The Linux Foundation has announced four new members this week, including the familiar face of NVIDIA. As most of us here know, Android is based on the Linux kernel, and NVIDIA has become a major hardware player on our phones and tablets. But what does this mean for Android users?
On the surface, it's excellent news. NVIDIA will invest money into advancing Linux, and by proxy, all open-source projects based on it. Linux has always been strong in the enterprise (some figures claim that over 60 percent of the servers on the Internet run Linux). However, its role in the desktop, and until recently mobile, has been much smaller. Because of this, and also to blame for this -- it's a Catch-22, is the relatively poor showing multimedia makes when talking Linux. This is where NVIDIA can make a difference. With its investment, other players may feel more compelled to develop for Linux and Linux-based projects like Android. We want more support from all hardware and software vendors, and getting a company like NVIDIA on board is a big step.
On the other hand, not much is really going to change for users like us. NVIDIA isn't likely to suddenly open-source its drivers for Tegra chipsets, or even offer more support than they do now. hat they have done is show support for a cheap operating system that bridges their expensive hardware and their showcase software together. This makes sense from a business point of view -- make games that show off the power of your product, and invest time and money into the conduit that makes it possible.
In the end, this one doesn't really affect Android fans directly. Nothing we're concerned with will change, and NVIDIA has always shown support for Linux and Android without being an official Linux Foundation member. But it is nice seeing a company give a little back, and the folks behind the scenes building Linux will put it all to good use.