Nvidia, best known for its GeForce graphics cards and Tegra processors, has just joined the Linux Foundation. The Foundation, formed about five years ago from a merger of two other groups that developed and promoted Linux standards, sponsors research and collaboration on the platform, including work by Linux creator Linus Torvalds. Like many other open source projects, it's sponsored by a number of major technology companies, including IBM, Intel, and Oracle. Since AMD is also an active Linux Foundation member, Nvidia joining the group means that all major chip makers are now represented. This also means the company will be contributing at least monetarily to future Linux development.
But although Nvidia says it hopes this membership will "enable a great experience for users and developers of Linux," this doesn't necessarily mean that the company will be changing its own product line to be more Linux-friendly. Adobe, for example, is a Silver member of the Foundation — the same level as Nvidia — but has offered only nominal support for its products on Linux; in fact, it recently abandoned its Flash Player plugin on the platform. Nvidia already offers proprietary PC drivers for Linux, which work fairly well but don't allow the open source community to modify them easily. This puts it in contrast with competitor AMD, which offers open source options for its Radeon GPUs along with its Linux Foundation membership.