Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 9th Sep 2009 22:29 UTC, submitted by lemur2
Linux Open source 3D graphics drivers for ATI R600 garphics cards has been submitted to the kernel-next tree for possible inclusion in the Linux kernel 2.6.32. "David Airlie has pushed a horde of new code into his drm-next Git tree, which is what will get pulled into the Linux 2.6.32 kernel once the merge window is open. Most prominently, this new DRM code brings support for kernel mode-setting with R600 class hardware as well as 3D support."
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RE[5]: Things are Still a Mess
by lemur2 on Thu 10th Sep 2009 12:24 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Things are Still a Mess"
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

"As for driver side.. well, nVidia drivers may be binary but they've ALWAYS worked like a dream for me and support all the functionality of the card in question, even old cards are still supported.


Ditto. I'd still recommend nvidia to Linux users, entirely because of their binary driver.
"

A binary driver fails with the first kernel update.

If there IS a problem, a binary driver is impossible to fix (so one is reliant on the goodwill of the OEM).

If the OEM no longer sells the hardware, binary drivers for it will no longer be forthcoming from the OEM. "Planned obsolesence".

We should understand that their driver codebase is their "crown jewel" (they share the codebase with the windows driver") and they are not giving that up lightly.


Doesn't make any sense. The could give out the source code of their driver to every single person on the planet, and it still wouldn't run on an ATI card.

But, in exchange we get a good (stable and fast) driver that receives much of the love dedicated to their money-maker (windows users).


It doesn't work on Linux. Nvidia have refused to fix a performance bug with 2D for over two years, for example. Because it is a secret, they could be being paid money to keep it poor on Linux.

There is no real need to get worked up about device drivers and open source. Hardware is expendable. When intel and ati get their acts together regarding the driver quality, we'll have more choices, but nvidia is currently the safe bet.


Nope. Just plain no. Shun binary drivers. We now have specifications for, and open source drivers for, fully-funtional competitive-performance ATI cards.

Before the end of this year, people who are fortunate enough to have ATI cards and have Linux installed will enjoy by far the best-performing bang-for-buck desktop systems on the planet.

Reply Parent Score: 3

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

A binary driver fails with the first kernel update.


Actually, it usually just gets recompiled at boot. Atleast on my Mandriva it does.

Nope. Just plain no. Shun binary drivers. We now have specifications for, and open source drivers for, fully-funtional competitive-performance ATI cards.

And STILL the open-source drivers for older ATi cards lack all kinds of features whereas the nVidia's binary-only drivers for similarly old hardware support all their features and work just peachy.

You can blather all you want about open-source superiority, but I have only been let down by the open-source ATi and nVidia drivers.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: Things are Still a Mess
by lemur2 on Thu 10th Sep 2009 13:05 in reply to "RE[6]: Things are Still a Mess"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Nope. Just plain no. Shun binary drivers. We now have specifications for, and open source drivers for, fully-funtional competitive-performance ATI cards.


And STILL the open-source drivers for older ATi cards lack all kinds of features whereas the nVidia's binary-only drivers for similarly old hardware support all their features and work just peachy.
"

You can blather all you want about open-source superiority, but I have only been let down by the open-source ATi and nVidia drivers.


How can you have been let down by the open source ATI driver (the one built from the specifications) when it hasn't been released yet? It won't be generally available until distributions include kernel 2.6.32. Only this week kernel 2.6.31 was released.

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=NzUyMA

Any open source driver for ATI cards you have seen so far has been built by reverse-engineering. Not from specs. This is also true (and still is) for any open source nvidia driver. This is ALWAYS going to be disappointing.

Fixed now though, for Intel cards and for recent (R600 or later) ATI cards. These are both built from specs. The Intel drivers are written by Intel, and released as open source. The ATI drivers are not however written by ATI ... ATI instead released the specs to open source developers. The drivers for these when they become available will be fully functional. And fixable. And "debuggable". The ATI cards are far better performing than the Intel cards.

Nvidia cards won't be anywhere near this race.

Edited 2009-09-10 13:21 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26

A binary driver fails with the first kernel update.


Yeah, that's a drag.

If the OEM no longer sells the hardware, binary drivers for it will no longer be forthcoming from the OEM. "Planned obsolesence".


