Nvidia Seeks Glasnost With Linux, Contributes Open Source Code

Is it the start of glasnost between Linux and Nvidia? In a move that surprised everyone, Nvidia has provided some open source developer support that benefits Linux.

Nvidia actually joined the Linux Foundation in March 2012, but did not follow through on their concurrent duty to help forward Linux by providing support. The situation was so bad that only three months later, no less than Linux founder (and still overseer) Linux Torvalds gave the company the finger while describing them as the single worst company the foundation has had to work with.

At the time, Nvidia held firm, and explained that they insist in providing their own proprietary drivers instead of supporting open source alternatives so that they can ensure parity for the Nvidia experience across Windows and Linux.

They changed their tune September last year, sharing some documentation to assist in the development of Nouveau, an open-source alternative to Nvidia’s own drivers.

And now, they have gone a step further, by actually contributing code to Nouveau. The code made was to help Nvidia’s Tegra line of GPUs, but is recognizes as a significant step forward in Nvidia support for open source. Nvidia was quick to set expectations, explaining their work was limited to Tegra for now. However, it would benefit the development of any and all drivers on Nvidia hardware.

Whatever you think of the FOSS movement, or Nvidia itself, this is a step forward to actual Nvidia support of Linux desktop PCs. With Steam Machines out in the market now, it would seem that Nvidia has motivation to move into this direction in the near future as well.