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Linus Torvalds lashes out against NVIDIA

XDA’s developers may be the saviors of many halfhearted stock Android OS out of the box, and NVIDIA and Qualcomm are not making it any easier on advocates of open source.

XDA’s developers may be the saviors of many halfhearted stock Android OS out of the box, and NVIDIA and Qualcomm are not making it any easier on advocates of open source. 

In a recent YouTube video, Linus Torvalds was asked about NVIDIA’s lack of support for Linux, and Torvalds essentially said NVIDIA doesn’t give a “f*ck” about the open source community and that all NVIDIA cares about is selling chips. 

“It’s sad, because NVIDIA tries to sell chips, a lot of chips into the Android market, and NVIDIA has been the single worst company we’ve ever had to deal with.  So NVIDIA, f*ck* you,” Torvalds exclaimed.

Hardware manufacturers that sell their product through an open source platform like Android will get a lot of heat from developers if they don’t provide support for the hardware they make.  XDA-developers’ ADAMOUTLER sums the problem with NVIDIA’s and Qualcomm’s, often, closed hardware rather nicely:

“Closed hardware makes it difficult for developers to isolate and troubleshoot problems.  You can take a look into the past, almost one year ago, when Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was released.  The first fully supported processor was the Samsung Exynos, followed up quickly by the Texas Instruments OMAP, and shortly thereafter, the Samsung Hummingbird.  It was quite literally months of development work, which involved getting data through official and not-so-official channels to get ICS on these closed-hardware NVIDIA and Qualcomm processors.”

“There is quite simply no reason whatsoever for an Open Platform like Android to be reduced to running on Closed Hardware like Tegra or Snapdragon,” he added. 

Update 1

NVIDIA issued a statement to Phoronix:

Supporting Linux is important to NVIDIA, and we understand that there are people who are as passionate about Linux as an open source platform as we are passionate about delivering an awesome GPU experience. 
Recently, there have been some questions raised about our lack of support for our Optimus notebook technology. When we launched our Optimus notebook technology, it was with support for Windows 7 only. The open source community rallied to work around this with support from the Bumblebee Open Source Project http://bumblebee-project.org/. And as a result, we've recently made Installer and readme changes in our R295 drivers that were designed to make interaction with Bumblebee easier. 
While we understand that some people would prefer us to provide detailed documentation on all of our GPU internals, or be more active in Linux kernel community development discussions, we have made a decision to support Linux on our GPUs by leveraging NVIDIA common code, rather than the Linux common infrastructure. While this may not please everyone, it does allow us to provide the most consistent GPU experience to our customers, regardless of platform or operating system. 
As a result: 
1) Linux end users benefit from same-day support for new GPUs , OpenGL version and extension parity between NVIDIA Windows and NVIDIA Linux support, and OpenGL performance parity between NVIDIA Windows and NVIDIA Linux. 
2) We support a wide variety of GPUs on Linux, including our latest GeForce, Quadro, and Tesla-class GPUs, for both desktop and notebook platforms. Our drivers for these platforms are updated regularly, with seven updates released so far this year for Linux alone. The latest Linux drivers can be downloaded from www.nvidia.com/object/unix.html. 
3) We are a very active participant in the ARM Linux kernel. For the latest 3.4 ARM kernel – the next-gen kernel to be used on future Linux, Android, and Chrome distributions – NVIDIA ranks second in terms of total lines changed and fourth in terms of number of changesets for all employers or organizations. 
At the end of the day, providing a consistent GPU experience across multiple platforms for all of our customers continues to be one of our key goals.

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