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AMD Releases Open-Source R600/700 3D Code

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the playing-nice-with-others dept.

Graphics 307

Michael writes "AMD has just released code that will allow for open-source 3D acceleration on their ATI R600 and R700 graphics cards, including all of their newest Radeon HD 4xxx products. This code consists of a demo program that feeds the commands to the hardware, updates to their RadeonHD driver, and a Direct Rendering Manager update. With this code comes working 2D EXA acceleration support for these newer ATI graphics processors as well as basic X-Video support. AMD will be releasing sanitized documentation for these new ATI GPUs in the coming weeks. Phoronix has an article detailing what's all encompassed by today's code drop as well as the activities that led to this open-source code coming about for release."

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Hallejulla! (1)

keatonguy (1001680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265213)

At last, the deghettoization of Linux computers with ATI chips!

Don't forget... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265237)

Don't forget to pay your $699 licensing fee, you cock-smoking teabaggers!

Mod parent informative (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265273)

I had almost forgotten to pay my $699 licensing fee. Makes me feel like such a cock-smoking teabagger!

Re:Mod parent informative (0)

AndrewBuck (1120597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265293)

I realize the above is a troll but what is he referring to with the licensing fee? I've seen this in a few stories and have always wondered what it was.

-Buck

Re:Mod parent informative (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265313)

It probably has something to do with SCO's lawsuits.

Re:Mod parent informative (5, Informative)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265323)

I realize the above is a troll but what is he referring to with the licensing fee? I've seen this in a few stories and have always wondered what it was.

A while back, SCO tried to claim that they owned Linux, and that anyone using it had to buy licenses at $699 each (I think this may have been related to their lawsuit against IBM, before Novell stepped in). A couple of companies actually paid up, and were duly ridiculed here.

Re:Mod parent informative (1)

AndrewBuck (1120597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265341)

Thanks for the info.

-Buck

Re:Mod parent informative (5, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265921)

A few people in Australia offered to pay up but the local agent for SCO refused to take the money. If they had taken it there was a chance people from SCO could have gone to jail for "demanding money with menaces" I think it is called.

Re:Don't forget... (0, Offtopic)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266279)

-5 not funny: strongly disagree and wish to censor.

Re:Hallejulla! (2, Informative)

AndrewBuck (1120597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265247)

If I recall correctly this isn't the first code ATI has released and hopefully it won't be the last. I think we are beginning to see companies starting to realize that although there may not be a huge number of linux users, we sure do buy a lot of computer hardware.

-Buck

Re:Hallejulla! (4, Interesting)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265263)

Thats true, but this sounds far more complex and useful that what has been released in the past, perhaps they are getting more serious. I would love to see good ATI drivers on OSolaris/ BSD and Linux. There is no reason we- the OSS community, can't have the best drivers, like we have the best web browsers.

Re:Hallejulla! (2, Informative)

In hydraulis (1318473) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265287)

I have an R350 chipset, you insensitive clod!

Seriously though, I'm not seeing much progress with respect to older processors. FTFA,

Two weeks after the initial R500 3D documentation release, AMD had released an R300 3D register guide. This programming guide concerning their older graphics hardware was previously only available through Non-Disclosure Agreements to select developers.

Well, so far my experience with the open source R350 drivers is lukewarm. They do work to an extent, in that they can run Tux Racer and its forks, but FlightGear remains beyond their capabilities.

Re:Hallejulla! (1)

armanox (826486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265377)

I can't get any 3d accel with the open source R300 driver, and writing it myself is far beyond my current programing knowledge.

Re:Hallejulla! (2, Insightful)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265661)

It appears that you have an itch that needs scratching.

Keyword: current

Re:Hallejulla! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265435)

Damn. Beat me to it.

Re:Hallejulla! (2, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265439)

I'm hoping for an open source Windows driver, the thing holding me back from using ATI has been the absolute crap drivers they supply.

Re:Hallejulla! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265535)

The nvidia drivers are a million times worse. Good hardware, but without good drivers, it's still worthless trash.

Re:Hallejulla! (2, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265557)

LOL, I haven't had a BSOD from nvidia drivers since the early days of XP and at least their driver's don't require the freaking bloated .NET CRL to even install! In fact I can't remember a time in the last 4 NVidia cards I've owned (going back to a Ti-4200) that I had an issue related to the driver.

Re:Hallejulla! (2, Informative)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265619)

I've been getting a few BSODs lately regarding the Nvidia driver. Just because you haven't seen any on your particular machine doesn't mean the code is perfect. Also, you don't need .NET to install the ATI drivers. You only need it for the catalyst control panel.

Re:Hallejulla! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265929)

Too bad I see them everyday, on dozens of different cards, chipset drivers, network drivers and all? nvidia is *trash*. I'd say about 2/3rds of BSODs I see are directly caused by them.

At least ATI can write decent drivers. Hell, I'd go back to Intel GMA video over nvidia trash -- at least it's stable!

Re:Hallejulla! (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266149)

I'd agree with you completely...if it weren't for me trying the 180.48 drivers the past weekend.

Great way of rendering a perfectly stable system nigh unusable.

