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.

Source: The Linux Foundation; via Slashdot


Reader comments

NVIDIA joins the Linux Foundation - here's what it means for Android (hint: Not a lot)


"NVIDIA isn't likely to suddenly open-source its drivers for Tegra chipsets..."

And that is why I will never buy another device with their chipset in it.

my tmo gs2 begs to differ. barely got an ics alpha and barely boots up while other gs2 have working stable ones

Give Nvidia a break, they have every right not to opensource their drivers as it is HALF of their entire business in a way. Hardware side with the GPUs and other half for the drivers/software to "drive" that hardware. They are no where near as bad as Microsoft or Apple, at least they support Open source instead of try to crush it to make billions.

My next device will have Tegra 3, hopefully either Acer A700, Asus Transformer Pad Infinity (though I don't like the apparent single one sided speaker) or if a quad core good priced tablet comes out from Samsung before June with high res screen.

When was the last time you paid for NVidia software? They make the software to sell the hardware.

The reason they do not OSS their code is that they are a large company, and to do as much as they do, they have to have partners to do things for them. Some of these other companies are selling software to NVidia, and _they_ do not want their software to be open source (They are selling it, get it)?

Umm...as bad as apple is with their proprietary stuff, they actually contribute quite a bit to open source, CUPS for one, if I'm not mistaken was developed by them and I'm pretty sure they did quite a bit of work with openGL which is most likely the reason you can use your cell phones screen

Easy Software Inc and Red Hat developed CUPS.

OpenGL was developed by SGI.

Apple is notorious for their lack of contribution back to open source development. They have been forced into compliance by threat of lawsuit on more than one occasion. They're actually a bigger offender than Microsoft, because they admit to using open-source software and exploiting licenses that don't force them to release their source code changes. 

And yet all Android users use there fork of KHTML, aka Webkit... it does not have Safari logo on it for no reason. So every Android phone got piece of Apple in it as result ;] Now try to find at least something like that from Microsoft side.


They put the "K" in KHTML. (and the KJS engine used for javascript). Some of us have been using it since the '90's, long before Apple came into the picture :)

This would have been more interesting if Nvidia had joined the Linaro project, which works to improve Linux and Android on ARM-based platforms. Many of the major players participate in Linaro (Freescale, Samsung, IBM, TI, etc).

As i hear this ARM isolation between ARM Linux with rest of Kernel devs is not quite healthy. Besides i belive nvidia might more interested on open driver development for nvidia cards that going right now in kernel

That's one of the main issues that Linaro is addressing - the "fragmentation" of the different arm architectures in the Linux kernel. They're also working to upstream the Android changes to the Linux kernel.