Linux Movers and Shakers Seek Common Ground

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 06-18-2007
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.—At the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit held at the Googleplex last week, Linux developers, IHVs and ISVs hashed out their differences in an attempt to find common ground.

Hardware issues

Hardware, as ever, remains a pain point for Linux developers and users.

Speaking to a matter near and dear to many Linux desktop users, Chris DiBona, Google's open-source program manager, said, "I would love to get either Nvidia or ATI to actually give us the specs on the drivers we want or let's just reverse engineer everything and do it ourselves. I would like to see you guys [the Linux developers] do that. ...Then, people would say 'Oh, well, there are free drivers out there, more people are using it, we'll open-source our drivers, and so the users will use our driver and at least get the best experience.'"

Unfortunately, even with DiBona seeing two of Nvidia executives every week at their gym and telling them, "You guys have got to open this up because it will just get uglier and uglier and uglier," neither ATI nor Nvidia came to the meeting, and from discussions at the gathering, neither seems interested in doing more for the Linux community than they already are doing.

Click here to read the open-sourcing of the Google Web Toolkit.

One area where we can look forward to some improvement is power management. Andrew Morton, a leading Linux kernel developer and the production kernel manager, said, "Today most power management in Linux is still binary. A device is either on or off. But, many vendors are now providing low power or reduced power states."

Morton said that the development community is working hard on improving Linux's power management. As always, though, to make that happen sooner rather than later, Linux device developers need—if not access to the actual device code—at least the device specifications.

Jesse Barnes, a Linux developer from Intel, added that while Intel, as everyone agreed, has been putting resources into power management, "We don't have enough and we need other vendors to step up."

Read the full story on Linux-Watch: Linux Movers and Shakers Seek Common Ground