Earlier this week I was surprised (as shared on Twitter) when I received an automated notification that Andy Ritger signed up to be at XDC2012. Andy Ritger is a long-time NVIDIA Linux/UNIX engineer who served as the manager of the NVIDIA Linux Graphics Driver Software until Hardy Doelfel took over in late 2011.
The last time that Andy Ritger -- or any other NVIDIA employee -- was at an X.Org Developers' Conference was four years ago at XDC2008 when it was hosted at Google's Mountain View campus, just a stone's throw away from NVIDIA's Santa Clara headquarters. Even last year when XDC2011 was in Chicago, there was no official NVIDIA presence. (Hence it's rather odd that NVIDIA's Andy Ritger is flying half-way around the world this year for the event if he doesn't end up having any objective...)
Is NVIDIA looking to better engage with Linux thanks to Valve/Steam on Linux? Are they looking to collaborate with upstream X.Org to finally support NVIDIA Optimus in a good manner on the Linux desktop? Better support Nouveau? Or is Ritger just after Phoronix-sponsored XDC beer? We'll see in just over one month's time.
Most of the attendees for this year's event so far are the usual suspects of Intel (Keith Packard, Daniel Vetter, etc), Red Hat (Jerome Glisse, Ben Skeggs, Peter Hutterer), AMD (Michel Daenzer and Christian Koenig), Nouveau (Martin Peres, Lucas Stach, and also Ben Skeggs), SUSE (Egbert Eich and Stefan Dirsch and ex-SUSErs Luc Verhaegen and Matthias Hopf), and others. Apparently having not much of a presence this year is Canonical with just Maarten Lankhorst and not their usual X.Org and input suspects. VNware (with the Mesa/Gallium3D developers formerly of Tungsten Graphics) also unfortunately haven't been active at XDCs in recent years.
The active list of XDC2012 attendees can be found on this Wiki page.