Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 6th Feb 2007 21:48 UTC, submitted by Michael
3D News, GL, DirectX "Last October we had compared the performance of the open-source R300 display driver against the closed-source fglrx driver for ATI Radeon graphics cards. In that comparison a Mobility Radeon X300 was used with X.Org 7.1, but we have decided to take another look at this driver comparison under X.Org 7.2. In this last comparison, the fglrx binary blob had greatly outperformed the open-source driver. While the fglrx driver remains faster, has the performance delta between these two drivers decreased?"
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why
by Damind on Tue 6th Feb 2007 23:20 UTC
Damind
Member since:
2006-06-08

I still don't understand why resources are being spent on OSS drivers of any kind, there are drivers from the manufactures. If they do not work well then we need to pressure the manufactures to improve them on Linux as they have done on the Windows side.

I have read allot on this and other places allot of people talking about how closed source program should not be on Linux and to me that is BS. saying that is closing Linux and then it will not be "OPEN"

So much time is spent on re-inventing the wheel!

Reply Score: 0

RE: why
by smitty on Tue 6th Feb 2007 23:32 in reply to "why"
smitty Member since:
2005-10-13

I still don't understand why resources are being spent on OSS drivers of any kind

It's quite simple. Let me list some of the reasons.

1. Religion - some people want OSS and don't want proprietary software. Agree or disagree, it is a valid enough wish IMO.

2. Licensing - because the kernel is GPL it means you can't link stuff into it and then distribute, which means distributions can't (or at least this is up in the air legally) distribute linux with working 3D drivers, which means they can't enable the 3D desktop by default. Although they could manually ask you to install (not a big deal) it is still an inconvenience.

3. Convenience - as fast as things change in the open source world, ATI/NVIDIA are always trying to catch up. Every time there is a new kernel release or X.Org release it seems like the drivers are broken and everyone has to wait while they get fixed. With open source drivers they can be fixed while the other projects are being updated so that a simultaneous release is possible. (this is possible now, but not very likely)

4. Personal enjoyment - some people like hacking away at 3D hardware related stuff. If they weren't going to do this, then what would they do to spend their lonely days? Talk to their families?

5. Integration - obviously you can't expect ATI/NVIDIA to support every single one of a million distros out there, but it the drivers are open source then the distros can take over that responsibility of making sure everything is working well.

Edited 2007-02-06 23:35

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: why
by Damind on Tue 6th Feb 2007 23:48 in reply to "RE: why"
Damind Member since:
2006-06-08

Good points. Do not like some of them but none the less good. Still think we should put the pressure on the hardware maker to come out with the drivers as needed as is the case with MS. New drivers come out all the time on MS. We need to decide where to focus our energy and do so effectively so we can get the type of support we need.

What I notice is that allot of people in the open source community seem to for get people are in business to make money and if money is not being made then the community will not be.

That is my 2cents.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: why
by jessta on Wed 7th Feb 2007 00:20 in reply to "RE: why"
jessta Member since:
2005-08-17

6. Security
You don't know what goes on inside those binary blobs and have no way to patch them if a security hole is discovered. See recent issues with nvidia drivers.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: why
by openwookie on Wed 7th Feb 2007 00:20 in reply to "RE: why"
openwookie Member since:
2006-04-25

You forgot one

6) Security. The NVIDIA Binary Graphics Driver for Linux had a vulnerability that allowed privilege escalation to root (http://download2.rapid7.com/r7-0025/).

You cannot always guarantee that a hardware company will patch a binary blog when an exploit is found, especially if it involves an older piece of hardware which is no longer sold. With open source, a patch will be made available as long as a driver still has users.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: why
by jessta on Wed 7th Feb 2007 00:24 in reply to "RE: why"
jessta Member since:
2005-08-17

7. Portability
Free software drivers are much more easily ported to different operating systems. This means that new operating system with new ideas don't get held back by lack of hardware support from manufacturers.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: why
by tehehe on Wed 7th Feb 2007 08:23 in reply to "RE: why"
tehehe Member since:
2006-12-16

6. Continued support for legacy hardware. You can run beryl on radeon 7500! ATI dropped support for anything below r300.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: why
by diegocg on Tue 6th Feb 2007 23:37 in reply to "why"
diegocg Member since:
2005-07-08

Because open source operative systems were done to run open source software. If people didn't matter using closed software we all would use windows and OS X and GNU and Linux would not have not born.

Stop wondering why. And no, not wanting to run closed software is not equivalent to "closing linux". Claiming that having rights to run close software means "more freedom" and that GNU is wrong is equivalent to claiming that having rights to kill anyone without control means "more freedom" and that constitutions and laws that are there to protect your freedom are wrong because they're limiting your "freedom".