GPUs pretty much have the concept of obsolescence built in anyway, though I don't think nvidia buyers have been suffering from this (the binary driver supports pretty obsolete cards).

The could give out the source code of their driver to every single person on the planet, and it still wouldn't run on an ATI card.


It might still contain some "secret sauce" they don't want ATI to see. I guess they value that sauce higher than perception among linux community, and that's ok for me. It's just a GPU, something mostly used for closed source stuff anyway (gaming).

Before the end of this year, people who are fortunate enough to have ATI cards and have Linux installed will enjoy by far the best-performing bang-for-buck desktop systems on the planet.


I'm waiting with baited breath for good drivers and cards from ATI - if they make the cut, my next GPU will definitely come from ATI. Hopefully, we will see a change from the situation where "if you don't have nvidia, you are on your own". Until now, if you had bought ATI and wanted to go Linux, the general advice was to try to sell the ATI card and get an NVIDIA ;-).

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[7]: Things are Still a Mess
by lemur2 on Thu 10th Sep 2009 13:10 in reply to "RE[6]: Things are Still a Mess"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

though I don't think nvidia buyers have been suffering from this (the binary driver supports pretty obsolete cards)


Nvidia's binary driver for Linux no longer supports "legacy" nvidia cards. This is quite similar to ATI's binary driver. Both lack support for older cards.

Nvidia's binary driver for Linux has had abysmal 2D hardware acceleration performance for years.

Reply Parent Score: 1

blacklistme Member since:
2007-07-16

Sorry, but I'm using Linux for a _long_ time (about 15 years now) now and the most safe option for me was ATI and not NVIDIA. I'm in fear for the phone every 6 months when people start to upgrade there Ubuntu-installation and the binary drivers fails _AGAIN_.

Some people got smart and started to ask for a new machine, because the last one was failing. They found out that is now safe for them to follow the regulair updates and upgrades. And you can have a faster videocard, but when it fails it isn't that fast anymore. Also for everyday usage you don't need it, it doesn't make your browser or spreadsheet any nicer.

This is also where the whole picture comes into view. Both AMD and Intel are gearing up to deliver a complete "inexpensive" and "efficient" platform and they need every customer they can get onboard. The best way to get normal people onboard is to get there geek friends onboard.

The current mATX/mITX-boards are good examples of this. Looking at the next Atom-platform or the upcoming Fusion platform you can see which direction everythings goes. Keep also an eye on how many Atom-boards are now shipped without any fans. This was different a year ago when fans where needed and software was not tuned for the new platform.

And I said it more then a year ago on this site as well. More and more people don't care about 5 fps extra as long as their computer just works. And the next 5 to 10 years computers are here to mature and nothing else. Microsoft already found that out with XP that does basicly what people want and Linux has catched up over the years.

So mark my words. The moment that companies start to sell an inexpensive MacMini look-a-like with Ubuntu preinstalled it doesn't matter which videocard is in it. Internet and computers are becoming slowly something like electricity, water, gas. It will always be there and that makes it the businesscase. You sell complete units in high volume.

This is also why companies are screening there code and specs to check for any legal issues. The last big dump of open checked code was OpenSolaris as it's much easier and cheaper to maintain. In one year time they got ceritified support for over 2500 (!!!) laptops with only a handfull of developers. Companies like Intel and AMD can see a businesscase in this as they sell the chips and can now reduce cost on driver development and support.

So if you want to continue buying hardware with only binary drivers, then it is your choice. I stick to my policy that I have for a long time now. I prefer to exchange my money/goods with suppliers that respects my freedom. And what I have seen for people around me is that it takes between 12 to 18 months before they curse vendors for not respecting their freedom.

Just my 2c and ready for the next 15 years of freedom.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: Things are Still a Mess
by saynte on Thu 10th Sep 2009 14:03 in reply to "RE[5]: Things are Still a Mess"
saynte Member since:
2007-12-10


Before the end of this year, people who are fortunate enough to have ATI cards and have Linux installed will enjoy by far the best-performing bang-for-buck desktop systems on the planet.


You realize that the end of this year is in under 4 months? I think it may be difficult to take the software from the current state to "best performing" in that time. Do you truly feel this is a reasonable expectation, or are you just marketing?

Reply Parent Score: 2