Linux Graphics, a Tale of Three Drivers

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The purpose of this essay is to illustrate by example the strengths and weaknesses of the open source development model versus the binary driver one.

The three graphics drivers in question are Intel, ATI and Nvidia. Between them they account for a majority of the graphics market (on all operating systems, not just Linux).

Intel and Nvidia between them account for more than three quarters of the total global graphics market. Their market shares are roughly equal and they both grew at around 40% from 4Q06 to 4Q07. AMD accounts for about one fifth of the global market and it saw its shipments sink by around by around 20% in the same period.

For Linux, the best way of demonstrating user satisfaction objectively is with the kerneloops project, which tracks reported problems with various kernels (an oops is something that's equivalent to a panic on Unix or blue screen on windows).

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