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 rayiner on Sat 6th May 2006 20:15 UTC in reply to "Why does it have to be open?"
rayiner
Member since:
2005-07-06

One more thing to add to the list of things: access to the source! Having an open driver allows kernel and DRI developers access to the source code. That means they can modify the drivers in order to fit new models within the system. Take, for example, Xegl. It would've been a lot easier to get DRI-EGL working if the Radeon drivers had been open source. Apple and Microsoft have the source to these drivers --- they can make the modifications they need for technologies like Quartz Extreme and Avalon. The OSS community does not.

As it is, a non-trivial amount of developer time has been spent reverse-engineering drivers. The R300, R400, and R500 chips are completely undocumented, while the R100 and R200 chips are only partially documented (specifications for important performance features like Heierarchical Z were omitted by ATI). This developer time could be put to far better use fixing things in the DRI, getting EGL working, modifying the stack to better support multiple clients, etc.

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