Open source software is written by people with an itch to scratch, and -- unfortunately -- no
amount of philosophical reasoning will provide free graphics drivers for people on NVIDIA
hardware. Thus, the only way these people are going to get high end consumer hardware to work
on their boxes, is to either use the proprietary driver or to write drivers themselves.
It is true that this effort seems to punish NVIDIA's competitors who are either open source's
poster child in this area (intel) or making noises of gradually improving a previously bad
situation (ATI/AMD). But, to resolve this apparent problem, all one has to do is to ask, how
we got into the current state. Why do people have an itch to scratch, that we rather they
It's because a short while ago, when the nouveau effort started, there was no credible
alternative for high end consumer graphics cards with open drivers. Intel, as the article
correctly points out, occupies the low end of on-board graphics refusing to offer a
stand-alone version of their products that would be able to compete with NVIDIA's or ATI's
offerings. AS far as I know they are planning to enter that market with the Larrabee cards,
planned for release in 2010. As for ATI / AMD there is, to my knowledge, still no open/free
driver for any of their recent chips, although we have been hearing rumors that things are
going to get better Real Soon Now (TM).
So in effect, the punishment that intel and ATI may be feeling now is due to the fact that
they are too late in providing a solution for people's needs in high power GPUs. Had any such
alternative existed say two years ago, I'm sure that people would long have started voting
with their wallets. I know I would have. Instead, lots of intelligent people have bought
NVIDIA hardware. And if you have lots intelligent people sharing the same itch to scratch,
eventually you will get a solution to that problem...