Re:Hallejulla! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265593)

Mod parent informative. Back in the early days of ATI I remember seeing their driver process appearing in task manager as the default name for a project in visual studios.. The point is, their drivers were never first rate.

Re:Hallejulla! (0, Flamebait)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265603)

I don't think it's very likely to come about with new versions of Windows requiring signed drivers, unfortunately.

Unless you feel like writing a wrapper for Windows to allow it to load drivers written and compiled using the Linux binary driver framework.

Oh wait... there is no standard Linux driver framework, they're just kernel modules, and are only supposed to be loaded into the specific kernel build the modules were compiled to go with.. hrm.

Heck yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265241)

Its about time ATI gets serious about OSS!

Re:Heck yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265253)

Yeah... is there a catch?

Re:Heck yeah (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265813)

Yeah... is there a catch?

No. You can be forgiven for asking the question, given history, but... no.

TFA:

The microcode for the newest GPUs has also been released.

This is the real deal. Actual specifications about how the hardware interfaces actually work in a format that can't be encumbered by copyrights or patents. NVidia and Intel will follow with their own release announcements within weeks, or watch their proprietary crap die. This is "a race to the bottom" where the "bottom" is "fully open". The funny thing is that the "bottom" is a door to a whole new world of opportunity.

To be fair Intel has been fairly open, and Nvidia has been opening up. Windows only video drivers are soon to be a legacy best forgotten. Please hold a moment of silence for the brave chairs that are about to lose their integrity in Redmond.

this is either (-1, Troll)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265249)

a move of desperation... or... wait... it can only be a move of desperation.

Or I guess it could be a moral move... but since when did companies do anything moral unless they have more money than they could ever spend (ala - gates foundation)

Re:this is either (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265261)

Or you know, it could be doing what they've been planning to do for several months now.

Re:this is either (5, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265267)

Or just good economical sense.

"Hey Bob, these kids on the Internet want to write Linux drivers for our cards."
"Oh really? Have we had any customer requests for Linux drivers lately?"
"Yeah, a couple."
"Send 'em that dev code we did last week, see what they come up with."
"Ok."

Shocking!

Re:this is either (4, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265345)

The scenario you describe has one issue: last week's dev code is copyrighted by the company, not the developers. They probably needed to have some long conversations with the lawyers and accountants to get this done.

Re:this is either (2, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265359)

accountants? I don't think they do what you think they do.

Re:this is either (4, Informative)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265401)

I think they know how to write off such a contribution as charity.

Re:this is either (0, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265427)

I think you should put down the crack pipe.

Re:this is either (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265649)

Actually, i heard about a rider that would have allowed open source development work to be tax deductible. If that went through an accountant might be key to getting management to say yes.

Re:this is either (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265385)

What you say is correct. This is why they have been having a series of conversations with lawyers and accountants. This plan has been in the works for some time now.

Re:this is either (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265777)

This has been coming for a year now, and was the reason I chose an ATI chipset when I bought my laptop. So yes, it does make economical sense.

And also, I think most of the developers work for AMD.

Re:this is either (2, Interesting)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265315)

Or it could be a new direction spurred on by new bosses (read: AMD).

Re:this is either (2, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265509)

There are people that believe the "Gates Foundation" is more of a marketing move than a moral standpoint. When you give that much money under the name of a company founder, you don't need advertisement... Viral marketing kicks in and it's spread by word of mouth. They can spend money on things they want to do and get free advertisement "credit" for the company.

Re:this is either (4, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265587)

Why can't it be both? I'd say the Gates Foundation has been far more successful at promoting Microsoft than some of their more direct efforts. [slashdot.org]

We all joke about his billions of dollars, but to see them put to use attempting to vaccinate an entire continent, I gotta tell ya that is a pretty damned impressive thing to do.

Don't get me wrong, donations of time and money to Open Source projects are also good and noble things, and they provide infinitely-copyable and long-lasting amounts of good. But if someone asked me "who did more good, the guy who saved x-hundred-thousand kids or the guy who donated an improved scheduler algorithm to the Linux core?" there's only one way a human being could answer that question. There is a different question in there, and that is "who donated more overall effort?" Gates' money made him rich enough that he may not even feel the pinch of spending $37 billion, but the coder likely sweated over his efforts for months, sacrificing evenings and dinners with his S.O., etc. And I suspect its part of the job of the foundation to ensure the first form of the question is asked on camera, and not the second.

Re:this is either (1)

Jeoh (1393645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265937)

What if this improved scheduler algorithm indirectly saved x-hundred-thousand kids?

This is neither (1, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265961)

When your company has an 80% margin and you donate stuff that costs you nothing, like "the right to use your software" and record the gift at retail price, you net a greater tax benefit than it costs you to make the gift. That's net profit for giving, which is not generous -- it's just good accounting. If, from your profits for giving stuff that costs you nothing, you also give "medicine" that's generous because it's not required. Still, if you net a profit from giving, your giving can't be considered anything more than an accounting trick because some good no matter how unlikely, might have been served by paying the tax - some tax money is spent generously or well and wisely after all.

