Why did Nvidia cripple its Linux driver?

Today in Open Source: Nvidia hobbles its Linux driver to protect Windows. Plus: Stallman versus Apple. And is Microsoft desperate in mobile?

Nvidia Cripples Linux Driver

Nvidia has never had a good relationship with Linux, and now they've made it even worse. The Inquirer is reporting that Nvidia deliberately crippled its Linux driver to stop it from exceeding the Windows version.

According to a forum poster at the Nvidia Developer Zone, the v310 version of the drivers for Basemosaic has reduced the number of monitors a user can connect simultaneously to three.

The firm's reply to the post was the type of dismissive response that the Linux community has come to expect in its dealings with Nvidia.

Nvidia said, "For feature parity between Windows and Linux we set Basemosaic to [three] screens."

There can be one of two obvious motives for this, which amount to two sides of the same coin. Either Nvidia doesn't want to be seen to show up an embarrassing limitation in Windows or the Windows driver, or the continuing acrimony between the graphics firm and Linux is not over yet.

More at The Inquirer

Rather than offer my own commentary about this, I'll just let Linus say what has to be said in the video below. Note that the video contains profanity, so don't blast your volume if you're at work or some other inappropriate place.

Stallman Versus Apple

The Register takes a look at Richard Stallman and his loathing of the iPhone, and his reluctant endorsement of Android as an alternative.

The villain to the piece is Steve Jobs and his infernal iPhone. The iPhone powered from zero to 25 per cent market share in mere years. The device was a typically Jobsian experience: controlled form factor and hardware for predictable and error-free performance, typically.

Stallman railed against both the phone and its creator. The iPhone was not free; Apple has absolute control over what the masses can run on their iThings. The Emacs author branded Jobs, on his death, a "malign influence” on computing. The comments were a dark epitaph.

The free software world responded to Apple - but not exactly as Stallman wanted. Google came up with Android, a Linux-powered smartphone operating system that’s now on 75 per cent of the world’s handhelds thanks mostly to Samsung.

But Android sticks in the craw of software liberals like Stallman.

More at The Register

I can understand Stallman's unhappiness with Apple. But I'm not sure Android is exactly the best alternative, given Google's penchant for collecting people's information. I'd rather see Firefox OS, Ubuntu or some other alternative offer a third choice that skips Apple and Google altogether. It's always better when consumers have more choices.

Microsoft Wants Windows on HTC Phones

Microsoft seems to be getting more and more desperate to get somebody...anybody...to put Windows on their phones. Now they're trying to get HTC to do it on their Android phones for little or no money.

Microsoft Corp. is talking to HTC Corp. (2498) about adding its Windows operating system to HTC’s Android-based smartphones at little or no cost, people with knowledge of the matter said, evidence of the software maker’s struggle to gain ground in the mobile market.

Terry Myerson, head of Microsoft’s operating systems unit, asked HTC last month to load Windows Phone as a second option on handsets with Google Inc. (GOOG)’s rival software, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Myerson discussed cutting or eliminating the license fee to make the idea more attractive, the people said. The talks are preliminary and no decision has been made, two people said.

More at Bloomberg

Wow. How the mighty have fallen! Who would have thought that Microsoft would be in the position of almost begging for somebody to use their software on phones?

It's a far cry from the company's days of dominance, before the dark times...before mobile devices took off with a vengeance. But all things pass and Microsoft's day in the sun is probably behind them as the company lurches from one desperate move to another in the mobile market.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

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