NVIDIA joins the Linux Foundation

Fluendo, Lineo Solutions, Mocana have just joined the Linux Foundation but the big news is that major graphics chip maker NVIDIA is now officially supporting Linux.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

NVIDIA seems to finally be throwing its weight behind the Linux desktop.

NVIDIA seems to finally be throwing its weight behind the Linux desktop.

The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Linux has announced that four companies are joining the organization: Fluendo, Lineo Solutions, Mocana, and NVIDIA. The big news here is that NVIDIA, the major graphic chip original equipment manufacturer (OEM), is finally officially supporting Linux.

Now that NVIDIA is a member of the Linux Foundation, all three of the major graphic chip designers--AMD Graphics Technologies (formerly ATI) and Intel--are backing Linux. NVIDIA, best known for its GeForce chipsets, has long had an uncomfortable relationship with Linux.

While NVIDIA has long shipped Linux graphic drivers and has kept its Linux drivers up-to-date, the drivers for their graphic processors have always used proprietary binary blobs. This meant free-software users couldn't use the drivers and open-source developers couldn't work on them to improve them.

Even now though, it's still not clear that NVIDIA will be open-sourcing its drivers. Still Scott Pritchett, NVIDIA's VP of Linux Platform Software, said in a statement that the company "is strongly committed to enabling world-class experiences and innovation with our GPU and mobile products. Membership in The Linux Foundation will accelerate our collaboration with the organizations and individuals instrumental in shaping the future of Linux, enabling a great experience for users and developers of Linux," sounds promising.

On the other hand, there's not a word about NVIDIA joining the Linux Foundation on NVIDA's Web site. There have also been no peeps of news from Nouveau, the open-source effort to fully support NVIDIA's graphic processors. Still, it's hard to see why NVIDIA would make this move if the company hadn't decided to fully embrace Linux.

As for the other companies, Fluendo has long been a leading Linux multimedia software development company. Fluendo employs several of the central developers of Gstreamer, the popular open source media framework and it has also developed legal proprietary video format playback plug-ins and a Linux software DVD Player. Lineo is a Japanese-based embedded Linux company. Mocana is a device-agnostic security platform that protects mobile devices, apps and their networked services

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