What you say used to be true. Not since shortly after AMD bought out ATI have ATI's Linux drivers been flaky, however. One of the first things AMD with ATI did was massively improve their Linux drivers. I had an ATI card at the time and when that first AMD Catalyst driver came out the difference it made on my system was amazing. Last time I used an Nvidia card the OSS nv driver was far better than the official driver, and it's nowhere near good enough for gaming (yes, I game on Linux). As for Intel, I really can't comment on their drivers since I only settle for Intel graphics when I'm setting up headless systems without X.

          3. DM2012

            Re: @AC

            Not in my experience. Linux desktop with NVidia has *always* been painful

          4. theJML

            Re: @AC

            Exactly. I have been stuck with ATI devices at work for years and have had nothing but issue after issue with them in Linux. Meanwhile at home I have had a slew of nothing but nVidia cards just because of their near flawless support for the Linux community. Thanks to them actually coming out with drivers for Linux on a regular basis, I've been running 3D accelerated X windows setup for at least 8 years now.

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @mpup

            mpup: I have had the exact same experience as you. Ati drivers are awful, intel are improving. Nvidia, although closed-source, have been reliable to use for years. I personally would not buy an Ati card nor a computer with an intel gfx card.

        3. Anonymous Coward

          Re: {INSERT OS} is the dog's fucking bollocks

          Isn't that a typical Ballmer presentation?

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC

          > Swearing is only offensive when you say it to/near the wrong person

          Isn't the point of swearing to be offensive?

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: @AC

            "Isn't the point of swearing to be offensive?"

            No, it is often used for emphasis. I once heard someone very sincerely say to a girl: "I fucking love you" and they clearly meant it fully. She was not offended. :)

  2. Khaptain Silver badge

    Thumbs up for his wonderful gesture

    Don't fuck with Linus.......

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Homer 1

      Re: Thumbs up for his wonderful gesture

      Yes, it's nice to see Nvidia and its apologists unambiguously chastised for their Free Software hostility by the big man himself.

      Maybe now we can start to cure the disease of pragmatism that afflicts so many Linux users. Until now, I'd assumed Linus was one of them, but apparently he's not as apathetic about the binary-blob problem as he seemed.

      That's good news for Free Software supporters, who've become increasingly marginalised by pragmatic Linux users over the last few years, most of whom were formerly vindicated by Linus' apparent support for their pragmatic cause.

      Now it's the pragmatists' turn to be marginalised.

      1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

        Re: Thumbs up for his wonderful gesture

        You, and people like you, are part of the problem, not the solution.

        If you'd bothered to watch the rest of that video linked in the article, you'd have seen that Linus himself wasn't particularly fussed about the 'closed' nature of games consoles. He even went so far as to say that different rules applied in that sector.

        Open Source is not a religion. It's just a form of distribution; nothing more, nothing less. It will not usurp every other form of distribution. Not everything that can be given away for free* should be.

        * (Terms & Conditions Apply. Strings may be attached. See attached license. Unless you're giving stuff away to the Public Domain, in which case, no terms and conditions apply, and no strings, or licenses, are attached.)

        1. Rick Giles

          Re: Thumbs up for his wonderful gesture

          Could you say pragmatic one more time and then head back over to the Windows fanboi forums?

        2. Homer 1
          Big Brother

          Re: "the problem"

          That depends on how you define "the problem".

          There's a problem for consumers who are unceremoniously denied access to their own property, when the manufacturer arbitrarily withdraws "support" for the means necessary to use it - a problem virtually unheard of outside the computing market. That's merely a perfectly legitimate consumer issue, and has nothing to do with "religious fanaticism".

          That's the true essence of Free Software: autonomy. Nvidia doesn't "give" its hardware away, it sells it. Free Software is not about "giving it away", its about ensuring autonomy from the vendor, so that consumers can continue to use their legally purchased property in spite of the vendor's machinations.

    3. Spoddyhalfwit

      Re: Thumbs up for his wonderful gesture

      Would appear that most of the people in that room don't fuck with anybody.

      They need to get themselves girlfriends.

  3. George 20
    Thumb Down

    Great now we have a child

    So now we have the creator of Linux kernel acting like a 13 year old child pulling the middle finger and saying things like F-U to corporate entities. Now it's all public and permanently imprinted on the net and on his life.

    Like damn, he could have been a little less vulgar about it. He could have said the same thing without being a little kid about it. So now he gave Linux a reputation of being rude little sh*t when things bother them. Linus forgets that his actions reflect on the entire community, I wonder what RedHat, IBM, Intel ...etc think about this since they are some of the largest contributors to the kernel.

    Thumbs down because I expected better.

    1. Da Weezil

      Re: Great now we have a child

      Well many years of being polite doesn't seem to have helped. Maybe public castigation is exactly what what is needed here.

    2. Nextweek

      Re: Great now we have a child

      Linus for years has been tempered about this response to binary drivers. I think this move, whilst vulgar, is a very clever ploy. This is going to get so much wider press than a kernel developer complaining about closed source code. Shareholders, CEO's and higher level managers might actually think that nVidia has a bad reputation if this hits main stream news.

      Linus is cutting through the corporate culture so someone might actually listen.

      1. Combat Wombat

        Re: Great now we have a child

        ". Shareholders, CEO's and higher level managers might actually think that nVidia has a bad reputation if this hits main stream news."

        It would be true if they gave a crap about the Linux market.

        No one cares about linux neckbeards.

        Of course Nvidia don't give two craps about the linux market, because most games don't run on Linux anyway. And what to Nvidia sell ? high end graphics cards aimed at gaming. And a drive set that has to be redone every three months, to work with a buggy kernel, for 10 different forks of linux.

        Boo hoo.... who bother with an OS that is 1% of the desktop market? Lots of money and f'ing about for now reward..

        I am with nvidia on this one.

        1. Scob

          Re: Great now we have a child

          You must be a cave man because the market has been shifting away from desktops for quite some time now. The mobile and tablet market is where the game is and NVidia needs to get with it. I used to be a bit of an NVidia fan, but even the quality of their closed source drivers these days leaves a lot to be desired.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: Great now we have a child

            LOL! You don't know anything about the high-end gaming market. People using more than one video cards with multiple monitors and tons of hardware - including dedicated controls. They aren't moving to mobile or tablets anytime soon to play a simple game using fingers like two-years old. And those systems don't run Linux .

            1. JEDIDIAH

              Re: Great now we have a child

              This isn't about the "high end gaming market" and hasn't been for a long time.

              That's why there's a very respectable Linux blob to begin with.

              The Lemming gamers here are classic narcissists.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Great now we have a child

          > 1% of the desktop

          What part of "nvidia tries to sell chips chips into the Android market" are you struggling with?

        3. h4rm0ny

          Re: Great now we have a child

          Combat Wombat wrote: "Of course Nvidia don't give two craps about the linux market, because most games don't run on Linux anyway ... Boo hoo.... who bother with an OS that is 1% of the desktop market? Lots of money and f'ing about for now reward..I am with nvidia on this one"

          Graphics cards are now doing more than just high-end gaming. It's still in its infancy but CUDA, OpenCL... For some application spaces it's useful to have a high-end graphics card even if you don't game. And that application space is growing through a big growth at the moment. And who knows more about this than most userbases? The Linux userbase which is primarily made up of technically competent people.

          Also, that "1% of the market" that you refer to has an influence beyond what you'd expect, being made up of very technical people who advise and probably buy more than most non-technical people. Also, if you as a CEO said to your shareholders: "I'm not going to bother with that - it's only 1% of our $600million annual business, so merely $6million a year I can't be bothered with", you would be sacked. Sacked for your behaviour and most definitely sacked for your attitude.

        4. foo_bar_baz

          @Combat Wombat

          You didn't read/listen did you? Nvidia want to sell chips to Android manufacturers. Which kernel does Android use again?

          Linux is used everywhere from TVs to phones, Hollywood renderfarms and GPU-based supercomputing. Nvidia drivers are needed by others than Linux desktop gamers, wake up.

