Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 9th Sep 2009 22:29 UTC, submitted by lemur2
Linux Open source 3D graphics drivers for ATI R600 garphics cards has been submitted to the kernel-next tree for possible inclusion in the Linux kernel 2.6.32. "David Airlie has pushed a horde of new code into his drm-next Git tree, which is what will get pulled into the Linux 2.6.32 kernel once the merge window is open. Most prominently, this new DRM code brings support for kernel mode-setting with R600 class hardware as well as 3D support."
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RE[4]: Things are Still a Mess
by lemur2 on Thu 10th Sep 2009 23:26 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Things are Still a Mess"
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

Wow... what an "objective" BS you just wrote there, backed by absolutely no evidence other than personal bias. Given that NVIDIA defined, literally, 3D graphics in Linux. And the fact that up til recently ATi had mediocre support for the OS at best, and there are still plenty of features missing from the ATi drivers (which up to recently were just plain awful, in both Windows and Linux land BTW). Then yeah, it sounds like "you know what you are talking about" NOT. Seriously, I never though I would see the day where someone would try to make a serious attempt at claiming with a straight face that ATI products work better under linux that NVIDIA's.


A lot of people just don't seem to get this.

I'll try again.

Up until a few years ago, there were no open source drivers for Linux. Only proprietary ones. This presents a big problem, because the stability and the entire performance of the entire system depended on the OEM's proprietary, secret, binary-only code. The Linux experts who coded the kernel and who would be the best people to debug any problems with drivers had no visibility at all into the graphics drivers.

So open source developers tried to write their own graphics drivers for Linux. In the dark, using reverse engineering, without specs. This is always going to be a slow, laborious process, only minimally effective. It is surprising the amount of functionality that was achieved.

The critical points here are these: (1) specs were NOT available, and (2) open source code was NOT written by the card manufacturers, (3) but code could be debugged, and (4) no danger of obsolesence through support being dropped.

OK, some while ago, this situation changed. Intel released their graphics drivers for Linux as open source.

The critical points here are these: (1) specs were available (to Intel staff), and (2) code WAS written by the card manufacturers, (3) but code could be debugged, and (4) danger of obsolesence through support being dropped.

This was a vast improvement, but still there were no specs. Still at the mercy of the OEM (Intel in this case). It is also a pity that Intel graphics are performance-wise significantly inferior to ATI or nvidia cards.

OK, early this year, ATI finally released the specs for R600 and later GPUs. Open source developers have been working on drivers since then (about eight months now).

The critical points here are these: (1) specs were available (to open source developers), and (2) code was NOT written by the card manufacturers, (3) but code could be debugged, and (4) no danger of obsolesence through support being dropped.

We are just now seeing the fruits of that coming through. These drivers represent an entirely new class of graphics driver, which has not been available in Linux before now. ATI cards are entirely competitive hardware-performance-wise. Finally they are going to enjoy a well-integrated graphics driver, written by people who know the Linux kernel and graphics systems inside out.

I never though I would see the day where someone would try to make a serious attempt at claiming with a straight face that ATI products work better under linux that NVIDIA's.


Well, now you have seen that day, it is finally almost here. The new code has been comitted to linux-next. "Working better" is precisely what this new class of graphics drivers will deliver. This is why people are excited about it.

PS: Obsolesence works to the advantage of a graphics card manufacturer. Card manufacturers enjoy a new round of sales (to 'serious' gamers) evey time Microsoft helps them out with a new version of Direct X. Think about what that fact means (to most end users) for a second.

Edited 2009-09-10 23:45 UTC

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