It's not really philanthropy unless you give more than you got. This is charity [nytimes.com] . Here's my money. Give it away in the best way you can. That's also trust. They say trust is earned. Let's hope BillG deserved Warren Buffet's trust because the ill that can be done with that much gelt is serious.

Nearly all of the African continent is inflamed with horrors beyond imagining. Terror rules more of the modern world than it has for a very long time. The fate of South America is uncertain. Maybe the best use of the Gates Foundation would be to husband their resources well until such a time as they might have some hope to turn the tide. Now is not it. This groundbreaking [gatesfoundation.org] of the $500M Gates Foundation Campus [nwsource.com] is definitely not it. You can do a lot of philanthropy for half a billion dollars.

Re:this is either (0, Flamebait)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266095)

We all joke about his billions of dollars, but to see them put to use attempting to vaccinate an entire continent, I gotta tell ya that is a pretty damned impressive thing to do.

Yeah, but what they don't tell you is that the vaccinations create genetic mutations which cause the patient to be unquestioningly obedient to Microsoft.

Re:this is either (2, Interesting)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265753)

There are people that believe the "Gates Foundation" is more of a marketing move than a moral standpoint. When you give that much money under the name of a company founder, you don't need advertisement... Viral marketing kicks in and it's spread by word of mouth. They can spend money on things they want to do and get free advertisement "credit" for the company.

It's not a marketing move, and it's not a moral standpoint. People are denied access to drugs that are cheap to manufacture because they are encumbered with intellectual property. Nations were prepared to do away with intellectual property law and supply their population with the medicine they needed. That's why Gates is doing this. He doesn't give them money because he wants to help them, he gives them money because he wants to maintain the laws that prevent them from helping themselves, because his fortune depends on the exploitation of people using those laws as a mechanism. If the Gates foundation did not exist, more people would have medicine.

This sort of behavior would be totally illegal if it wasn't disguised as charitable work. That's what the Gates foundation is for, to allow them to circumvent laws, manipulate and subvert government programs and engage in even more anti-social behavior than they are already known for.

Re:this is either (1)

hilather (1079603) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265597)

Desperate people are always the most dangerous.

Re:this is either (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265643)

Why does it have to be either?

AMD has some great cards out right now, especially in the mid and low range markets. They're not desperate by any means.

Why can't this simply be a good business decision? Hasn't the populace of Slashdot been asking for open source graphics card code for a long time?

Re:this is either (0, Flamebait)

Hucko (998827) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265881)

But we have been innundated with Microsoft Fanbois thus the question. Yes, I acknowledge I'm an OSS Fanboi.

Proof that competition is good (3, Insightful)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265277)

This seems to confirm what people have been predicting all along, that OSS philosophy is driving competition between vendors to cater to their customers' needs. Nvidia, Intel, and now ATI all providing increasing levels of documentation and code support in competitive volleys. I for one welcome our new 3d accelerated overlords.

Re:Proof that competition is good (5, Interesting)

domatic (1128127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265303)

Er, what exactly is Nvidia doing in this regard? They've put out more or less OK closed drivers for Linux for a number of years now but they go out of their way to frustrate FOSS efforts. The "open source" nv driver is obfuscated. About all you can say about it is that it compiles to a basic 2D driver.

Intel releases fully realized drivers and some docs. ATI/AMD is releasing ever more complete docs and more or less cruddy closed drivers. With the help of Mr. Weite, VIA is starting to release docs and is co-operating with current FOSS driver authors. I don't see Nvidia doing anything of this sort.

Re:Proof that competition is good (1)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265351)

I thought I recalled reading something recently about Nvidia releasing more documentation on their video decode acceleration, but looking back through my browser history I think i may have created a composite memory based on an intel article and Nvidia opening an API for video decoding using their closed source driver. Either way I can't imagine that Nvidia is gonna be able to leave us out in the cold much longer on this front. Keep voting with your wallet and we'll see them change their tune soon enough.

Re:Proof that competition is good (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265479)

Slight problem here -- what should I use my wallet to vote for?

I just recently bought a Dell laptop. It came with an nvidia card -- no option for ATI. What's more, this is all new stuff -- as far as I can tell, the closed nvidia drivers are still better than any ATI Linux drivers, but that may have changed.

Since I can't afford another computer so soon, I'm kind of stuck. The video card is embedded, after all, so the best I could do is get ExpressCard video, and I doubt that will perform as well, even with a better card.

But, hindsight being 20/20, which should I have voted for? I'd think I'm voting for Linux by buying a machine with Linux preloaded. But it's more complex -- I'm apparently also voting nvidia, and since I bought XP, I'm voting that, too.

Re:Proof that competition is good (5, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265563)

The parent has pegged a round hole with a square question. Hardware support in Linux works well if you build your own machines, or happen to get one with supported hardware. How do you find a system that is fully supported and for which distributions?

This is still a problem for F/OSS software. Some distributions are better at handling the problem than others. For many end users, finding a proprietary driver and installing it on Linux is a deal-breaker.

I'm glad to see that ATI is moving toward support for all OS software, but it still leaves the general community with a problem. That problem won't go away until hardware manufacturers support F/OSS out of the box. It means changing their model and prospective future business plans to some extent.