        5. Burkhard Kloss
          Thumb Down

          Re: Great now we have a child

          "Of course Nvidia don't give two craps about the linux market, because most games don't run on Linux anyway."

          The whole GPU computing thing has clearly passed you by.

          1. FrankAlphaXII

            Re: Great now we have a child

            Damn, beat me to it. In the end it means AMD gains market share in HPC applications using APU/GPGPU and nVidia would be wise to correct the issue before the Market does it for them.

        6. Carl Fletcher

          Re: Great now we have a child

          What does NVidia sell... at the moment more and more Tegra CPUs that go in Linux-based Android devices. Linux is doing well for them even if it's not on the desktop.

        7. Rick Giles

          Re: Great now we have a child

          How do you figure lots of money and no reward? If they open the code base to the community, it will take care of itself. You seem to not know anything about FOSS, or Linux people for that matter. Neckbeards is an untrue statement about Linux admins/users that the uneducated have heard about Unix admins/users.

          I for one will make sure not to buy any nVidia hardware for any system, Linux or Windows, until they (nVidia) perform a cranial rectal extraction and see what the rest of the world is really wanting and doing. Until then, they can self fornicate.

      2. Rich 2 Silver badge


        The Linux people have brought this on themselves. They have been allowing binary blobs (mostly drivers) into the code-base for years. The argument for this is, of course, that it allows Linux to acquire functionality that would otherwise be denied. While I can see the argument, the ultimate conclusion of this action is that you'll finally end up in the situation where more and more hardware manufacturers do the same thing, to the point where you don't have the source code for ANY of the drivers in your kernel! Which is a ridiculous situation.

        I've recently been looking at putting together a Linux box for running MythTV. I very quickly found out that it's a non-trivial exercise getting the video to work. Apparently, Radeon chips are a non-starter which (many people agree) is a real shame because they have (arguably) much superior video post-processing capabilities compared to nVidia. the point is, we have here and now, a situation where critical bits of hardware will not work with Linux without the use of the respective blob. And the blobs are typically buggy, lack critical functionality, or fail to work for some other complex reason. And there is absolutely NOTHING you can do about it.

        The BSDs have been campaigning for years to not allow blobs in. FreeBSD (I think) ended up relenting, but OpenBSD has stood their ground. And yes, you could point and laugh and say "oh, yes, but so-and-so doesn't work on openBSD", and you might be right, but at least they have all the code for ALL their drivers, which is a lot more than Linux can say (and by the way, OBSD has far better WiFi Support than Linux). OpenBSD dropped support for Adaptec disc driver chips some years ago because after many frustrating years of trying to get enough info out of them just so a driver could be written, they finally lost patience and decided it wasn't worth it. On the other hand, OBSD has had some major successes getting h/w manufacturers to release the required info. If Linux took the same tack, then by now there would be some very big players video / ethernet / wifi manufacturers getting their fingers out and releasing this sort of info because the cost to them if they don't is loss of sales.

        Many people have been saying for years that there should be a licensing clause in the Linux OS to prevent blob inclusion (but then again, this should not be needed - it's Linux people's short-sightedness and impatience that is the problem). And now that Linux is becoming much more important, we're in a mess that we can not be able to get out of, and are being held to ransom.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Arrggghhhh!!!!

          At least with Linux I can relatively safely buy a discounted mass market PC where the Microsoft tax is cheaper than the cost of researching and assembling or purchasing dedicated hardware and expect it to install and run Linux without issues. Keeping anti-Linux manufacturers like Nvidia away from my purchasing money (and purchases I recommend to friends, family and community for Linux and non Linux purposes) isn't too difficult given that enough mass PC assemblers say what they use at that level. With an OS where manufacturer blobs are not supported and having to stick with a supported hardware list, I'd probably have to get a specialist to build the system for me.

          1. a_been

            Re: Arrggghhhh!!!!

            Nvidia does provide "manufacturer blobs", I'm not sure how that makes it anti-Linux.

        2. DJ Smiley

          Re: Arrggghhhh!!!!

          Whats the size comparison of usage of Linux against the BSD's?

          When I started with linux, I came from a windows system where everything worked, most of the time (unbelievable for some, I know!).

          I tried out nouveau a few years ago and it was terrible. It'd kernel panic and die pretty much every boot. If you'd told me "well you can't have the nvidia binary drivers" then I'd of gone back to windows.

        3. DrXym Silver badge

          Re: Arrggghhhh!!!!

          It's not like the kernel bends over backwards for binaries. The basic rule is that anything is not source code is unsupported and the ABI can and does break from one release to the next. So Nvidia might get away with releasing a binary driver but they suffer a greater pain in supporting it since they have to ensure that it works with a variety of kernels. Users also suffer because if the kernel changes they may discover their binary is broken too and they need to go get a new one, often with little assistance from the distro.

          But binary blobs might be suboptimal but they're still better than nothing. There ARE occasions that for whatever reason a hardware manufacturer cannot or will not provide the source code for a driver. Banning binaries might please open source purists but it's not always a practical answer.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Great now we have a child

        There are plenty of stories of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs going absolutely bat shit crazy going around. Bill Gates going ape privately about the PS3 not using DirectX, and Steve Jobs vowing thermonuclear war vs Android, again privately. Linux just made sure his comments were open sourced.

    3. hplasm

      Re: Great now we have a child

      A more tempered response, such as hurling chairs around?

      < ---- That's you, that is.

    4. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Re: Great now we have a child

      Oh stop being so bloody po-faced!

      Sometimes being nice doesn't work, sometimes being Mr Nice simply gets you walked all over. So long as he doesn't keep doing things like this I think it's nice to see someone who's usually viewed as just another quiet geek showing a little "nerd rage" for a change.

      1. George 20

        Re: Great now we have a child

        Linus doesn't have to be nice, he doesn't have to act like a kid to get his message across. There is a difference between telling someone to go fu*k themselves and saying the same thing without swearing.

        He's done similar things with Gnome and SuSE but didn't get to this level. Sorry but you treat people the way you want to be treated.

    5. Pinky

      Re: Great now we have a child

      Yeah, we really all must remember that using expletives does nothing but destroy the message you're putting out. After all, the whole Live Aid thing was wiped out when Bob Geldof asked us to give him our f*$%ing money IIRC!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Great now we have a child


        Using expletives is part of our language, and it's there for a purpose - to add emphasis (unless it s along the lines of "I was fucking walking down the fucking road and this fucking fucker says "OI! where the fuck you fucking going?"").

        Torvalds' comments were a clear expression of his annoyance with nVidia, and his choice of words carried this emotion to us.

        (BTW you're talking crap about Live Aid "being wiped out").

        1. Roger Varley

          Re: Great now we have a child

          >> (BTW you're talking crap about Live Aid "being wiped out").

          AC - I think you've got your sarcasm detector switched off.

      2. Greg J Preece

        Re: Great now we have a child

        "After all, the whole Live Aid thing was wiped out when Bob Geldof asked us to give him our f*$%ing money IIRC!"

        Without taking a side in the argument, and my own penchant for cursing notwithstanding, Geldof never actually said that. If you watch the clip back, he actually says "fuck the address", then goes on to the "give us the money" rant.

    6. h4rm0ny

      Re: Great now we have a child

      Firstly the word is "Fuck" not "F_". I don't understand self-censorship when all it does is just draw attention to the fact that a word is supposed to be "bad" when most people just don't see it as a big deal. It's like you want there to be swearing and offense by making the word special.

      Secondly, why shouldn't Linus do this. It's hardly "acting like a 13 year old child". It's not random desire to insult. I specifically have bought my last three graphics cards from AMD neé ATI because AMD did what they could to provide extensive documentation for their chips and assist with open source. Perfect? No, because there are a few components that they are not legally allowed to provide the information for though they are working on this last I heard. But more willing and supportive of Open Source than NVIDIA? Fuck yes!

