Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 4th Dec 2013 18:06 UTC

"Joining the Linux Foundation is one of many ways Valve is investing in the advancement of Linux gaming," Mike Sartain, a key member of the Linux team at Valve said. "Through these efforts we hope to contribute tools for developers building new experiences on Linux, compel hardware manufacturers to prioritize support for Linux, and ultimately deliver an elegant and open platform for Linux users."

Mark my words: Valve will do for Linux gaming what Android did for Linux mobile. Much crow will be eaten by naysayers in a few years.

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Brendan this is a complete lie. Linux Kernel breakages with Nvidia and ATI have in fact in all cases traced to them depending on behaviour that was not defined in the Stable API of the Linux kernel.

The stable API is for user-space, not for device drivers. There is no stable API that's useful for device drivers on Linux. To work around that both AMD and NVidia use a "shim". I've seen this break before (e.g. the shim relying on a kernel function that either ceased to exist or had its name changed); but what do you expect when there's no stable API for device drivers to begin with?

The kernel side of the Nvidia and ATI drivers does not break that often.

Ah, so you agree it does break.

Note that I didn't blame it all on the kernel alone. The graphics on Linux is a huge mess with different pieces responsible for different things (kernel, X, mesa, gallium, DRI, DRI2, Xrender); where responsibilities change over time (e.g. the introduction of KMS; the change from "nothing" to TTM to GEM, etc). To be fair we need to blame the entire huge mess (rather than just the piece/s of the mess that happen to be in the kernel).

Yes and almost all cases have been something that should not have been done in the first place. There are functions in the linux kernel marked GPL only as well. These are not stable and are only fore drivers include as part of the main Linux kernel.

Sure - functions marked "GPL only" with no alternative that native/binary drivers can rely on for the same functionality, leaving no choice other than to "do something that should not have been done in the first place".

Brendan X11 DRI driver compatibility in X11 is a 10 year thing for each version.

Sounds nice in theory. In practice there's a 75% chance that updating X will break your graphics driver or break your GUI or break something else; a 50% chance that you'll spend the entire afternoon searching for solutions all over the web, and a 35% chance that you'll end up downgrading again to fix the problem after wasting an entire day.

For an example, I'm using version 12.4 of ATI's drivers (newer versions of the drivers don't support my card). It works perfectly fine; except that newer versions of X11 don't support the older ATI drivers. This means that I haven't been able to update X11 for about 2 years. Now older versions of X11 have fallen off of Gentoo's packages and I'm screwed unless I switch to the open source ATI drivers. Of course I've tried the open source ATI drivers in the past and know they never work - the best I've managed with them is no 3D acceleration and only one monitor (where attempting to use a second monitor causes the system to crash).

Because I can't update X, I don't dare touch KDE either. It's far too likely that the newest versions of KDE rely on some fantastic extension or something that only newer X11 provides, and I'll end up with a broken system where KDE won't like old X, new X won't like old driver, and new driver won't like actual hardware.

Brendan yes the reason why Nvidia and ATI have not walked away from Linux is most of the trouble they have had is their own fault for not working with upstream and not using the upstream provided interfaces.

Sure, except "working with upstream" typically means "go screw yourself until you're willing to make all your driver's code open source", and still doesn't prevent Xorg from breaking things.

- Brendan

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