Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 5th Sep 2007 17:24 UTC, submitted by Rahul
AMD writes: "A quick report from the kernel summit: AMD's representative at the summit has announced that the company has made a decision to enable the development of open source drivers for all of its (ATI) graphics processors from the R500 going forward. There will be specifications available and a skeleton driver as well; a free 2D driver is anticipated by the end of the year. The rest will have to be written; freeing of the existing binary-only driver is not in the cards, and 'that is better for everybody'. Things are looking good on this front. More in the kernel summit report to come."
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with good theres always bad
by Zedicus on Wed 5th Sep 2007 18:19 UTC
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at the pace hardware goes the open source driver will 'probably' never perform even close to the binary only driver. even with open hardware specs. this is due to the developement cycle, the peeple building the open source driver will not be given the chance to work with prerelease hardware. and while someday they may get oficial boards sent to them if it gets big enough, for now sumone doing the developement is going to have to fork over money to buy a 500$ graphics card every 6 months or so if they really want to even try and stay on top of created an open driver.

now i know i sound pecimistic, im glad thiis is hapening and it will be good for pureists who want nothing but open source on there box. it is also great to see a huge company going this route, maybe pushing others to follow. for the 'average' linux user theres no compelling reason to not use the binary driver.

Reply Score: 5

RE: with good theres always bad
by spikeb on Wed 5th Sep 2007 18:24 in reply to "with good theres always bad"
spikeb Member since:

which is why the binary only driver being massively improved is also wonderful news ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: with good theres always bad
by spikeb on Wed 5th Sep 2007 18:27 in reply to "with good theres always bad"
spikeb Member since:

and actually, considering the average user doesnt need awesome 3d performance, they have all the reason in the world to use the open driver, and will, because distros will ship with that as default.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Hands Member since:

That's basically what most people experience with Windows. There is a simple (usually binary though) driver that provides basic functionality for the majority of people, and there is a high-performance driver that can be downloaded and reinstalled every time the driver is updated. Most people just use the simple driver. Gamers and some others use the high-performance driver.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: with good theres always bad
by SomeGuy on Wed 5th Sep 2007 21:29 in reply to "with good theres always bad"
SomeGuy Member since:


The open source driver ALREADY outperforms the closed driver, for many of the parts where they got the reverse engineering done right, especially on R200 class chips.

The problem is when they hit a place where they don't know how something works, or haven't found the ideal way of doing something, and fall back to software rendering, which clearly slows EVERYTHING down massively.

Reply Parent Score: 2

siki_miki Member since:

Yes, but this is compared to fglrx which is a crap driver. New binary one just announced is significantly faster (supposed to be about as fast as Windows one because it is basically the same driver - unified arch as Nvidia's).

They'll always be able to resort to various secret/patented methods, approximations and hacks unlike in open drivers (though with the spec, we might see many clever ideas as well), and they certainly have lots of experienced people in this area.

Well done AMD, about time. Only thing we could ask more is to devote a few developers to work on DRI and OSS ATI drivers, but maybe they already ARE planning that. ("skeleton" driver as a hint). I also hope for good TV-out specs.

Reply Parent Score: 2