I'm willing to bet that if everyone who *REALLY* wants to see great F/OSS drivers for ATI were to plop down $5 USD it would make a difference to how they are thinking about releasing drivers. Yes, $50,000 might not be much but it also might make a difference to ATI. This falls into a category of donations that I've talked about before.

Finding who to donate to is not always easy since many apps are hidden from the user, such as Samba, drivers, etc. It would be good if there were some place people could just drop a donation for the distribution they are using and feel safe that some percentage of that went to all those apps that are part of the distribution. This always brings up some heart felt discussion, but I think something like this is an awesome thing that would help drive better development for F/OSS software. See, getting $1.75 per user is a lot of money to some F/OSS teams. Hell, even fifty cents would be a lot more than they are getting now. So a donation of 50 or 75 bucks could mean a lot to many people. I try to donate to the apps that I use the most and I KNOW how difficult it is to do that.

If anyone is interested in progressing such a thing, contact me. I can probably find some time to donate to this as a project.

Re:Proof that competition is good (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265621)

Hardware support in Linux works well if you build your own machines, or happen to get one with supported hardware. How do you find a system that is fully supported and for which distributions?

A sensible assumption, I would think, is to buy it preloaded with Linux. And this has worked fairly well. I've had weird issues with the nvidia drivers and KDE4, but that's to be expected -- KDE4 is still beta. (Oh, they'll tell you it's a stable 4.1, but that's like Vista claiming to be released...)

Other than that, though, it's been perfect, as far as compatibility goes. I'm starting to think my next system won't be Dell, though. Optical drive died, and it took them three trips (first trip was the wrong drive, second trip it was damaged) -- though they were nice enough to include Vista install media (WTF? I ordered Ubuntu!) on one of those trips. Currently, the battery is not charging (stuck at 26%, will discharge, but won't charge again) -- probably will involve replacing the motherboard, which means another trip or three.

And I bought this thing less than three months ago.

To add insult to injury, an old-ish video card, and a 100 mbit network card (no gigabit), both soldered to the motherboard.

Anyway, bitching over. To the rest of your idea:

It would be good if there were some place people could just drop a donation for the distribution they are using and feel safe that some percentage of that went to all those apps that are part of the distribution.

If you can make it work, great!

But, that seems a bit difficult, considering the number of applications, and the way in which they are used. You'd need something like popularity-contest to find out which apps are actually being used -- or you could just watch that user, or allow them to automagically submit a list of apps.

Even then, there'd be questions of usefulness factoring in. If you base it on something as crude as CPU time, wall time, number of executions, or LOC, it's ripe for abuse. But if you make it subjective, it's ripe for politicking and corruption.

Re:Proof that competition is good (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265705)

By way of background. I've got 8 Linux systems using 2 distributions mainly. I also play with others, so when I donate, I think what is eight times what I want to donate etc. This project should be something that I can register eight systems with. That is to say that whatever donation option I choose, I should be able to annotate that it is for xyz number of systems, and the site/service would add that up for me so that I don't have to go through the process 8 times. Even two times would be tough going for just wanting to donate. Hell, I don't even want to fill in a questionnaire for a chance at a free iPod, never mind to give money away.

I agree with your thoughts on the problematic issues with a donation system. I definitely believe it would be something that needs more heads on it than one. Certainly more than just mine. One major problem is that each distribution should need to have some input as the packages in each can be and are different.

Since it is donation, I think it should be both automagical and subjective. It should be as simple as
1- 'divide it among all apps on distribution disk' or that are in use
2- 'base packages plus others I select' or
3- 'let me pick which packages'

The automagic part would be to note which packages are being used, present the list of them, and the options for splits as above.

Even with just three options, the site/service would then have to collect the money and mark accounts to distribute to. Technically, this is not an overwhelming problem for code, but it gets political on the UI and on the legal side of moving those donations to the right project funds. Collecting the money and disbursing once a week or month would make bigger values for easier transactions, but might also clash considerably with the preferred method of donation by many projects. So, even before opening the website there is much politicking to do. Do you seek out co-operation, or wait for package devs to apply? Tough questions that I would not want lone responsibility for.

Again, each distro can be different, so input from the packagers would be very useful. With large groups such as Canonical, I'd imagine it might be straight forward. With smaller ones it might not. I've seen some packages that I could not find donation methods for.

Lastly, should such a service offer a check box to collect a small tip for making it easier to donate? Should that service scrape a few pennies from donations? By pennies, I don't mean millions, I mean just enough to stay open. Should the service rely on donation recipients to play it back in support? All questions that should be handled by a group of people to think it through.

So, I'm willing to put in time/effort for such a service. Any other volunteers? Any package maintainers with input?

I'm listening. Should probably start a project page/website....

Cheers

Re:Proof that competition is good (1)

fringd (120235) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265905)

maybe this [tipjoy.com] would help people donate easily?

Re:Proof that competition is good (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265955)

I'm willing to bet that if everyone who *REALLY* wants to see great F/OSS drivers for ATI were to plop down $5 USD it would make a difference to how they are thinking about releasing drivers. Yes, $50,000 might not be much but it also might make a difference to ATI. This falls into a category of donations that I've talked about before.

