Nvidia why they don't release 3D driver source

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warkus
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Nvidia why they don't release 3D driver source

Postby warkus » Wed May 30, 2012 11:25 am

Hi all, I recently asked Nvidia via their website why they don't release the source code for their 3D drivers.
(My question was more like a short essay on the benefits of open source :lol: )
I recieved two emails in response without being able to provide another answer than the one on the Nvidia FAQ (which I stated in my question to them as being a weak excuse).
The response from the Linux Support team said that my question was going to be taken to the decision makers, I am not sure who the "decision makers" are but at least the question of open sourcing drivers will be asked at an executive level.

Anyway just thought I'd share this, I will post any info/replies I get from Nvidia in regards to open sourcing the 3D driver, I'm not holding my breath tho.

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Re: Nvidia why they don't release 3D driver source

Postby SR » Wed May 30, 2012 11:34 am

That's a bizarre response. Seeing as how people have been griping for years about the driver not being open source you'd think that Nvidia wouldn't act like this is the first time somebody has mentioned it to them.

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Re: Nvidia why they don't release 3D driver source

Postby warkus » Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:29 am

Why aren't the NVIDIA Linux drivers open source? (Nvidia FAQ)
http://nvidia.custhelp.com/app/answers/ ... LUl5Wms%3D

My question was for another reason other than the one in the link
Most of these companies require NVIDIA to provide an end-to-end solution which stipulates that NVIDIA be wholly responsible for product delivery and support, including the drivers. This is the primary reason why NVIDIA has decided to retain source code control for our 3D graphics engine.

This does not make sense to me as they then go on to say
However, NVIDIA does fundamentally believe in open source for the Linux community, and thus our GeForce 2D graphics drivers, nForce audio drivers, nForce network drivers, graphics Control Panel, Installer, and Linux Update utility are all open source and freely available.

These two quotes seem to contradict each other, so I was initially asking for another explanation. I also asked them to consider releasing the 3D source code (and listed the few obvious advantages this would have for Linux kernel development etc).

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Re: Nvidia why they don't release 3D driver source

Postby raboof » Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:56 am

My first moderation: removed a stupid comment and replies to it. I'll gladly disclose the removed posts, just PM me.

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Re: Nvidia why they don't release 3D driver source

Postby slowpick » Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:07 am

So a random stranger, asking a giant corporation to give up a cornerstone
of their business, so he/she can be in some way, 'happier', is deemed an intelligent question,
but my response pointing out the realities of 'ownership' in day-to-day reality
gets removed?

Its your forum, make it a religious shrine, and soak up the worship. You are lucky
nVidia don't charge for the drivers they give freely to linux for so many years now.

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Re: Nvidia why they don't release 3D driver source

Postby slowpick » Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:13 am

raboof wrote:My first moderation: removed a stupid comment and replies to it. I'll gladly disclose the removed posts, just PM me.

As a moderator, you should realize that the purpose of forums even having a section
like 'backstage', is to allow discussions to proceed without the normal babysitter.

Moderate the rest of the place, fine by me, I am a guest,
but either leave this section for ongoing discussions, or just remove it.

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Re: Nvidia why they don't release 3D driver source

Postby Heavy Duty » Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:53 am

What did Slowpick say that was so offensive that it needed to be called "stupid" and deleted? I have read other posts by him around here and he's never so much as sworn.

I sincerely hope that you didn't delete his post just because you disagree, Raboof. I had thought you were a better person than that.

I know Nathan places a high value on freedom of speech on his forum, and unless there was something blatantly offensive about his post (which I haven't seen due to censorship) this is pretty pathetic. :roll:

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Re: Nvidia why they don't release 3D driver source

Postby SR » Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:12 pm

slowpick wrote:You are lucky nVidia don't charge for the drivers they give freely to linux for so many years now.


I don't think I've run across any companies yet that charge money for their drivers. Can you name some so I can know who to avoid?

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Re: Nvidia why they don't release 3D driver source

Postby slowpick » Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:59 pm

Driver version labor costs are real, and billed out as OS product version updates, or upgrades, new hardware versions adding Mac or 64bit support, integration of new default technologies
like hdmi, 1080p, multi-monitor support, additional cpu architectures, rendering engines,
yada yada

In the linux case, since it is often freely distributed, there is not usually
a boxed-set or OS upgrade billing cycle, to pin the driver costs on. So the cost is recouped
during new hardware graphics card sales, and new models are released in time to keep a steady
revenue stream going.

nVidia has graciously made the linux driver a free download, with basic install docs online,
when the support it provides, does not generate lots of extra revenue, since users need
a graphics display in any case. A thankyou is much more appropriate,
than nagging them to give away their fortunes on an endless stream of whims.