      As to your shock at this, you plainly haven't seen many talks by Linus. I remember a talk on version control systems he gave some years ago where he opened by saying anyone who disagreed with him was "ugly and stupid". Got a good laugh, by the way. He's the Bill Hicks of the Open Source movement. And no, I don't think he reflects badly on the Open Source movement.

      You are upset because "his action reflect on the entire community"? Do you even know who Linus Torvalds is and how important he has been to the Open Source community. His "actions" can't really be measured on their effect on the O/S community. If this bothers you, you must really dislike Hans Reiser! ;)

      1. jake Silver badge

        @h4rm0ny (was: Re: Great now we have a child)

        If I posted that, I'd probably get 60 or 70 thumbs down.

        People really don't get the point of FOSS.

        Carry on, Compadre :-)

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Great now we have a child

      What a surprise, a site full of arrogant antisocial Linux-loving IT nerds think it's to be applauded when a so called professional acts like the stereotype they embody in favour of Linux.

      I bet if he'd been a MS/Oracle/Apple/Google person making similarly crude complaints the votes on these posts would be directly reversed.

      The funniest (or saddest) thing is you sad sacks probably think you are unbiased and logical, imagining yourselves like some combination of Spock and Dr. House. In reality it's more like Sheldon Cooper.

      1. The BigYin

        Re: Great now we have a child

        @AC - 08:32

        You are selectively reading. Linus has openly praised people when he thought their work was good. He has also openly castigated people when he thought their work was poor.

        What is it about honesty that you don't like?

      2. Rob 30

        Re: Great now we have a child

        except for you of course, right? -you're a special little snowflake who just stumbled across this site by accident one day and mashed your face on the keyboard by accident.

    8. DJ Smiley

      Re: Great now we have a child

      He already did this with his rant about CUPS needing root and other things..... (And I'm not even sure it does once its setup).

    9. Ilgaz

      Yes, kid like os you have to use

      You don't gave slightest clue about why open source enterprise has been success. It has "benevolent dictators" which doesn't give a F about corporate double speak, games behind others back or underserved politeness.

      Lets say IBM plans to port openbsd to mainframes and they keep bugging Theo with stupid questions. The manners won't change because of mail, he will get exact same response as some @aol guy.

      Open source is beyond those .tar.bz2 files, it is a way of acting/ behavior and direct relations.

    10. ItsNotMe

      Re: Great now we have a child

      13 year old? You're giving him TOO much credit. 8 year old would be more like it. How pathetic.

      1. Ilgaz

        There are real 14 year old guys in oss

        I remember a p2p app's genius developer (in win scene) keep saying he is 14 years old. We thought he was joking or taking counter measures against lawsuits.

        So, one day he called a guy "turd" :)

    11. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      @George 20:

      As Linus himself said to the NVidia employee later on (it's actually at around the 60' 40" mark, not 59' 00"), he believes that people who get offended deserve to be offended.

      Also: "So now he gave Linux a reputation of being rude little sh*t when things bother them."

      You say that as if Open Source and "Free" Software fanatics haven't been going around spelling "Microsoft" with an oh-so-hilarious '$' sign, or referring to Apple owners as "Fanbois" and "iTards".

      Linus has merely legitimised the view many of us have of your community: that it's full of childish egotistical geeks who care not one whit for any tribe's values but their own. It takes some seriously bizarre logic to redefine something that adds strict and severe conditions and restrictions to giving something away for nothing as "Freedom", despite the continuing existence of Public Domain. Only Public Domain adheres to the true meaning of gift-giving and freedom: no strings attached. None. Zip. Nada. You don't even have to credit the author if you don't want to.

      Don't like NVidia's binary blobs? Don't buy a computer with an NVidia card in it then! NVidia have been very consistent about this for years already. Take the hint already. Unless you're on their board of directors, you don't get to tell them what to do. That's how businesses work. Yes, they might well lose some sales—though I doubt it'll be all that many—but that's their prerogative.

    12. Rick Giles

      Re: Great now we have a child

      Well, he can't exactly throw a temper tantrum in the office and then buy up all his competition like Bill and Steve would have done back in the day.

    13. Bob Camp

      Re: Great now we have a child

      "So now he gave Linux a reputation of being rude little sh*t when things bother them."

      Linux already has that reputation.

    14. Avatar of They

      Re: Great now we have a child

      I doubt anyone will care in a negative way what he said. No one will hold it against linux for his comments or gestures. And he is better in the know than any of us for what NVIDIA do or don't do.

      No one cared when Balmer screwed over every MS employee and share holder by taking power and then failing to do anything against the competition with the likes of Vista, Zune, Bing, winpho 7. Yet we all use MS.

      Or when Steve Jobs basically took all the fanbois money and didn't give a hoot about you (see many links from register about his comment) after he had it, and instead just played the PR game. Yet tons of idiots still buy them.

      Or the CEO of Google when he said "If you don't like street view, move." etc. Yet most people still use Google.

      Or the head of Nokia when he buried it... Yet most people... Oh wait.

      Linus has moved the world on, given us linux and has his opinion. People won't hold iot against him because Linux just does the job, it has long since grown beyond one man.

    15. fishman

      Re: Great now we have a child

      Linus says a couple of naughty words. Steve Ballmer throws chairs. Which is worse?

  4. Stuart Elliott

    Is he about to release a book or something ?

    He's popping up everywhere at the moment, that usually only happens with people just about to release a book or film.

    As for his comments, accurate, but puerile and childish.

    1. Ilgaz

      Who is he and that bearded red t-shirt wearer?

      His software runs on billions of chips. Just because these guys aren't spoiled, disconnected types and you can even irc with them makes you forget what kind of revolution they accomplished.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ahem.. ATI anyone?

    nVidia actually are pretty good with linux drivers. I haven't had any problems with their binary blob drivers, or rpmfusion created rpms for Fedora. ATI on the other hand haven't had any properly working drivers since Fedora 15, and the open source radeon drivers are rubbish for playing any multimedia video.

    Are you sure he didn't just get the two companies mixed up?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. SJB

      Re: Ahem.. ATI anyone?

      No they aren't, they are bloody terrible. with this Optimus rubbish they are foisting on every laptop nowadays it means that the nice shiny nVidia graphics card onboard can't actually be used for displaying any graphics. Not only have they publicly said they don't care it doesn't work with Linux and aren't interested in making it work they don't provide an easy way to turn the thing off. So if you don't want the chip sitting their draining your battery you have to employ some awful hacks to get around it.

      1. JEDIDIAH

        Re: Ahem.. ATI anyone?

        The best you can come up with this Optimus crap.

        If I have an nvidia GPU, why in the H*LL would I want to put up with Intel crap EVER? Saving a few seconds of battery time just isn't a compelling enough reason.

        The Lemming troll has found his corner case but who else cares really?

        Intel GPUs are a pile of fail under any OS.

        1. eulampios


          >>Intel GPUs are a pile of fail under any OS.

          A wrong statement. Old i915 works almost flawlessly on old hardware with compiz and all effects

          Have many bugs with nvidia blobs, say bluish hue on flashplayer video.... No kms etc

          Radeon is better and is improving

      2. JEDIDIAH

        Re: Ahem.. ATI anyone?

        Optimus isn't a "driver problem". It's a bleeding edge Windows dependency problem.

        If it doesn't work on Linux it's because the Windows hack being used is just a little too new at this point.

        The scope of this particular "problem" is just a tad wider in scope than nvidia's blob.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Ahem.. ATI anyone?

      "ATI on the other hand haven't had any properly working drivers"

      There, corrected that for you...

      1. I Am Spartacus

        Re: Ahem.. ATI anyone?

        Correct - nVidia drivers may be closed source, and they may taint the kernel, but they work. Both for graphics and as GPU under Linux.

        ATI, on the other hand, has open source code, fits well with the kernel and is useful as door wedge. Because it F-all use as a linux graphics card..

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ahem.. ATI anyone?

      No he didn't. ATI are more friendly, just their drivers are horrid. Neither company comes out terribly well out of this. It all boils down to whether you want support or a decently-working computer.

