I, and many other Linux users, do not consider nVidia's drivers to be "a
lump of coal." What "counts" is being able to use my hardware effectively.
Closed-source drivers may not be ideal, but few things in life are.
Even the conservative Debian distribution (which I use) has the nVidia
drivers available in the distribution.
In order of preference (for me):
1) High-quality drivers with open source
2) High-quality drivers with closed source
3) Poor-quality drivers with open source
4) Poor-quality drivers with closed source
Out of four possibilities, we're getting the next-to-best thing. Certainly,
I'd *like* to have the specs for nVidia's cards -- but given competition
between nVidia and ATI, I don't see that happening. One advantage nVidia has
(small as it may be) is high-quality drivers for Linux; it's one reason my
Linux systems have TNT2 and GeForce 4 cards installed.
Note that my Windows boxes run ATI cards; I'm not an nVidia shill.
One of Linux's historical weaknesses (when compared to the competition) is
video support. While I urge nVidia to open their specifications (and in the
end think it would be in their best interest), I'm also very pleased that
they provide high-performance drivers for free (as in beer).
-- Scott Robert Ladd Coyote Gulch Productions (http://www.coyotegulch.com) Professional programming for science and engineering; Interesting and unusual bits of very free code.
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