The company's Robert Morell submitted a patch to remove the GPL license from the dma buffer interface in the Linux kernel so it can be used in Nvidia's driver. Not everybody is happy, especially Alan Cox, who has been involved in Linux development since 1991 and was most influential when he maintained the version 2.2 of the Linux kernel.
Cox unmistakably told Morell that he and "many others" are not happy with the idea of combining proprietary and GPL code. Cox declined to accept Morell's patch. The argument appears to be stuck at this time as words started flying and Cox told Morell that a patch acceptance will have to get the confirmation of all rightsholders of the code, some of apparently include Red Hat and Intel. The developer left Morell with the thought to get those confirmations via attorneys.
If it is up to Cox, it appears to be rather unlikely that Nvidia will get anywhere without making substantial concessions. However, he also noted that he will not fight tooth and nail either: "I also have better things to do with life than sue Nvidia and start an all out copyright and patent war in Linuxspace," he wrote. "It's simple enough. If Nvidia think their code is not derivative then why do they care about the _GPL being significant ?"
Morell, however, has not given up yet: "My intention is not to steal any code from the kernel or change any licenses," he posted on the discussion thread. "The goal here is to allow interoperation between drivers. […] I believe that the developers and maintainers of dma-buf have provided the needed signoff, both in person and in this thread. If there are any objections from that group, I'm happy to discuss any changes necessary to get this merged."
Expect this discussion to last for some time and don't expect this discussion to improve the relationship between Nvidia and the Linux developer community.