NVIDIA driver *taints* kernel???

Gain Paolo Mureddu gmureddu at prodigy.net.mx
Fri Jan 21 09:37:37 UTC 2005

This issue (IMO) is a very delicate one (despite the taint)... simply 
because to some people it will give them the creeps to think of having a 
single piece of proprietary software in their systems... I'm not against 
proprietary (if by that we understand comercial too) software on my 
system, as long as it gets the job done. Sure I'd rather use free 
software (free as in freedom) than proprietary. Still the Open Source 
model is generating a shift in people's perception of how software could 
be developed, delivered, deployed and more importantly used. In this 
regard in particular, besides being one of the areas where Linux needs 
more support, mainly from the manufacturers and possibly vendors to 
broaden hardware support, consumer hardware at that, and whether we like 
it or not, 3D graphics cards fall into this category (from low2mid 
range) because often lower-end graphics solutions from the leading 
companies rely on virtually the same hardware as their top notch 
top-of-the line products counterparts (G6600/X600). The way I see it, 
companies have two options: a) Either they provide the drivers 
themselves (which has been the case for 3D graphics cards from nVidia 
and ATi, heck even Matrox) or b) they provide as much information as 
they can (without violating any treatees they could have with third 
party technology providers... S3TC, anyone?) so the community could 
write pure Open Sourced drivers which will obviously lack both: features 
and performance. These two later "side-effects" may not be a problem for 
those users to whom proprietary, closed-sourced software gives them 
goosebumps, but may lure away from Linux users who are willing to 
consider the system as their primary OS. I could not say for sure, but I 
estimate that a great deal (most?) of the home desktop owners also at 
some point do some gaming (which would justify at least support for the 
low2medium range products), where as on corporate desktops that would 
not be of any relevance, and full 2D power may still be required.

Sadly, in the way our society has been modeled, mass success and 
pedantic purity are mutually exclusive (refering to pure OSS and mass 
addoption)... For some even the price appeal of OSS is not enough to 
make the switch, if they're not assured that they will still be able to 
use their computer as they are used to... It is difficult to keep 
everyone happy... and in that regard Linux and the broad range of 
distributions is a belssing.

My 2¢

More information about the users mailing list