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Linux is one of those controversial systems that splits people up more than in a Mac versus PC argument. There are some users that swear by its ability for full customization, and its use of free software. It was the basis of the Android OS, so it has some value. However, there are others that consider it too imperfect and difficult for mainstream use.
Founder Linus Torvalds has always been very vocal about trying to push Linux into the mainstream, although maybe a little too vocal. He is adamant about the use of open-source software, for example, saying that “Software is like sex; it’s better when it’s free.”
This is a guy that has outright said “My name is Linus Torvalds and I am your god,” albeit jokingly.
Based on this information, it should come as no surprise that Linus is able to blatantly insult a big tech company and get away with it.
A video appeared earlier in the week that showed Torvalds giving a talk at the Aalto Center for Entrepreneurship in Otaniemi, Finland. When asked about Nvidia’s adamant refusal to do support for Linux, he responded with a nice big “fuck you.”
(Around the 48 minute mark) “Nvidia has been one of the worst trouble spots we’ve had with hardware manufacturers. And that’s really sad because Nvidia tries to sell a lot of chips into the Android market. And Nvidia has been the single worst company we’ve ever dealt with… So, Nvidia, fuck you.”
And then the Internet blew up. The end.
Well Nvidia has always been a sore spot for Linux users. Their chips are in many products, including the newer Android products, and have been unable to provide support and a semblance of support.
In response to the outburst, and subsequent Internet-wide applause, Nvidia released a brief statement on Tuesday defending their actions. The company stated, overall, that they do all they can to support Linux and while they cannot provide the best experience, they do it so “to provide the most consistent GPU experience to our customers, regardless of platform or operating system.”
Nvidia continues to state that they are not completely without Linux support, as they state that they are involved with many aspects of the operating system, “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.”
Otherwise, the company promises no improvements or changes.
Whether this PR move will do anything to Nvidia’s representation in the Linux community is uncertain, although based on responses to Torvalds’ rant, it can be said that it’ll probably do jack squat. Linux users are some of the most stubborn people I have ever met, and are incredibly faithful to their operating system, especially those who contribute software. Plus, Torvalds is like a god. He is a quite a character.
It is true though that Nvidia supports Linux in its own way. It is more logical for the company to offer its own drivers so it can offer a similar experience for both Linux and Windows (oh yeah there are other operating systems… forgot about my poor Windows 7).
Either way it seems that Linux users are out of luck on that front, and will just have to continue to make their own workarounds, complain on forums, and listen to Torvalds say crazy things.
Those of us who read about tech or write about tech are probably okay with that.