Since AMD/ATI made the commitment to open source the video drivers and docs I bought an AMD CPU and ATI GPU knowing full well the GPU wouldn't work very well yet in Linux. At least the GPU part of the purchase was made specifically because of AMD's commitment to FOSS, and the CPU was good enough that I didn't bother looking at the equivalent Intel offering. Hopefully they made more than $5 USD from the purchase. And I wouldn't have cared about any of this if it weren't for Theo's proselytizing.

If they can get rid of the tearing and provide some useful 3d by 2010 or at least the next LTS Ubuntu (10.04) I will be happy.

Re:Proof that competition is good (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266079)

Same here. I have bought 1 motherboard with built in ATI graphics, One ATI video card, and I going to get another motherboard with built in ATI graphics next week. Prior AMD moving to support OSS, I had zero ATI graphics, and they were not something I would have even considered.

Re:Proof that competition is good (4, Informative)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266207)

The parent has pegged a round hole with a square question. Hardware support in Linux works well if you build your own machines, or happen to get one with supported hardware. How do you find a system that is fully supported and for which distributions?

Anything with an Intel Centrino logo /should/ have a full array of linux supported hardware. The intel centrino chip "package" includes wifi, video, cpu, acpi, sata, and sound all with known working mainline kernel supported hardware. Not that I work for or endorse their products necessarily, they just happen to be the only vendor who has bothered with providing the code, documentation and (in the case of their wifi chipset) firmware for all the same hardware that they include in their logo certification program. Probably not the top of the line hardware, especially the video, but it's hard to argue with a product that fits so neatly into the HCL for any recent linux distro.

Re:Proof that competition is good (2, Insightful)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266243)

Heh, just occurred to me that withing the next few months Toshiba's Open Solaris branded/installed laptops powered by centrino chips will, likely, have full drivers for Windows, Solaris, and Linux making a purchase of their gear a pretty solid vote for consumer choice.

Linux is good lately -- Windows is worse (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266235)

Hardware support in Linux works well if you build your own machines, or happen to get one with supported hardware. How do you find a system that is fully supported and for which distributions?

That was true --- in the past. If anything, I find that the opposite to be true these days: installing linux on a machine tends to make it just work. Installing windows, on the other hand, is a nightmare... occasionally, I find that my network card is unsupported without drivers, which is a real hassle by the time you get windows or some app to tell you what chip's involved, download drivers on some other machine and transfer them etc. Then you have printers, mice, graphics cards, etc. which are often unsupported by the standard drivers, or have limited features. Instead, they come with something that installs services, tray icons, etc., all with horrible UIs and advertising, together with scary warnings about the driver being unsigned. Granted, HP printers on Linux are just as regarding their use of using a non-standard UI, but most Linux stuff works much more nicely, with much less hassle, and bugs actually get fixed, keeping up with the rest of the OS.

Re:Proof that competition is good (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265447)

Er, what exactly is Nvidia doing in this regard? They've put out more or less OK closed drivers for Linux for a number of years now but they go out of their way to frustrate FOSS efforts.

You half-answered your own question. They've been putting out fairly stable and fast drivers long before *any* other company was doing that (with the possible exception of matrox, but they're a non-factor at this point). Nvidia has built a certain amount of good will from a lot of Linux users simply because they actually care to release good quality drivers. The open source nuts obviously don't care but everyone else does.

Second, and this is coming from someone who's had a decent amount of 3d development experience: working with nvidia drivers/cards is just a whole lot easier than ati or intel. All three companies don't do the best job, but the amount of hacks you have to make in software to get stuff working with both ati and intel cards far surpasses anything you have to write for nvidia cards. I'm sure there will be open source nuts in this is article saying how intel is awesome because they release open source drivers and that's great if all you care about is running glxgears and desktop effects. Anything more complicated is an absolute nightmare with intel hardware.

Re:Proof that competition is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265691)

Agreed. This is why I have stuck solely with nVidia since the late 90's (both on desktops and laptops). Their Linux support is better than anyone else, open-source or not. For the most part nVidia Just Works. So far I haven't seen anything that would change my opinion.

Re:Proof that competition is good (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265901)

For the most part nVidia Just Works.

That's fine. Folks like me care about having an *open* system that also works. xf86-video-ati works pretty well for my R420 AGP card, so I get everything that I'm looking for. :)

Re:Proof that competition is good (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265885)

All three companies don't do the best job, but the amount of hacks you have to make in software to get stuff working with both ati and intel cards far surpasses anything you have to write for nvidia cards.

[citation needed] Sample OGL code would be an adequate citation.

Re:Proof that competition is good (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266139)

I am omeone else, but:
Look at MPlayer's libvo/vo_gl.c and all the code under if(ati_hack). And that is about the very most trivial OpenGL code in existence.
In addition to that, the lscale=1 code in that does not work either since ATI messed up something as simple as GL_REPEAT, at least with fragment programs.

