Last year Linus Torvalds, project coordinator at Linux, said that Nvidia was “the single worst company” the Linux kernal has ever worked with. In fact, he famously gave them the finger. But it looks as if relations are thawing, as Nvidia has pledged to improve the usability of its kit with open source drivers. Torvalds has changed his stance to “cautiously optimistic.”
Andy Ritger of Nvidia has emailed developers of Nouveau, an open source driver designed to accommodate Nvidia cards on Linux PCs.
“Nvidia is releasing public documentation on certain aspects of our GPUs, with the intent to address areas that impact the out-of-the-box usability of Nvidia GPUs with Nouveau,” he wrote. “We intend to provide more documentation over time, and guidance in additional areas as we are able.”
It’s a small move, but one that speaks of serious intent to make Nvidia more Linux-friendly.
“More BIOS-related information is in the pipeline,” the company’s Andy Ritger told Ars Technica. “Our goal is for the Nouveau driver to give NVIDIA users a reasonable out-of-the-box experience. This entails things like successful GPU initialization, display configuration, and basic 2D and 3D rendering.”
Ars Technica also spoke to Torvalds: “I’m cautiously optimistic that this is a real shift in how Nvidia perceives Linux. The actual docs released so far are fairly limited, and in themselves they wouldn’t be a big thing, but if Nvidia really does follow up and start opening up more, that would certainly be great.
“They’ve already been much better in the ARM SoC space than they were on the more traditional GPU side, and I really hope that some day I can just apologize for ever giving them the finger.”