    5. M Gale

      Re: No properly working drivers

      Guess my Radeon 5750 must not be working then.

      OH HANG ON, IT IS.

  6. ici.chacal

    News to me...

    I thought NVIDIA did support Linux, and it was ATI that was always problematic..?! Guess things have changed; and besides, won't all Linux users be flocking to Windaz 8 when that comes out anyway..? :-p

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: News to me...

      I think they are after open source drivers. Nvidia have tended to supply a module that taints the kernel.

    2. keithpeter Silver badge

      Re: News to me...

      Torvalds was letting off steam about the Optimus issue on laptops. Nvidia binary blobs seem to work ok on PCs with graphics cards, and older laptops with Nvidia graphics.

      Torvalds was also pointing out that Nvidia use Linux based systems in their production chain, but I guess those would be PCs and workstations/clusters and so the binary blobs are kept working.

      Windows User icon cos I'm off work today and tomorrow and don't have to be one (and strong lager may be involved).

    3. eulampios

      Re: News to me...

      With such support as pointed out " they can go away and indulge themselves in a sexual activity" :)

      ATI was problematic but has improved tremendously.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just Linux

    To be fair, ATI (AMD) haven't been all that good supporting Windows lately, either. People have rightly complained of problems with games like Rage and Skyrim, both of which required updates to drivers.

    Nice hardware, though.

    1. Arctic fox

      "ATI (AMD) haven't been all that good supporting Windows lately"

      That has been my experience as well. I've been running four Win 7 installs since the os was launched and the only time I have had any trouble has been with screen card drivers from you-know-who - which is indeed a pity because the cards themselves are very nice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "ATI (AMD) haven't been all that good supporting Windows lately"

        I had an ATI card forced upon me for my work laptop and the driver crashes literally every day. It recovers after a few seconds of blank screen though so that's nice, but I think that is due to the way win7 manages graphics driver's rather than any skill on the part of ATI.

    2. Ilgaz

      Yes, bought nvidia for pure amd setup

      I was seriously bugged by ATI/ amd not shipping official win7 driver for the graphics chip they put inside their own chipset (trivial for win) so I bought a low end gpu from nvidia since they keep supporting their own stuff.

      I don't even like nvidia but their policy forced me. there is a similar/ supported gpu from ATI but what happens in 2 years?

    3. Mephistro

      Re: Not just Linux


      Purchased and played the game, enduring a crash every 10 minutes in my Nvidia card. After lots of changes, trials, updates and heavy swearing (not this puny 'fuck' thing!) I managed to get ~one crash every hour or so, which made the game almost playable. Helped a friend with similar issues, this time using an ATI card, and got the same results.

      Several months ago I was in the MediaMarkt, where they had two demo consoles running Skyrim. Both were crashed. I have nothing against blaming companies for their errors, but please try to blame the real culprits, not someone passing by.

      I'd like to add that, were it not for these technical glitches, Skyrim would be a good contender for the title of 'The Best Videogame Ever', and that I plan to play it again in a few months, hoping that by then they have managed to kill most of the bugs and glitches.

      Fus Ro Da!!!

  8. jake Silver badge

    As a Slackware user since 1995ish ...

    I grok the sentiment.

    I'm surprised it's taken him this long to get frustrated enough to blow up over the situation. Hardware companies need to understand that if they allow access to the firmware/microcode, it'll only lead to more sales of their product.

    And it isn't like competitors aren't already aware of the guts of their competitors code (c.f. How many examples of the same "bugs" in any given hardware category are common across multiple companies?).

    1. Dave Pickles

      Re: As a Slackware user since 1995ish ...

      Be careful what you wish for.

      If competitors could legally see each other's hardware architecture and driver software we could get a repeat of the Mutually Assured Destruction currently being fought out in the courts over smartphone patents. Looking the other way may be the least-worst option.

      1. foo_bar_baz

        Re: As a Slackware user since 1995ish ...

        I'm not a hardware guy but my understanding is that open sourcing the drivers and securing the hardware secrets aren't mutually exclusive goals.

        1. bazza Silver badge

          Re: As a Slackware user since 1995ish ...


          "I'm not a hardware guy but my understanding is that open sourcing the drivers and securing the hardware secrets aren't mutually exclusive goals."

          It depends. It's quite normal these days for the full functionality of a piece of hardware to depend on an OS driver uploading a piece of firmware. It makes developing the hardware a lot cheaper because you can fix 'hardware' problems by changing the firmware instead of blowing another few tens of million printing up another set of lithography masks.

          Trouble is the firmware betrays quite a lot about the hardware design so it is understandable that manufacturers aren't too keen on people getting easy access to it. Whether this is NVidia's position or not I don't know, but it's a fair bet that the source code for their drivers/firmware would be very revealing about their technology.

          If NVidia's choice were between keeping Linus happy (and opening up their intellectual property to all) and upsetting Linus (but keeping their secrets to themselves) they will always tell Linus to go **** himself. NVidia have shareholders to keep happy, and upset shareholders are much nastier to deal than an irate penguin. Remember that in the USA their laws on business practise and shareholder value are particularly harsh when it comes to punishments / jail time.

          If Linus can't empathise with NVidia's point of view then that's likely to remain his problem, not theirs. I personally think that the level of driver support that NVidia has provided is actually quite generous; there's no law saying 'thou shalt do a Linux driver', and it's not likely to be bringing in any money. Linus might just have prompted NVidia to be less generous in the future, and no-one will benefit from that.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On target...

    ...for another 20 years in the wilderness for Linux.

    Linux users apparently want attention from Nvidia, else why the vitriol. So, yeah, tell Nvidia to fuck themselves. That always worked when I manned the support desk. A user telling me what I can do with myself? Guaranteed success. Next move is to go sit in the corner and never use Nvidia cards again, not even if they say please. That's sure to teach 'em!

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      So what will teach them?

      I have tried asking politely. I have tried not buying nVidia for 20 years. Please tell us, wise guru, what is the magical incantation that will get nVidia to properly document their products?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So what will teach them?

        "what is the magical incantation that will get nVidia to properly document their products?"

        Why, isn't it obvious by now? Linux suddenly becoming massively popular on the consumer desktop. I suppose having a tantrum makes you feel better by relieving the frustration even if only by a tiny bit, but it doesn't look very becoming on the outside and it doesn't help in the long run. I suppose what is needed here are FOSS hardware manufacturers, but it doesn't sound very plausible outside of some alternate reality.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: So what will teach them?

          "Linux suddenly becoming massively popular on the consumer desktop."

          You are apparently unaware of the existence of Android. NVIDIA sell a *lot* of chips into the Android market. Maybe you don't know that Android is Googlified Linux.

          1. The BigYin

            Re: So what will teach them?

            And TiVo etc. You can bet that if their isn't an nVidia chip in there, it's a competitor's due to better GNU/Linux support.

            Yes folks, that's right. GNU/Linux is everywhere. Get used to it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So what will teach them?

        "what is the magical incantation that will get nVidia to properly document their products?"

        The strongest reason for refusing to document their products would be that it would expose any patent infringement that might be embodied in the product. Since their refusal to document seems to be quite strong, I'll take the strong reason as a working hypothesis for why they don't document the product in detail.

  10. Turtle

    The more things change....

    An old page but still in the main applicable:

  11. tkioz
    Thumb Up

    While I don't use Linux, and doubt I'll ever use Linux, I do respect Linus and I agree with him, NVIDIA is a bunch of prats.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Generic pedantic reply...

      You likely already are a Linux user if you have any of the following:

      * An Android phone,

      * A TV made in the last couple of years,

      * Any sort of TiVo type device,

      * A WiFi enabled printer of any make (or most laser printers),

      * A DSL modem / router / Wifi hub,

      * A 3G modem.

      Like a cancer, as Ballmer put it, it's spreading everywhere. It's everywhere because it's cheaper than the alternatives and works ok most of the time without putting much effort in.

      1. Bugs R Us

        Re: Generic pedantic reply...

