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Operating Systems

Nvidia updates Linux software

The graphics chip leader releases new installation tools intended to make it easier for Linux users to update their video drivers.

Graphics chip leader Nvidia released new software Monday intended to make it easier for Linux users to update their system software.

Nvidia's new Linux Update tools lets PC users running various versions of the open-source Linux operating system update their video drivers--software files that govern how PC hardware interacts with software--with just a few clicks, said Andrew Fear, a Nvidia product manager.

Updating Linux drivers previously required a series of decisions, including correctly identifying the processor configuration and the Linux kernel that the drivers needed to work with.

"It was pretty daunting to figure out the right combination," Fear said. "You had to scroll through a couple of pages on our Web site just to get through the list of things you needed to do."

The new installation software detects relevant details about the system it's running on and automatically installs the correct drivers. The goal is to make it as easy to keep a Linux installation up-to-date as it is a Windows-based PC, Fear said.

"For a lot of people wanting to try Linux, it was intimidating right from the start," he said. "We're really interested in providing an easy way to getting up and running with Linux."

The new installation tools are accompanied by updated Nvidia drivers that support the new version 9 of Red Hat Linux and version 9.1 of MandrakeSoft's Linux. The software is available for download from Nvidia's driver site.

Nvidia and graphics chip rival ATI Technologies have shown increasing support for Linux over the past year, as the open-source operating system makes inroads on desktop PCs.