The abrupt merging of Nouveau
Posted Dec 16, 2009 1:11 UTC (Wed) by gdt
In reply to: The abrupt merging of Nouveau
Parent article: The abrupt merging of Nouveau
It was never that easy -- for a long time there was a tradeoff between going with the graphics performance but higher maintenance costs of NVIDIA hardware and their closed-source software, or choosing a lesser performing option with open source's better maintainability (ie: Intel).
But now that conventional wisdom is a mess. NVIDIA hardware is well off the pace, likely to get worse, and the company's ongoing survival is risk to the ongoing maintenance which their closed-source drivers require. Intel changed their graphics engine for PowerVR and offer a closed-source driver with poor software maintenance. Intel have just cancelled their own graphics core and are yet to describe the future direction of Intel graphics hardware.
That leaves ATI/AMD. Nice hardware for this generation and looking good for the next. The open source driver seems to be coming along well, with the manufacturer issuing programming specifications. AMD are starting to look good as the choice for Linux systems, offering both performance and maintainability, a combination we haven't seen together for a very long time.
[And no, I'm not a fanboi of any of the above. I've got a lot of respect for Intel's contributions to X, and still find it difficult to think that any company could be so silo-ed such that one part of the business could so comprehensively counter the strategic direction of another part of the same company. I'm also very impressed by the technical achievement which is NVIDIA's driver: a lot of what X is currently doing already exists in the NVIDIA driver. But the thought of NVIDIA's finances forcing the abandonment of that driver, and thus being tied to a particular historic Linux distribution, is just scary to administrators of large cutting-edge desktop installations. In a sense, that serves the CGI firms right -- if they had requested an open source driver in the past then it would have happened, now they reap the consequences of that lack of foresight.]
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