Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 15th Sep 2007 20:16 UTC, submitted by Michael
AMD AMD started delivering on their word of providing GPU specifications to the open-source community without a Non-Disclosure Agreement, and now with the 2007 X Developer Summit having come to a close, we asked several key members of the X.Org community on how they judge AMD's recent move. They were also asked if they believe NVIDIA will follow suit in helping the open-source community. Those that responded were David Airlie, Daniel Stone, Jerome Glisse, Stephane Marchesin, and Oliver McFadden. Mark Shuttleworth had also previously commented on AMD's efforts.
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People quickly forget.
by cyclops on Sun 16th Sep 2007 06:17 UTC
cyclops
Member since:
2006-03-12

Its funny how people forget.

The *only* GPU that I have owned that has been properly supported, worked with the FB has been a sis. I remember being tied at the time between buying a sis and an intel upgrade, although for an on-board graphics chip intel offered some limited 3d support.

Going from sis to intel was the worst downgrade I *ever* made in my life. I have never got a decent console resolution since. Comedy packages like 855resolution and 915resolution became part of my life, and I did this to play quake2 in a 640x480 window on my 1600x1200 monitor at screensaver fps, but the driver development turned it into an exciting buy if not an out-of-the-box working one. Only as of xorg 7.3 is what I consider the most regular complaint about Linux+X has been resolved "Intel not supporting widescreen resolutions" the second being "can't get dri working on ati". Intel working on the open-source drivers has been incredible and a long time coming.

There are *already* open-source out of the box drivers for AMD r300 chipsets although the specifications for these are *coming later* a stable release of this driver has not been released for 11 months although it looks like my own personal *blocker* of the last four revisions has been fixed only 22hours ago, and they are clearly gearing up for another stable launch, but was unable to release a stable version for the launch of xorg 7.3. I've actually loved the open-source drivers for the r300 as they unlike the proprietary ones have allowed me to play with beryl, install latest versions of X and Mesa, and are safer, but they are a lot slower and missing accelerated features. The new hopefully soon to be released driver I know solves many of my problems and adds features like tv-out(The third!? biggest complaint about X+Linux, and I am bemused why so many want this) and rotation support for my desktop something I haven't enjoyed for four!? years.

On the Nvidia Binary front many will be unaware of the long time had a major security flaw in their driver for over a year, unheard of in the kernel world. The work on the open-source driver in comparison to that of ati's has been enviable to say the least, and for this reason I was seriously considering an Nvidia card, but then I like that sort of thing.

I am constantly surprised that anyone puts up with proprietary drivers, as the forums I use *users* seem to have difficulty with them, and those that use them have been unable to take advantage of many new developments that have effected other programs like beryl+compiz and hardware like the new wireless drivers. They are simply a major problem in the natural evolution that GNU enjoys. I suspect that if anything this will cause the end of Nvidia binary support.

I've made a big post because people often forget how *awful* 3D support has been until very recent history check the threads on beryl+compiz of only 6 months ago. Its rarely brought up as a complaint against GNU today, and because people forget how long the time frame is between *company* support and real improvements to the open-source drivers. This is without the problem that AMD are still supporting their own competing binary driver, as opposed to *real* support by intel, although what is happening *behind closed doors* at Novell is still a mystery.

There are far too many posts in this thread of Xbox vs PS3 vs Wii variety, when in this instance I strongly believe that the choice *if* any should be made on which is the company to offer *real* support to the GNU platform. AMD has a lot of catching up to do to catch the mind share that Intel have built up, and I suspect that just specifications, and access to AMD developers is not going to be enough. Nvidia are left with the impossible task of competing with binary drivers against an overwhelming market share of open-source drivers on a constantly evolving platform, and open-source will always trump that of propitiatory on the GNU platform, not because of any concept of freedom, but because of things like stability; security, features, ease of use...simply becuase its a moving target.

Apologies for my long post.

Edited 2007-09-16 06:26

Reply Score: 7