Re:Proof that competition is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266223)

Er, what exactly is Nvidia doing in this regard? They've put out more or less OK closed drivers for Linux for a number of years now but they go out of their way to frustrate FOSS efforts. The "open source" nv driver is obfuscated. About all you can say about it is that it compiles to a basic 2D driver.

Agreed. Although "frustrate" is a little too strong, "ignore" is a better term. The original nv driver was written under NDA with NVidia about ten years ago, which is why it contains a lot of magic constants and no documentation. I don't think NVidia has cared about it since then.

Anyway, the nv driver will be obsolete in a year. The Nouveau driver has already achieved the same level of functionality as nv, and I believe that Red Hat has started packaging the Nouveau driver. No doubt a few bugs will appear once it gets used by more people, but they will be resolved in time.

I'm actually curious as to how NVidia is going to respond to the Linux kernel finally getting graphics device support (KMS). As the only significant manufacturer that solely relies on its closed-source drivers, they should expect a lot of fall-out once the kernel starts taking control of the graphics hardware (I expect in 2.6.31 or 2009.3?).

Dammit (5, Funny)

wicka (985217) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265305)

AMD doing nice shit just makes it all the more heartbreaking when Intel releases better chips. I hope they get their shit together soon, I feel dirty with a Core 2 Duo.

Re:Dammit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265343)

Just buy a 4850 and feel better

Re:Dammit (1)

keatonguy (1001680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265783)

Dunno what you're talking about. I've got an Athalon chipset and it runs swimmingly. Way cheaper than the Intel equivalent too.

Re:Dammit (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266261)

I've got an Athalon chipset and it runs swimmingly

Cool, I've never heard of those. Who builds these? And what processors do they support?

I would love to have a chipset that can still operate correctly when fully submerged. Do they generate enough heat so I can do the dishes with the waste water?

Re:Dammit (5, Informative)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265787)

Eh? Intel has had fully open-source drivers available for quite some time now. ATI is currently playing catch-up in that regard. (And Nvidia isn't playing at all.)

Wow (3, Interesting)

shiftless (410350) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265363)

Every single 3D accelerator I have ever owned has been an NVidia, up until now. Not because I am an NVidia fan-boy, but because that's what I started with (TNT!) and (since I switched over to Linux) because NVidia has always been the best choice for Linux support. I have never considered ATI since their Linux drivers have been craptastic. But in between what I've heard of ATI drivers having improved lately, and now with these drivers being open source, I will definitely be giving ATI a look when I build my next PC in a few months. Thanks ATI!

Re:Wow (4, Insightful)

grimwell (141031) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265413)

ATI's linux drivers are still craptastic... not likely to change in the next few months. You're still better off with Nvidia for linux.

Re:Wow (4, Insightful)

steveha (103154) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265635)

You're still better off with Nvidia for linux.

Well, for Linux gaming, you are, for now anyway. But over the long term, we should get free, open-source drivers, which means drivers that actually work. In the long run, you may be better off with ATI cards.

And, I will be voting with my dollars: I'll now try to buy ATI cards where it makes sense, partly because for the long term I think they will be a win, but also to thank ATI for doing something I wanted them to do.

steveha

Re:Wow (2, Interesting)

lakeland (218447) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265769)

I don't think the parent should be called a troll; It's a valid opinion. Up until now, nvidia is what you picked if you wanted:
  better compatibility with recent kernels
  easier installation
  better performance

I used to have an ATI card (hehe, nearly wrote AMD - the merger really has started to change how I think). It was built because I needed 3D in a 100% open source system and NVidia's closed-source drivers were so good that not enough developers could be bothered developing open-source equivilants (whatever happened to noveau anyway?). At the same time, ATI's closed-source driver sucked so the open-source support was pretty good.

But apart from that one foray where open-source was a requirement, I've always wanted things to 'just work' and nvidia has been so much better in that regard.

Now, AMD (and independently, intel) have thrown down the gauntlet and next time I will actually have to think instead of buying nvidia automatically. Having said that, and I think this is the parent's point, if I were buying a system next week then there is no way I'd go ATI - this donation will take months before it finds its way into released distributions and I've long past being willing to patch my kernel constantly to support my hardware.

If you're a consumer, rejoice in this annoucnement but wait a few months before changing your buying significantly. If you're nvidia - now is the time to start sweating and seriously think about just exactly why you can't open-source your drivers.

That's my opinion, anyhow.

Re:Wow (2, Informative)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265799)

whatever happened to noveau anyway?
 
It's still being worked on, apparently. http://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/ [freedesktop.org] The last update was on November 16, so it's not being worked on really fast....

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266169)

scratch the "Linux" part. The drivers are of the same quality for Linux and Windows (except the Direct3D part which _may_ be better). And yes "craptastic" describes them favourably.

Re:Wow (1)

speed of lightx2 (1375759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265465)

It is now Nvidia that wins the crappy-linux-drivers crown. Aside from the fact that they are closed binaries, among other things you can now do hardware accelerated H264 on AMD supported cards in Linux. In the meantime, if you own a newish Nvidia card, it only exists on their Windows driver.

Re:Wow (1)

marsu_k (701360) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265737)

Ask and ye shall receive. [nvnews.net] Although application support is not quite there yet - there are patches for mplayer, and preliminary support in some branches of xine and MythTV; but it probably will soon be better.