        Err... most of this devices don't require GPU support, or even a GPU. Not every Android device has an nVidia CPU or GPU and the ones that do are mobile class and the relevant support is provided (because mobiles have bigger userbase and are profitable).

        nVidia shouldn't have to add support just because the minority asks for it. When and if Linux is dominant on the desktop, then nVidia will listen, until there is profit, why should it? It's up to Linux users to build market share on the merits of the user applciations available on Linux, which in turn can drive hardware development, just as it happened on Windows. On Windows, it is video gaming that pushes GPU support. Perhaps Linux developers should try and create Linux only games with the same production quality of DirectX games to grab share from the Windows (and Apple) consumer market. If you think about it, Android is doing that already, but it'll be small steps and at the same time Microsoft will continue to increase its lead.

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Re: Generic pedantic reply...

          I don't entirely disagree with you, but

          It's up to Linux users to build market share on the merits of the user applciations available on Linux, which in turn can drive hardware development, just as it happened on Windows

          I'm not sure you can count "everyone uses it because it comes pre-installed and no-one can be arsed to install over it" as "building market share on the merits of the....".

          Perhaps Linux developers should try and create Linux only games with the same production quality of DirectX games to grab share from the Windows (and Apple) consumer market.

          There are some bloody good games that have been written (obviously it depends on taste), but OSS developers don't really have the budget that the big studios have. Of course, there's also the 'issue' that a lot will be ported to Windows anyway at some point in time.

          To be honest I'm quite happy with the likes of supertux etc, but then I've always preferred to while the hours away buried in code than gaming. I did get mildly addicted to BZFlag a while back though, and a number of the OSS FPS' are quite good.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Generic pedantic reply...

        So let's summarise the consequences. In my personal experience:

        *Android phone - full of massive security issues

        *Smartish TV - OK, though not exactly a glorious user experience

        *TiVo / PVR / satellite STB - loads of them are prone to software faults (even one running VxWorks)

        *WiFi printers - mine abjectly refused to WiFi

        *ADSL routers, etc - never seen one yet that doesn't keep falling over

        *3G modem - got one that works, but it took several purchases to find it.

        So yes Linux is everywhere, but that's not resulting in terrific reliability for the end user. 'Linux Inside' really doesn't mean it's actually going to be any good. Practically speaking there's very little an ordinary end user can do about it anyway; Joe Blogs isn't going to get the source code, fix it, recompile and re-flash. So the 'openness' is just a cost saving for the manufacturer, not a benefit to the end user.

        1. Latent

          Re: Generic pedantic reply...

          "So yes Linux is everywhere, but that's not resulting in terrific reliability for the end user. 'Linux Inside' really doesn't mean it's actually going to be any good. Practically speaking there's very little an ordinary end user can do about it anyway; Joe Blogs isn't going to get the source code, fix it, recompile and re-flash. So the 'openness' is just a cost saving for the manufacturer, not a benefit to the end user."

          someone here points out that while Linux is in many of their electronic devices most of them are not reliable and crash often etc. Also pointing out that average users are not going to fix the open source software.

          But this I think highlights a key point here. Most of these problems are not caused by Linux and its open source code. Most of the problems are caused by the hardware drivers themselves. Most of the main bugs in the core linux code will have been fixed already. But most of the devices end up using closed source parts for the hardware and when they or the integration of them goes wrong then its not great.

          When people try to roll their own software for these devices to improve or fix issues they are left with an uphill battle to get the source and when they do get it all these hardware bits are missing and they have to beg, steal and borrow to get it to work which causes even more issues.

          Also one of the big reasons for the issues around Android and non existent or late OS updates which keeps them insecure is the manufacturers need to differentiate and tinker. If the phone makers just did solid abstractions of their chosen hardware and gave us phones that had all of androids features then it would be much easier to support newer versions. Instead they spend most of their time trying to make their phone different at the expense of everything else. It would be great if the phone maker stopped at the hardware driver level and then users are free to pick which standard set of launcher/theme/apps they want and are free to upgrade it when needed.

          So is it really the Open source model that is the problem or the lack of open source in open source?

      3. tkioz

        Re: Generic pedantic reply...

        To all the numnuts talking about routers, smart phones, etc... I was talking about Linux as an OS on a desktop... You know the place where most video card drivers are needed and have the most issues...

      4. anoncow

        Re: Generic pedantic reply...

        * A GPS device

        * A supercomputing cluster

        * An electronic trading company

        * A stock exchange

        * An ISP

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you don't want to use Linux

      You'll have to get rid of you broadband router. And that's just the start. Next will be any NAS and most media centre boxes and controllable webcams. Then you'll have to get rid of that smart TV and replace it with a second hand dumb one if you really want to be sure. Basically most things that come out of a box, which you can connect to a network and which run TCP/IP. There's a 50% chance your smartphone runs Linux if you have a smartphone.

  12. Eponymous Cowherd

    Another offender.......

    Tom Tom: Produce a device that runs Linux, but won't support its use (synch / update etc) with desktop Linux.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aw diddums

    Some people don't want to play with his toy, well tough titties Torvalds.

    Here's the thing, they don't have to and you can't make them, get over it Either that or go join Apple.

  14. Bobthe2nd


    He could just install Windows which would work out the box and then spend so time with friends and family... life is to short to be playing around with video drivers come 2012

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Or..

      "He could just install Windows which would work out the box"

      For small values of "work".

    2. h4rm0ny

      Re: Or..

      I love boasts from people about how they're not wasting their life and instead spend their time enjoying the rich social life of their friends and families. On a discussion forum about NVIDIA device drivers. They make me giggle so much. I mean, most of us here have friends and family we spend time with. We're posting because we actually care about Open Source. You seem to be posting because you want to tell people you don't care. Which is even less of a good reason to spend your time here than the reasons you criticise others for.

      Mayhap you are trying to convince yourself, not us?

      1. g e

        Re: Or..

        If you have that many friends and family members to hang out with then WTF are you doing posting on a thread about Nvidia Chip Drivers? Go live the dream.

        Bullet. Foot.

      2. Bugs R Us

        Re: Or..

        If you care that much about open source, then go and build your own open source GPU. Problem solved. Oh wait, open source community can't because it would mean engaging with the real world of business.

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Re: Or..

          An OS GPU has been attempted, but never took off (partly due to flaws in the design).

          It's less an issue of engaging with the 'real world of business', and more 'Oh fuck, these things are really complex!'

          The fact it appeared to be someones Uni project probably didn't help either. They had 10 orders, but needed a minimum of 100 to be able to manufacture the things.

    3. yossarianuk

      Re: Or..

      Are you telling me that just installing ANY version of Windows will give you the official Nvidia driver (complete with openGL drivers) ?

      Because as far as i'm aware you never have done - unlike some Linux distros.

      You obviously have no idea what your talking about as Linux has far far far more drivers that work out the box than ANY version of Windows....

      And besides Linus was talking about the Android market.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Classy, Linus

    This clearly shows what's wrong with Linux these days, it turned into full blown punk ideology - but strangely fuelled by big business and some advertising companies riding the misleading "open" mantra.

    I'm glad I jumped out of that subculture some years back. These days I just use it and don't get personally involved. If NVIDIA doesn't want to support it it's up to them, don't buy their hardware to run Linux on - simples.

    1. Ilgaz

      Linux is more than "cheap, free os"

      Anything comes with GPL carries a very serious ideological background with it. No, it is not "communism" or USSR, red scare.

      Apache, bsd licenses also carry an ideology, they just have a different take but very similar.

      If you want serious suits, aix/ win or z/os are your options.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Now can you the same to the Raspberry Pi people?

    Same problem there: on one hand they ride on the Linux name for their hardware, on the other their OpenGL GPU driver is closed and a pile of shit and X doesn't have 2D acceleration.

    Plus I'd love to see what PR moves the Liz & Eben couple^Wgang Would pull if Linus told them to fuck themselves.

    1. Eponymous Cowherd
      Thumb Down

      Re: Kudos

      This is down to Broadcom, not the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Kudos

        And Eben works where? Oh, Broadcom...

