Last week I did an article delving a little deeper into the new HUD system for Ubuntu Linux. Linux has been in the spotlight for a little while now as news of the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS version creeps closer to Gold and will be seeded to servers and torrent sites all around the world. But while one company doesn’t necessarily represent to ever-changing face of the open-source landscape, its worth taking note of news from the parent body, the Linux Foundation.
The foundation was created to preserve the vision of Linus Torvalds that open-source software should be free, open and easily editable to many. In addition, the foundation sought to include hardwae vendors in its list so that they could work on the software and develop drivers and create opportunities for the OS to shine. Unfortunately, its been a trying time for many coders, especially back from the early days. Many drivers and software had to be reverse-engineered in order to get thins working, and only in the last ten or so years has there been progress on support by larger companies such as Nvidia. Large-scale system builders such as ASUS also have a presence at the foundation, and were also one of the first companies to offer Linux to the mainstream market, gaining some ground rather quickly with the original Eee PC.
Last week Nvidia and three more companies made commitments to the foundation. Nvidia has been providing long-term support in the form of proprietary drivers and software for their graphics solutions, but joining the foundation is an unrelated activity. Nvidia’s Kepler graphics architecture is due out this year, and features greater support for parallel computing and use in CUDA workstations. Like GF104 before it, Kepler promises greater performance in Direct Compute-aware applications. Since Nvidia’s highest-paying customers are basically companies that require huge data-crunching centers worth millions, it makes sense that those centers also run on Linux – it is far more scalable in parallel environments, and infinitely more configurable for whatever purpose is required. Nvidia’s commitment to the continual advamcement of Linux will be worth the watch – they already have the server market covered, and its up to AMD to step up and make the same move.
The other three companies are a little more obscure. Fluendo basically makes a very full-featured alternative to Nero’s Windows suite complete with DVD Movie backups, DVD Decoding and MP3 editing. Lineo is a company that makes racing boats (they’re probably doing some CAD stuff) and Mocana secure your website and network traffiic using their proprietary protection systems. Now, a lot of people would look at this piece of news and just see four companies promising more support for Linux and think that there’s nothing relating the four of them – you’d be right, all four of them don’t match.
But Fluendo and Lineo both stand to benefit from Nvidia’s involvement in the foundation. Their products could benefit from the hardware acceleration GF104 and Kepler will inevitably provide, and being at the center of it all will help make some inroads in making their products better. Its interesting to note that everyone jumps to support CUDA but not AMD’s Stream technology. They go where the money is, I guess, and they must both be onto something if they’re joining now. Kepler may be a force to be reckoned with, but only time will tell just how it’s going to change Nvidia’s standing in the market.