Just when we all thought - or some wanted us to think - that NVIDIA has lackluster support for open source, it's become known that the company will soon be publicly releasing some GPU programming documentation for its Tegra architecture. At the moment, this documentation will affect Tegra's 2D rendering engine only, but there's hope that 3D will be added to the mix at some point in the future.
This new support from NVIDIA was unveiled during a talk by Lucas Stach at the X.org-focused XDC2012 conference in Nürnberg, Germany, which is sure to bring a smile to Linus Torvald's face. You might recall that back in June, Linus gave the middle finger (literally) to NVIDIA for its appalling support of its Optimus technology in Linux. While not the most professional manner in which to get a point across, it did result in Optimus for Linux eventually getting announced.
As reported by Michael Larabel at Phoronix, one of Stach's slides stated, "NVIDIA committed to OpenSource", which is where the upcoming Tegra documentation release was first mentioned. As Phoronix reports, NVIDIA earlier this year had apparently worked with two developers for the Nouveau project, even going as far as to sample a couple of GeForce GTX 680s to make sure its driver was up to snuff as quickly as possible.
Perhaps even more interesting - there's also on-going support for the as-of-yet unreleased GK110, a.k.a. Tesla K20. It's not uncommon to see hardware support added to the Linux kernel long before a product ships - there's already some Haswell support, in fact - but it's not something we ever expect to see from NVIDIA.
It's hard to say that any of this is a sign that NVIDIA is truly beginning to embrace open source, and I sure wouldn't expect the Nouveau driver to catch up to the proprietary one anytime soon, but things are looking good nonetheless.