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Re: Kudos

          If you're not happy with your Raspberry Pi, you can always send it to me ;)

        2. Eponymous Cowherd

          Re: Kudos

          Yes, Eben works for Broadcom, designing ASICs.

          This gives him, as an employee, exactly how much influence?

    2. James Hughes 1

      Re: Kudos @AC

      Not sure why you think the GPU driver is a pile of shit. It isn't BTW. It's not OSS, but it certainly isn't shit. There isn't an X driver, that's true. So the only 'shittiness' is the *lack* of a X driver, not the quality of what IS provided. Are you bitter about something?

    3. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Kudos

      "Plus I'd love to see what PR moves the Liz & Eben couple^Wgang Would pull if Linus told them to fuck themselves."

      I'd settle for hearing how the Foundation views what Linus has said about closed video/GPU drivers. I know they accepted the situation of having to use a 'binary blob' but do they believe Broadcom or Linus is more right?

      Linus does however have the luxury of his future not being tied to NVIDEO whereas the Foundation has to tread more carefully with Broadcom. Given the choice as the Foundation present things, a Raspberry Pi with closed drivers or nothing, it's hard to say they made the wrong choice.

  17. DrXym Silver badge

    Linus is right

    I think NVidia is shooting itself in the foot by not opening up at least the kernel portion of its drivers.

    I can understand why they did it. For a long time keeping the code closed helped maintain a commercial advantage. It stops rivals lifting their optimizations or finding the weaknesses / bugs to embarrass NVidia. I expect there are also contractual reasons which would make opening the code non trivial.

    But by NOT opening up it finds itself forced to maintain binary blobs against a multitude of Linux distributions (and guaranteed to break when the kernel / X11 updates). It makes it harder for them to find or fix bugs (since nobody else will do it) and increases the burden of testing and development. Additionally by driving people away it increases the amount of business that rivals like AMD and Intel enjoy.

    Opening the code would save them a lot of money. Distributors would take over much of the maintenance and bug fixes would be forthcoming from all directions. If they CAN'T open the old source for whatever reason they should at least throw their weight and technical assistance behind the noveau open source drivers and allow them to reach a speed and maturity that the old code can simply be mothballed. Same result in the end but it should really happen.

    I also think that the above will play out in tablet land too. Some SoCs are GPL'ing their kernel drivers and if Nvidia doesn't they may find themselves losing a lot of business.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Opening the code would save them a lot of money"

      Would it really since - open or not - people expect the same level of support, drivers for multiple distributions, etc.

      They would also need to release full hardware documentation of their hardware to get the community working on the code, but that opens up the can of worms you mentioned re commercial advantage, embarrassing weaknesses and even clones popping up.

      And you you what would save them even more money?

      Not releasing drivers at all - which is what they've done here.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Linus is right

      I can understand why they did it. For a long time keeping the code closed helped maintain a commercial advantage.

      Do you honestly believe that Nvidia's competitors aren't decompiling and documenting the drivers? This can be done legally, and given the cost of development of a good GPU is likely to be worth it.

  18. nexsphil

    >You must be a cave man because the market has been shifting away from desktops for quite some time now. The mobile and tablet market is where the game is

    Yes I keep hearing this, yet seeing absolutely none of it. Sure there are a lot of phones around, but they hardly act as a replacement for desktops & laptops. And tablets? Ha. Ha. Ha.

    These "TABLITS R D FOOTUR" raving journos are little Knuts that don't realise that reality doesn't care how often you repeat drivel - it won't become any truer.

  19. yossarianuk

    Linus = no shareholder so can say how it is....

    You can generally trust Linus is what he is saying and usually he is right.

    Unlike Ballmer, Gates and the late Jobs Linus has never had to worry about upsetting shareholders and gaining revenue - unlike other 'visionary's' he doesn't have to partake in any corporate bullshit - that reason alone makes his words far more trustworthy that ANYONE from Microsoft or Apple.

    Give me Linus any day, I trust him to do the right thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Linus = no shareholder so can say how it is....

      Linus IS a shareholder of Red Hat, he was given stock at the IPO.

      He's probably just pissed that NVIDIA is only a silver member ($20K/year) of his employer, the Linux Foundation.

      Hopefully this gesture will encourage them them to move up to the $500,000/year Platinum level.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: Linus = no shareholder so can say how it is....

        He's probably just pissed that NVIDIA is only a silver member ($20K/year) of his employer, the Linux Foundation.

        Given that his employment contract centres around the fact that he's employed by them, but cannot be told what to do by them I suspect this is a little bit unlikely.

        I'm also not sure that RedHat are too concerned over NVidia drivers. They'll certainly be quite low on the list of priorities given that the main thing they're interested in is Servers. Not that you couldn't slot an NVidia card into a server, but how many businesses do that?

        The greater proportion of business workstations may not need these drivers either, with the exception of laptops (where you can't change the card as easily).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "I'm also not sure that RedHat are too concerned over NVidia drivers."

          O RLY?

          "Need a turbo-charged simulation and design environment with high-performance visualization and interactivity? Red Hat provides support for the latest graphics cards and true scalability on multicore systems."

          You'd be surprised by the number of RHEL desktops in the engineering industry. Wouldn't it be nice let folk run that same software on nicely powered notebooks they can take anywhere...

          1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

            Re: "I'm also not sure that RedHat are too concerned over NVidia drivers."


            Hey, you may be right about RedHat wanting support for NVidia after all.

            Doesn't exactly provide a smoking gun for Torvalds wanting support for commercial reasons though does it? Still far more likely (especially if you look at his history) that he's fed up of Nvidia (and others) fucking around than it is that he's made these statements in order to try and gain some additional value on his shares.

            Wouldn't it be nice let folk run that same software on nicely powered notebooks they can take anywhere...

            Yes, yes it would. But then, historically speaking, graphics isn't the only area of contention for laptops (call me picky, but notebook means paper). It's definitely gotten better in most areas though.

            What'd be really nice (<idealism>) is a world where it didn't have to reach this point, manufacturers would be keen to help others write drivers for their hardware (</idealism>) but it doesn't quite align with shareholder value in some areas.

          2. Bugs R Us

            Re: "I'm also not sure that RedHat are too concerned over NVidia drivers."

            Simulation and high end design servers are not as abig a market as general purpose servers. For everty special purpose server, there are probably tens of thousands of general purpose applciation servers. It's the general purpsoe server business that no doubt makes it possible for RHEL to cover the overheads of adding support for the special purpose needs.

            1. JEDIDIAH

              Re: "I'm also not sure that RedHat are too concerned over NVidia drivers."

              Nobody needs Red Hat for "general purpose application servers".

              It's the interesting stuff like GPU compute servers that require the kind of buy in that makes a company like Red Hat a more obvious choice. Otherwise, people just go with Debian. OTOH, if Red Hat is willing to leave money on the table companies like Microway will gladly take it from them. They have been providing higher performance Linux machines since the 90s. (It was Alpha then)

  20. Robert Ramsay
    Thumb Up

    Good on you, Linus.

    I'm big and clever and I approve of this swearing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good on you, Linus.

      Cherished El Reg commentard Big Dumg Guy 555 would also approve.

  21. James 100

    I was surprised by the focus of this too: I've always used nVidia rather than ATI in my machines because of their *better* driver support for Linux - and as others have pointed out, ATI manage to suck for drivers even on Windows. Laptop with an ATI chipset? No drivers for you! Talk to the manufacturer ... yes, they went bust months ago and never bothered providing support or drivers anyway, so you're stuffed. Thanks for buying ATI - won't be making that mistake again, will you?

    The Optimus thing is interesting: it seems nVidia needed access to the DMA-BUF buffering stuff, but some developers were objecting because their driver is partly closed-source.