Edited 2007-02-06 23:44

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: why
by elsewhere on Wed 7th Feb 2007 00:38 in reply to "RE: why"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

Claiming that having rights to run close software means "more freedom" and that GNU is wrong is equivalent to claiming that having rights to kill anyone without control means "more freedom" and that constitutions and laws that are there to protect your freedom are wrong because they're limiting your "freedom".

Wow. Claiming the importance of the right to choice in software as a freedom in itself is, apparently, the equivalent to endorsing murder without repercussion. I'm speechless.

Since defending the right to use closed software is now equivalent to the wholesale slaughter of innocent people, how does that reconcile with the LGPL? The single purpose of which is to allow and encourage the use of non-open software with OSS components, including some critical pieces of the GNU projects? Could it be recognition of the fact that offering choice is sometimes a necessary compromise when advancing the ultimate goals of freedom and encouraging adoption? Or do you think RMS owns a really big gun?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: why
by DigitalAxis on Wed 7th Feb 2007 04:13 in reply to "RE: why"
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

Uh, one of the four freedoms the GNU program espouses is as follows (copied from http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html)

The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).

Under that fundamental principle, for example, the Linux kernel developers cannot prevent you from linking non-free software (say, an nVidia driver) into the kernel (which was tried a month or so ago, and shot down by Linus on exactly those grounds), or running proprietary programs on Linux. You're just not allowed to distribute proprietary/legally encumbered things under the GPL, or conversely, you can't NOT distribute modified source for GPL'd programs, etc...

It's not an ideal situation from the perspective of those who want free software, no (and runs counter to the other three freedoms), but even the GNU people recognize the importance of being allowed to actually run the programs.

That, and I don't think there's anything in there to actually prevent you from denying yourself the freedoms. It's a 'be it on your own head' sort of thing.

Edited 2007-02-07 04:21

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: why
by BluenoseJake on Wed 7th Feb 2007 14:37 in reply to "RE: why"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

"Claiming that having rights to run close software means "more freedom" and that GNU is wrong is equivalent to claiming that having rights to kill anyone without control means "more freedom" and that constitutions and laws that are there to protect your freedom are wrong because they're limiting your "freedom". "

What the hell are you smoking? Being able to run anything I want with my computer is more free than being told what I can run. Nobody here said that GNU or OSS is "wrong", and trying to equate the stance with murder and constitutional law is just stupid. In no way is closed source software equivalent to murder, the analogy is just too extreme.

Freedom is really based upon choice, the ability to choose what product/action/belief that best fits your needs given the current circumstances. Closed source drivers on Linux give me more choices, just as OSS software on a prop. OS gives me more choices, and that is a good thing. I don't want anybody limiting what I can do with the hardware I purchased, regardless if his name is Gates or Stallman.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: why
by Seth Quarrier on Tue 6th Feb 2007 23:37 in reply to "why"
Seth Quarrier Member since:
2005-11-13

Open source drivers are important for a myriad of reasons. Including license issues, philosophical issues (if you don't care about Free Software why aren't you just using Mac or Windows) and practical issues, eg. FGLRX drivers don't work for my ATI 9200 in my computer because ATI doesn't support PPC. AMD-64 users have the same issue. If you want to use the ATI drivers, be my guest, but the OSS drivers create a more unified front and are necessary for plenty of good reasons.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: why
by Damind on Tue 6th Feb 2007 23:59 in reply to "RE: why"
Damind Member since:
2006-06-08

Quarrier, FYI, I will us any OS that is best for the job. I do hope you understand what that means. We all need to stop this BS about who uses what and which is best because they all have there strengths and weakness. I have never seen a perfect OS on any lever be it server or desktop. I just think that the person who makes the hardware should be responsible for giving it users what they need. So if the demand is really there why not show it and then they will have no choice but to do so. In the end it all comes down to money. where are the sales coming from.
take a look at this, you may get it.
http://www.linuxinsider.com/rsstory/55597.html

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: why
by siki_miki on Wed 7th Feb 2007 15:13 in reply to "why"
siki_miki Member since:
2006-01-17

I think manufacturers should at least contribute on development of interfaces and kernel (DRM & modesetting) and hardware-independent stuff (Mesa GL, Xorg) while DRI userspace driver component for their ultra-secret hardware can remain closed source (example: even Intel DRI driver contains some closed-source parts) as it's still unlikely someone will have evidence to sue them for patent violation or see their trade secrets. This approach sounds as best of both worlds as many common improvements (like hotplug, suspend, DRM memory manageent, scheduling etc) would benefit all.

After all, Microsoft is attempting to do same thing in Vista (although their kernel video framework code is secret).

Reply Parent Score: 1