(Not that I wouldn't welcome Nvidia opening up their drivers more, or at least offering proper XRandR 1.2 support. Unfortunately they still offer in my experience the best performance in Linux)

I chose ATI because of their open source policy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265369)

I chose ATI over Nvidia in my most recent graphics card purchase because of ATI's policy.

Thanks ATI; it's the right thing, and it will help your revenue.

Re:I chose ATI because of their open source policy (2, Interesting)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265823)

I have done my best to stick with Intel video chipsets, because they "just work" with Linux. However, a year or so back I purchased a widescreen monitor for my main computer (this one) and discovered a very slight crawl in the display. I suspect it's some kind of electrical interference. To solve the problem I purchased an ATI X1660 card with DVI output and installed that and the crawl went away. However, the stock ATI driver that comes with Fedora 8 and 9 wouldn't, for whatever reason, work with my monitor -- it refused to switch to a high enough resolution. So I very reluctantly installed the proprietary ATI driver and that just worked. It automatically set itself up to work with my monitor and all was well.
 
However, I recently upgraded this machine to Fedora 10 and lo and behold, the open source driver now works with my monitor, so I no longer require the proprietary driver. Which suits me just fine, indeed.
 
I used to recommend Intel video only when anyone asked for my opinion, but now I'm quite comfortable recommending either Intel or ATI. They seem to be more-or-less equivalent in the open source (hassle-free) driver arena now.

Very nice of them. (5, Informative)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265375)

I am looking forward to see what this means for Linux, OpenCL and other GP-GPU goodies. With OpenCL working along side OpenGL, a tightly integrated kernel ATI driver that handles the GP-GPU/OpenCL stuff we will really see some interesting stuff come our way. To my understanding OpenCL allows someone who is writing an algorithm to implement it in OpenCL and let OpenCL take care of diving up the work load between GPU's and CPU cores. Damn I am really excited to see the OSS community tie all this stuff together and release the computing power of the GPU to more general yet compute intense applications.

A system with a quad core CPU and four ATI cards would be a force to be reckoned with! Fast trans-coding/cracking of Blu-ray, rapid key sniffing for air crack, even networked applications could be sped up like IPsec and SSH. We could have fast rendering in blender and ray tracing can be done with high precision as well as speed (maybe even real time!). Gimp plug-ins can be given a boost in speed and video editing a breeze. Even a laptop with a slower dual core could benefit from its on board GPU's number crunching power. Useful for cracking WEP/WPA keys.

And AMD/ATI arent the only ones getting on board the OpenCL bandwagon, Apple developed it, and Intel along with Nvidia are also going to support it. So OpenCL will allow us to run our apps on the hardware of our choice.

                 

Re:Very nice of them. (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265543)

I'm personally cheering on raytracing for the near future, but I have to agree. If it's not used for gaming, you may be able to download a movie and have it rendered for you in real time. Being able to pan the camera around and view it literally from another angle or have more complex movies with multiple things going on. Being able to focus on a couple's drama or watch a car chase on the other side of town (all within the same "movie".)

Re:Very nice of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265831)

Holodecks here we come!

Now we need some to make mac os x dirvers for the (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265399)

Now we need some to make mac os x drivers for the 3xxx and 4xxx cards that work with all 3xxx and 4xxx cards and ones with bios roms.

One of the best FOSS-related news recently! (1)

nadabg (1349539) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265437)

Finally! Congratulations, AMD, I always preferred your CPUs and GPUs due to their sane price/performance ratio and great features, but now I think you won me for life. I hope that more and more vendors will follow AMD's steps and start releasing code and documentation.

Re:One of the best FOSS-related news recently! (1)

hilather (1079603) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265647)

I for one will be taking this into account when purchasing a new laptop in the next year. It would be nice to have more selection, perhaps I will in that amount of time. This is a HUGE priority in my selection process, I dream of a day when my laptop flawlessly works with external displays, and intuitive programs to drive it.

One a side note, does anyone know if this will affect the VM environment for gaming? Would a powerful open source driver be of any use without open source specs on the hardware itself? Virtual box has an option to emulate a soundblaster 16 card.

Re:One of the best FOSS-related news recently! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265683)

Finally! Congratulations, AMD, I always preferred your CPUs and GPUs due to their sane price/performance ratio and great features, but now I think you won me for life.

For life? What if they revert back to their old ways in a few years?

Feeling a little more confident... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265471)

...about my decision to buy an ATI card. I did buy it because of their willingness to release documentation hoping that I would be able use an open-source driver one day, but so far the radeonhd driver still lacks decent 2D performance and Xvideo. So I kind of got stuck with the binary driver after all, which was not always without issues.

Will buy whatever card works best with GNU/Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265525)

And by buy, I mean spend hard currency. I believe that is the language most business speak.

Absolutely cool! (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265575)

This is fantastic news, I applaude the ATI management for realizing this is a good thing to do. I stopped buying ATI in about 2000 because of the issues in getting driver support for Linux. Now that ATI is stepping up to the plate, I am adding ATI products that use this driver to my buy list!