    I can understand the desire for GPLed drivers from nVidia, but wearing an end-user hat this does look very much like "users screwed by ideology". ATI don't seem any better in this respect - at least, their Linux drivers are also proprietary and will hit exactly this issue too - it's just nVidia were actively involved in Linux kernel development and seem to have hit it first. Maybe if Intel manage to produce competitive graphics cards with open-source drivers, it'll force nVidia and ATI to re-think - but for now, taking users hostage and obstructing nVidia supporting them better is hardly helpful.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The closer GPUs resemble programmable logic

    ...the more secrets you reveal to the competition by publishing the documentation.

    The the closer to the edge of the envelope the chips run, the less foolproof they become. Poking a wrong value into a register here or switching on this circuit here before that one could so easily result in a cooked chip, and support and warranties quickly become impossible. I can absolutely see why it's in Nvidia's and ATI's interest to obfuscate and safeguard their technology as much as they possibly can and take the flak. Just look at the extraordinary lengths Altera and Xilinx go to with their software to protect themselves from each other and their users.

    It would be in everyone's interest to have a 3D API that is more pervasive and keeps up with DirectX. Perhaps provide a virtual machine sandbox specifically for the closed source drivers to run on. These things would make supporting a range of OSs less of a headache for the hardware vendors.

    Can somebody explain why Linux support for Intel GMA is so lame?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To all those saying that Android runs Linux and hence NVIDIA should open source their drivers: your comments are irrelevant because there are no mobile GPU makers which fully open source their GPU drivers (although some will give you the source code if you sign a commercial agreement with them).

    Graphics drivers are just too fundamental to the system to risk some open source hack-monkey fucking them up.

    1. h4rm0ny

      "To all those saying that Android runs Linux and hence NVIDIA..."

      Android doesn't "run" Linux. Android *is* Linux. Plus GNU tools and a GUI.

      "your comments are irrelevant because there are no mobile GPU makers which fully open source their GPU drivers (although some will give you the source code if you sign a commercial agreement with them)."

      How does whether anyone else does this change whether it would be better or worse for NVIDIA to do this from a Linux user's point of view? I also noticed that sneaky little word "fully" added in there. AMD, for example, have provided large chunks of open sourced code and documentation enough that it has been possible to write open source drivers for them. They've also said that the only reason they can't further open source for the time being is that they are under legal obligations not to disclose some third party parts, but that they're working on this. So "fully" ? No. Far more so than NVIDIA? Yes.

      "Graphics drivers are just too fundamental to the system to risk some open source hack-monkey fucking them up."

      And there you show your ignorance. "Open Source Hack-Monkey"? Aside from most Open Source programmers on big things like Kernel and graphics drivers being far ahead of the average level of programming ability (you have to be - these are very complicated beasts), how exactly does being able to compile the driver as a kernel module, enabling it to be *less* likely to become incompatible with the rest of the kernel, "fuck things up" more than sticking it in as an opaque binary blob that you never know if a kernel change might break it or not?

      Basically, your pig-ignorance about how skilled Linux kernel developers are, combined with what appears to be your expectation that Open Source means anyone can come in, make some changes and commit them to the main branch, makes me conclude that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

  24. A J Stiles

    There's a way out of this: Legislation!

    One resolution to the situation (admittedly, this is the Nuclear Option) would be an EU-wide law obliging all hardware manufacturers to release full specifications for their hardware, to all users, on pain of their products being banned from sale within the EU. This information forms part of the instruction manual, for crying out loud.

    It's not as if all the other manufacturers aren't buying each other's products to reverse-engineer anyway.

  25. Bugs R Us

    The votes here say a lot

    Yeah right. If the nVidia CEO has seen this, I doubt the nVidia CEO was like "ooh boo hoo, Linus gave us the finger" - CEO was more likely thinking, "yeah whatever. get your OS to displace Windows from top spot nd we'll talk more about your GPU needs".

    My only take away is the FOSS supporters are a passionate bunch, but a little naive. Someone provide a single good business case as to why nVidia should make such investments when it can make more money dedicating its finite resources to the products that are making good money? It's a business and their job is to make profits by producing to meet demand. It's that simple. nVidia DOES NOT HAVE TO DO ANYTHING it doesn't want to do or that does not make it or its shareholders richer. Return on investment people, that's all that matters. And not just nVidia, ATI, Intel, all of them - they don't have to do jack, nor do they have to explain why. The only people they have to explain to are the shareholders. If their decisions are making profits and the shareholders are happy, end of story.

    The needs of the many versus the needs of the few. The simple, hard to accept for some, factt is Windows is still dominant in consumer and business land. As a business you go where you know you'll make the most money. There will always be the unhappy minority you can't satisfy, so what.

  26. Sarah Davis

    who cares ?

    .. so he swore, so what ? He has good reason.

    My first experience with Linux was a complete fail due to the only Nvidia driver available offered 640x480 - so i replaced my Nvidia with an AMD and I've never bought or recommended Nvidia since. Yes I could have paid for a driver, but why? Drivers are free with the hardware. You don't buy hardware and then have to buy drivers to make it work. Regardless of what your argument is, Nvidia failed badly with Linux. They took a short-sighted and unprofessional stance - other than that it hardly warrants discussion

  27. Bugs R Us

    nVidia has more important things to do

    Sorry FOSS folks, but I doubt you can match the spending power of the US government.

    1. Robin Bradshaw
      Thumb Up

      Re: nVidia has more important things to do

      Lucky Titan doesnt run linux or GPU support would be a pain :)

      1. Lars Silver badge

        Re: nVidia has more important things to do

        I suppose you know very well it will run Linux.

  28. peyton?

    I think the comments can be summed up

    To paraphrase a famous quote:

    NVidia is the worst form of vendor, except for all the rest.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What!? No “Figure 1„ or “digitus impudicus" references? Opportunities like that are not to be wasted, you know.

  30. KAMiKZ


    wow, this open source puke, alongside with many others, (hold your horses, many OTHERS are splendid, okay, before you scream) whenever I asked: can you please make a version that's compatible with the other lib? Fukcers would say, "well, it's open source, you can always make your own"

    Well, Linus, it's open source, you can always make your fukcing own

    1. M Gale
      Paris Hilton

      Re: wow,

      But it's not open source, so he can't?

      1. KAMiKZ
        Thumb Down

        Re: wow,

        from what I've understood. there's this os, there's this piece of hardware, the hardware isn't providing drivers for this os, does it cost something to write a driver for this os and distribute it?

        1. M Gale

          "does it cost something to write a driver for this os and distribute it?"

          To throw a few docs out to the Linux guys and say "here's the hardware interface, go program your own sodding driver"? Probably not much. Certainly less than maintaining their own closed-source drivers.

  31. Richard Bragg

    No problems with nVidia in Linux

    Mostly I just enable the repository and off it goes. Even kernel updates are handled fine. When I have had problems I can download a file from nVidia which then (looks like) it builds something using the kernel headers and it still works.

    Maybe what's needed is some dialogue such that updating either component can be done without breaking something.

  32. Ross K

    I Never Thought I'd Say It, But...

    Linux and FOSS fanbois are rapidly becoming more irritating than their Apple counterparts...

  33. asdf

    and to add to the civility of the conversation

    I like money. I like money. You like money too? Whoa we should hang out!


    With Valve curretly porting Steam to Linux and a number of their games, perhaps Nvidia will have an incentive for getting its act together soon.

    1. FrankAlphaXII

      Do you really think the FOSS crowd is going to be welcoming to Steam on Linux? Its a DRM scheme you know, and given the Defective by Design campaign by the FSF and the general disdain for DRM among the various open source communities, I cant say I expect it to be very successful, as interesting as it is.

      1. yossarianuk

        Actually Stallman is more 'positive'...

        Stallman wrote a piece recently about Steam on Linux

        Although he gives reasons to be against DRM generally he does say

        (and this is perhaps the most pragmatic thing he has ever said regarding Linux / gnu/linux)

        "A well known company, Valve, that distributes nonfree computer games with Digital Restrictions Management, recently announced it would distribute these games for GNU/Linux. What good and bad effects can this have?

