updated 08:37 am EDT, Fri June 29, 2012
NVIDA loses up to $500 million in lost GPU order
NVIDIA is said have lost an order to supply 10 million GPUs due to its poor support for Linux. The news follows Linus Torvalds recently blasting NVIDIA for its commercial decision to back mobile GPUs that support Linux-based operating systems like Android, but offer very limited support for the open source platform on PCs. The lost GPU order was for the Chinese government and is estimated to have cost the company between $200 million and $500 million in lost sales.
According to Phoronix, the Chinese government was looking to complement their Longsoon processors and custom Linux OS with 10 million of NVIDIA's GPU chips. However, the Longsoon processors are based on the MIPS architecture, which NVIDIA's Linux GPU drivers do not currently support. As NVIDIA was reportedly unwilling to share their source code with the Chinese government, so it could develop its own custom drivers, the deal was scrapped.
Instead, the deal went to AMD which although has its own issues with Linux support, was said to be more willing to get meet the needs of the Chinese government. The size of the order will help AMD's bottom line and is considerable enough that, combined with Torvalds recent stinging criticisms, it may cause NVIDIA to rethink its current stance on Linux driver support for PCs.