Nvidia is the by far biggest marker of graphics card chips for x86-64 computers. Their chips are found in a wide range of desktop and laptop computers. Nvidia is directly hostile towards free software and the Linux kernel community describes them as one of the most difficult companies they have to work with.
Linux support[edit | edit source]
There is a free driver for Nvidia cards available called
nouveau which can be used - but it's horribly slow on modern cards. The reason is not due to lack of effort from the free software community, is is actually due to various choices made by Nvidia. Their newer GPUs use signed firmware which is closed source. The practical result is that free drivers can not clock or power-manage Nvidia GPUs which results in horrible performance.
Linus Torvalds described Nvidia as "The single worst company we've dealt with" at a Q&A at Aalto university on June 14th, 2012.
Non-Free driver is required for acceptable performance[edit | edit source]
Nvidia offers a proprietary binary blob driver and prefers that you use this over the free driver. Some distributions, like Manjaro Linux, include this driver. Others, like Debian and Fedora, do not make installation of this non-free driver easy.
The driver does have some problems, it tends to be specific to kernel and X server version. This means that Nvidia's driver will to some degree dictate what core components your system can use.
Links[edit | edit source]
- nouveau driver feature-matrix: https://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/FeatureMatrix/
- nouveau manual: https://man.linuxreviews.org/man4/nouveau.4.html