        I suppose that availability of popular nonfree programs on GNU/Linux can boost adoption of the system. However, our goal goes beyond making this system a “success”; its purpose is to bring freedom to the users. Thus, the question is how this development affects users' freedom.

        Nonfree games (like other nonfree programs) are unethical because they deny freedom to their users. If you want freedom, one requisite for it is not having these games on your computer. That much is clear.

        However, if you're going to use these games, you're better off using them on GNU/Linux rather than on Microsoft Windows. At least you avoid the harm to your freedom that Windows would do....."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That won't go anywhere. It's been shown over and over again that either there isn't a significant Linux gaming community or that Linux users in general don't want to pay for games.

      Ask Loki.

      Ask Tribsoft

      Ask LGP, who were are still around but left essentially moribund since their disk crash back in 9/2010.

      Ask Runesoft, who are around but stopped porting games for Linux almost 5 years ago.

      Recent Kickstarters have also shown that while Linux members are very vocal in comments, it doesn't really translate to $$.

      1. M Gale

        Loki, Tribsoft and all the rest

        After shelling out hundreds on Windows games, I am not going to shell out the exact same amount of money or more to get the exact same game working on a different OS.

        Seriously, £25 for a copy of X2: The Threat, when I already have every X game ever for Windows in a Superbox that cost me less?

        This is why those companies failed. Give me a patch for 50p that'll make the Windows version work in Linux, and I'll grab it in a heartbeat. Doom 3? UT2004? Old games perhaps, but still fully paid copies that work in Linux with a simple patch or the on-disk install script.

        So yes, let's ask these companies why they failed, shall we?

    3. M Gale

      Mmm, Steam.

      Steam is why I don't buy most PC games these days, regardless of whether it's on Windows or not.

      If my money isn't good enough for Valve, fine. I'll take my money elsewhere.

    4. P. Lee

      Valve curretly porting Steam to Linux

      It's nice to dream... Valve has already ported their games to OSX but the quality of OSX drivers doesn't match Windows either - allegedly.

      If the man from Apple can't get nvidia to move, I doubt Linus will.

      However, it is a bit of a win-win here. Publicity all-round. Linus says his bit, nvidia become a bit more helpful while not changing their position. nVidia get to revel in the "they're closed but they're better than AMD" glory, perhaps even open-source the tegra bits where manufacturing issues are probably more important than design.

      No harm done.

  35. vincent himpe

    let's look at it from a different perspective

    Nividia ( and broadcomm of you are ont he Pi bandwagon ) probably have invested bajillions of dollars in the technology underpinning the chipset. Most likely the driver contains part of the work. There is only so much the hardware does. It is a symbiotic relationship between the hardware and the driver. the driver dynamically decides whihc approach vector is better to to xyz and dynamically swaps things around. This is part of their success.

    So , by opening the sourcecode of the driver you are throwing away the keys to the castle !

    Now your competitors have it waay much easier to see how you go about doing certain things ( as opposed to having to reverse engineer them from assembly and a trace on the logic analyzer.. )

    As a company you do not want that ! ther's others out there witing to eat your lunch ...

    Then there is the other nasty thing. Linus DELIBERATLY breaks the API compatibility in an attempt to force nvidia to release the source. Guess what... nvidia puts up the finger as well...

    As for the Pi, there is yet another thing at play. The processor has HDMI with encryption on board.... they do NOT want people to find out how to disable that and hack away at this. So they deliver a closed driver that seals the cryptoblock. It would open an attack vector to disable all hdmi encryption and then a whole other can of worms opens up...

    And there's no doubt licencing problems as well. Some blocks in the broadcomm chip can only be used if someone coughs up some serious dough to some licencing companies like Mpgeg , ITU , Silicon Chip and others. By sealing these capabilities broadcomm protects their butt against lawsuits.

    Yes, the chip is technically capable , but it is the implementer that needs to cough up the licence fee.... failing due-diligence on broadcoms part to make it not to easy to get around this opens them to lawsuits.

    1. Robin Bradshaw

      Re: let's look at it from a different perspective

      HDMI with encryption you say!!!! sucks to be them, the master key has been known for nearly 2 years now.

  36. samlebon23
    Thumb Up

    He gave them the OPENFUCKING BIG FINGER.

    They don't need to pay, it's all royalty-free.

    Enjoy it NVIDIA. and put some CUDA on it.

  37. Kebabbert


    And Linus Torvalds is supposed to represent Linux? I would be surprised if I saw an adult raise middle finger and shouts "Fuck you" in a professional setting.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I approve of Linus' message...

    ...however, his middle finger technique needs improvement. The thumb must not go into the palm but must be out.

  39. Ilgaz

    We will all laugh at nvidia soon

    You know, opengl ES exists because of a need. It is there because the "real" opengl doesn't fit to small devices. Just like Java Me, one day, Android happened.

    One day, soon, this limitation will cease to exist and that time, ATI and Intel, even VIA will enjoy their community developed, tested and mature, cpu agnostic drivers.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    What is an F bomb?

    I know about the A bomb, and the H bomb..... but the F bomb?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. M Gale

      Re: What is an F bomb?

      Less dangerous than the A or H bombs, and less likely to get you lynched/arrested than an N bomb.

  41. jezh

    Harry Potter

    Is it just me or does Linus look like an older, business casual version of Harry Potter here?

    What spell is he casting?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows users hate Linux

    I wonder why Windows users seem to hate Linux. Why does Linux matter to them? It makes me think some of these people would actually prefer to continue with the monopoly that we have had for the last 30 years.

    This monopoly has greatly reduced the computing experience for everyone concerned.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows users hate Linux

      But Windows users get to enjoy the good healthy competition for their hard earned dollars from all the malware writers.....

      "Oooooooooooo another 4 types of antiviral, malware, spyware, root kit, full disk scans to go - before I can back up ANYTHING, lest it fester away at all my data....

      Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo DEFRAG........ 99% defraggles? Oooo spend 6 weeks defragging a 3 terrorbite hard drive and "presto marvello" - it's now only 98% defragged! Impressive.

      It only took me 4 days to find where the Microsoft people hid the log file of the results too... Clever thinking that is.. Makes my system secure.

      I can tell my computer is now so much better since I did that."

  43. mrunix

    AMD and intel

    are going to love it.

    nvidia better watch out for their gpu business, which runs on more or less linux only.

  44. Paul Stimpson

    I can only speak for myself here. Having been a Windows administrator for nearly 20 years and a Linux admin for around 10, I switched my small business from Windows to Linux several years ago.

    My experience has been that, in our applications, Linux takes much less looking after than Windows and we get to spend more time doing things that make us money. In addition, there's no need to spend money on anti-virus products. We now use one OS across all our desktops and data centre servers. I even have Linux on my mother's home PC and she gets on fine with it.

    The largest thorns in our side are the closed source programs we deploy: The binary nVidia drivers and Flash are implicated in over 90% of desktop crashes we experience. We consider the nVidia driver to be one of the most unreliable pieces of software we have and it's been our experience that it tends to fail under heavy load, particularly if Flash is in use. I don't remember the last time one of our ATI desktops crashed. Unfortunately, my main machine is a desktop-replacement and doesn't have a removable GPU otherwise that nVidia card would have come out a long time ago. We now consider "nVidia inside" as a negative when making purchase decisions.

    I do care about the about the freedom of the source, not from an ideological point of view but because I think it makes better sense to work with software which lets me contact the developers, look at it myself or pay someone else to than with programs that are closed and I am at the mercy of a development team. As I said, we are a small business, yet I've had many productive interactions with the developers of the software we use that have made a positive difference to us. In contrast, my largest customer has tens of thousands of Windows licenses and even they can't get hold of the team that developed the code or feed in change requests.

    We do have one Windows machine left (a dual boot with Linux) for dealing with firmware updaters for some of our customer hardware. This machine was recently updated to Windows 7 and, in my opinion, 7 is the best desktop version of Windows to date. However, the Linux desktop experience is now so good that we're not tempted to switch back at this time. I'm not saying that Linux is the right choice for everyone but I still believe it was, and still is, the right one for us.

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