Monday, June 02, 2008

Nvidia drops Gelato Pro

This just seems to be a day to talk about subjects I don't like. Next up is the topic of Nvidia. Previous readers of this blog know that I'm a little less than thrilled with Nvidia's behavior. I've commented before that I don't think that Nvidia actually has an open-license software strategy behind something like hey, lets produce a binary blob that's absolute junk!. I've also commented I do not understand why or how people think that Nvidia's driver support for Open-Licensed operating systems qualifies as good.

So, with that in mind, I think Nvidia has demonstrated again that the company really doesn't seem to understand the Open-Licensed market. That demonstration is the release of Gelato Pro for no-cost. Gelato Pro was Nvidia's proprietary rendering software capable of tapping into the Graphics Processor Unit for rendering operations. The final release is versions 2.2, and the software that used to cost over $1500 to license, has no financial cost attached. The catch to the now gratis-software from Nvidia is that there will be no further updates or work done on the product.

So, why did Nvidia not open up the source code? Why not use the event of the final version of Gelato to turn up the pressure on other rendering applications like Blender? Why not drive an Open-Licensed hammer blow to AMD / ATi, whose own rendering software known as Rendermonkey still doesn't have a Linux version. Why not set a better standard for Open-Licensed Software?

This is why I don't think Nvidia has a strategy for Open-Licensed software. AMD's John Bridgman and Alex Deucher have been parsing and pushing out documentation for AMD hardware for several months now, and many of the tools used to create the drivers, such as Atom Bios and T-core, are being opened up. This does not mean that Rendermonkey is on it's way to a Linux platform, or that it will be released with an Open-License, but the possibility is available for existing Open-licensed software to be optimized for RadeonHD and X.org ATi drivers. Imagine what would happen if Blender was optimized to use GPU powered rendering through the Open-Licensed drivers? What would that mean for the movie industry which is always looking to slice costs? What would that mean for the gaming industry which is also looking to slice development costs?

Good questions. Maybe an answer will be forthcoming.
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