There are small computer niche communities that run bounties to pay for drivers, when there
is no money in it for the manufacturer, and likely not the employees able to do it.

Things could be a lot worse.
Last edited by slowpick on Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Nvidia why they don't release 3D driver source

Postby slowpick » Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:12 pm

I think as far as moderation goes, there is a learning curve, responsibilities,
but no paycheck. So I won't expect perfection, but make the occasional suggestion.

The advantage of freely airing different opinions, is that when it is well stated,
you get to understand the other persons position, while hopefully improving your own
communication skills. I can handle the occasional name-calling, if it is backed up with
sound reason and logic. I am a work in progress, to put it mildly.

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Re: Nvidia why they don't release 3D driver source

Postby SR » Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:25 pm

Nvidia (like many other companies) graciously provide free driver downloads whether you are running Windows, Linux or any other supported OS. We thank them with our dollars when we buy their hardware. And considering that Nvidia hardware isn't just used by freeloading Linux enthusiasts at home there is also a legitimate business interest as well so there is a lot of thank you's coming in the way of corporate dollars.

Of course none of this explains how they could lose money by making the driver open source since you, yourself said:

the cost is recouped during new hardware graphics card sales, and new models are released in time to keep a steady revenue stream going.

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Re: Nvidia why they don't release 3D driver source

Postby raboof » Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:02 pm

slowpick wrote:I think as far as moderation goes, there is a learning curve, responsibilities,
but no paycheck. So I won't expect perfection, but make the occasional suggestion.

Thank you for taking the time to reword your argument more constructively, I really do appreciate it. "stupid comment" might have been a bit harsh on my side, but I guess the way the thread was going struck a sore nerve with me. I'm learning :).

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warkus
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Re: Nvidia why they don't release 3D driver source

Postby warkus » Wed Jun 06, 2012 5:54 am

@slowpick

So a random stranger, asking a giant corporation to give up a cornerstone
of their business, so he/she can be in some way, 'happier', is deemed an intelligent question,
but my response pointing out the realities of 'ownership' in day-to-day reality
gets removed?


I did not at all "ask a giant corporation to give up a cornerstone of their business" as you put it, what I asked was why they won't release 3D driver source when they already release all the other software source. To only not release the source for the 3D driver is strange to me, and is not explained on the Nvidia website. Hence "a random stranger" asked a question. If I don't ask them such questions (out of pure curiosity, who will) will you? or do you just accept that your opinion is irrelevant?
Where's the harm in asking?
I personally agree with Nvidia that they do need to provide an end to end solution for their customers, and guess what, there must be millions of customers running GNU/Linux !!! I can give you figures if you like? Because I know that many schools in Brazil, the French police force, various governments, datacenters etc are running linux and most likely using a mother board with integrated Nvidia chips if not descrete Nvidia cards. So in fact there are literally millions of Linux customers who are paying for their computers which in turn pays nvidia to develop drivers for its customers!!!

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Re: Nvidia why they don't release 3D driver source

Postby slowpick » Wed Jun 06, 2012 5:57 pm

So where are AMD and Intel, and the other industry giants that are directly competing
AGAINST nvidia for those millions of linux customers? The entourage seeking free nVidia sourcecode
may indeed be vast, but I doubt they will be any more successful than random strangers.

Valuable source code is released to cooperating developers, for nVidias potential benefit.
Any nVidia source code release that is totally for public use, is either EOL, of marginal value,
or is a diversionary tactic. But go for it:

(408) 486-2000 and ask for the free stuff developer.
http://developer.nvidia.com/contact.

Industrial espionage, and deep reverse engineering, will be far more successful in actually
getting anything useful in an OS distribution.

I admit have tried to get a restaurant to name the spices used in the sauces used for their
delicious kookaburra wings, and just get laughed at, or invited to take a walkabout,
and that is in a much smaller market range. :)

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Re: Nvidia why they don't release 3D driver source

Postby slowpick » Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:02 pm

warkus wrote: So in fact there are literally millions of Linux customers who are paying for their computers which in turn pays nvidia to develop drivers for its customers!!!


So we can agree that 'free', is not a term to be used describing software drivers.
Fair enough.


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