Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 6th May 2006 17:01 UTC, submitted by Phoronix
3D News, GL, DirectX "We have been overwhelmed with requests to take a serious look at the frame-rate performance differences between the various open-source and proprietary contenders. Our first article on this topic, which will likely be the first of a series of examinations, is looking at the differences between the X.Org open-source ATI Radeon driver and that of ATI's official but proprietary fglrx display driver."
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RE: Why does it have to be open?
by Knuckles on Sat 6th May 2006 19:42 UTC in reply to "Why does it have to be open?"
Member since:

Because with open drivers other OS's can benefit from the code, the driver can run in many architectures (64 bit native drivers anyone?), support for new features can be added when needed (for example, you can't run AIGLX with nvidia cards because they lack a feature that nvidia is 'still working on'), and you have a better change of still having working drivers for hardware under your OS of choice (whatever that is) in maybe 5, 10 years time, even after the company has gone bankrupt or something like that.

Reply Parent Score: 5

stephanem Member since:

That's patently false that open source can deliver better drivers.

Tell me do Andrew Morton or Linus Torvalds or Greg KH understand graphics processors?. Heck no!. The people who really understand how ATI or Nvidia processors really work are already employed by ATI and Nvidia respectively. Openeing up the datasheets still means nothing!.

Sound Blaster Audigy drivers on Linux still can't do half of the things Creative's drivers does on Windows and ALSA guys have had the datasheets for years now.

So this is just tripe that OSS programmers can do better drivers than the hardware vendor them selves - tripe fed to you by total and utter NON PRACTICING PROGRAMMERS like Perens, ESD, RMS and all the regular Open Source fan boys.

Reply Parent Score: 1

leech Member since:

Actually it's been the opinion of many that the Audigy drivers for windows suck majorly. Creative's drivers have been called the worse next to... yeah you guessed it, ATI's. ATI's Windows drivers have gotten better, but Creative's still suck.

I have an Audigy 2 Platinum and guess what, every single thing that it does in Windows also works in Linux, even the remote control works.

About the only thing Alsa doesn't really support is EAX, but that's because EAX is non-existent in games on Linux. Instead they use OpenAL, which is also what Unreal Tournament and a few other games use even in Windows....

Reply Parent Score: 3

pzad Member since:

For emu10k1/emu10k2 no one has datasheet. First emu10k1 (sb live) driver was developed by Creative. emu10k2 (Audigy) driver was reverse engineered from debug build of windows driver. No one opensource developer has datasheet for these chips.

Reply Parent Score: 1

flywheel Member since:

>"That's patently false that open source can deliver >better drivers. "

Well - closed source isn't necessarily better than open source drivers. You're quite right they do have the upper hand, but does not always utilize this 100%.

>"Openeing up the datasheets still means nothing!."

Releasing the specs benefits all 3rd party driver developers, not only the OpenSource developers. There are some commercial 3rd party developers that produce great driver systems, but are inhibited by the hardware developers unvillingness of releasing specs. Almost no hardware delevelopers will release 3D specs, under any circumstance (nVidia won't release any recent specs, not even 2D). This could be problematic since it looks like tomorrows GFX processors will only use emulation for 2D - performed by the 3D engine.

Reply Parent Score: 1

snowbender Member since:

Maybe it is "patently false" that open source will deliver better drivers.

However, as a Linux/powerpc user I am glad that open source programmers put time and effort in making an open source R300 driver so I can use the graphics card in my laptop. I'm sure that ATI can make a better driver than the current open source driver on Linux/powerpc, but they won't. They do not support my platform of choice. With closed source drivers you are locked in into the platforms that the hardware company wishes to support with the amount of time and energy they wish to put into it and for the time they consider the life-time of the product.

I don't know whether Andrew Morton or Linus Torvalds or Greg KH understand graphics processors, but it seems you know them better than me. However, I can tell you that there are more people working on open source than just them. And a lot of those people do know about graphics processors.

Opening up the datasheets does mean a lot. It opens the possibility for writing an open source driver without the need for reverse engineering. Since the driver this article refers to is built from those datasheets, I think this should be clear. Yes, it gives lower performance, but it is a fully working driver. The article is also very very short. Other things which might be important is for example whether suspend-to-ram or suspend-to-disk is supported in the open source and in the closed source driver. (I can attest it is supported in the open source driver) The other thing is for example the support of certain resolution, or the stability of the driver, and so on.

I take it from what other people said that the Sound Blaster Audigy drivers on linux were not built from the data sheets and that the alsa developers do not have access to the data sheets.

Your comment about "NON PRACTICING PROGRAMMERS" is definitely not correct for RMS, aka Richard Stallman. Richard Stallman still works on GNU Emacs and not only making decisions about what can go in or not, but also in writing code. I don't know about the others.

If you want people to consider your opinion about the fact that you believe that open source drivers can never get the same quality than closed-source drivers, then at least start with getting your facts straight.

Reply Parent Score: 5