FAQ (5, Informative)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265585)

Based on what's been on IRC in the past few hours.

Q: Wait, what?

A: Code for radeonhd and the kernel providing acceleration for Radeon HD 2400 and newer. Kernel parts are already pretty much integrated; radeonhd is integrated as well, although stuff still needs to be copied to radeon.

Q: So what does this mean for the user?

A: EXA means faster GUI responsiveness. Xv means fast video. Kernel DRM is the basis for all acceleration unification (OpenGL, etc.)

Q: Speaking of OpenGL...

A: Lawl, no. Not for another few months. Most of the code we're gonna write will target Gallium, so--

Q: Gallium?

A: Gallium is the next generation of GPU acceleration. Once we get drivers ready, it'll be awesome. Linky to TG: http://www.tungstengraphics.com/wiki/index.php/Gallium3D [tungstengraphics.com]

Q: So this is just docs and some basic code?

A: Nope, no docs. AMD couldn't agree on docs before their vacation time, so I guess we'll see those in a month or so. On the other hand, we've got enough here to do a lot of stuff. It'd be nice if we had more devs, though. :3

Q: So why is there only code for radeonhd? Will radeon support this too? Why two separate drivers?

A: The reason for two separate drivers is a very long and largely silly story. I don't feel like repeating it, and I probably couldn't tell it fairly anyway.

I'll get radeonhd code ported over to radeon once my vacation's over, assuming nobody does it sooner. I can't do the HDMI audio setup without testing hardware, though; does anybody want to donate an HDMI audio-enabled monitor? :3

~ C.

Re:FAQ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265723)

Since you're a Mesa/X.org dev, maybe you can answer this.
Why has there apparently been no interest in implementing XvMC?

Lawl? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266135)

A: Lawl, no.

Seriously, Lawl?

recommended AMD card? (3, Interesting)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265675)

It's been about 8 years since I last immersed myself in the world of video cards and of course everything has changed since then. (Except that nVidia and AMD (was: ATI) are still on top.) Since then, whenever I've needed a video card, I've just gone to newegg and bought whichever nVidia card was priced around $50.

But pretend for a moment that I want to congratulate AMD on their open source stance and buy one of their cards. I don't need eye-blistering speed, but I want something that's going to be able to acceptably play a game released a year to six months ago. And obviously it has to work well on Linux. Would be nice if it was under $100 and dual-head, but I'll take any suggestions I can get. Is there such a card? If so, which drivers does it use?

Re:recommended AMD card? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265765)

Radeon HD 4670 is ~$80 and will play most games, period.

Re:recommended AMD card? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265895)

I don't know about the games part but I recently bought a R500 series PCIe card (X1650 - http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_e?url=search-alias%3Delectronics&field-keywords=x1650+pcie&x=0&y=0 ) and it works great for my needs - dual head, decent 2D and 3D accel, working suspend/resume and on Fedora 10 it even gives me kernel mode setting which means high resolution, flicker free, flashy boot - Yay!

Always loved amd (2, Interesting)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265833)

I've always liked AMD ever since I started building computers. I'm not really a fan boy I guess I'm just their target consumer. I prefer a low cost processor that I can squeeze every dollar worth out of than an expensive one that is really fast but will be worth one hundred or two hundred less in a year when Intel pushes out their next bleeding fast processors. I've always bought Nvidia though I just have better experience getting them to work in Linux and they seem to run games better in windows at the time as well. Well about 2 months ago I gave my friend my existing Nvidia 8800gts as a birthday gift and got myself a 4850 Raedon card. I'd been meaning to buy an ATI card ever since AMD bought them but I was apprehensive. Bringing it home though I notice a huge difference in games especially my source engine games. The only issues I've had with it was some minor flickering in Linux (thanks to compiz and the drivers) and some issues with older games which were easy to work out. I honestly don't see myself buying Nvidia after this. The fact I have CrossfireX makes the deal even sweeter. This is a slam dunk for AMD.

Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265857)

Hi ambiguous and extremely obvious keyword guy here. Do you ever find yourself wondering how to search for that story you saw on slashdot? Well worry no more I've gone to the liberty of tagging every single article with the keyword story so when you need to find that story on slashdot that has only articles/stories you know what to type in.

IMHO: Some common misconceptions. (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265913)

-the consumer forced it; reality: if i manufacture a netbook containing Ubuntu and everything on it is open source my software distribution and update infractructure/legal costs are: 0. In a time when hardware gets cheaper and cheaper, and support get more expensive in comparison it is a good thing to collaborate on that.

-The hard core gamers define the market. No. It's about netbooks, mobile phones and other devices. Given the exponential rise in computational power/dollar in a few years real time raytracing will take over. Bringing your own hardware interfaces/distribution infrastructure to the component market now give companies a better starting point to deliver a reliable platform. In the best case you promis the HW developer that he never has to touch the software (ok, may submit the pci id to the generic linux driver).

-Linux wins; maybe, but its more general: In the market of set-top boxes, GPS devices, mobile phones, media players etc. Widowns lost. If its linux or something else has to be seen (although the best news for linux in the recent reas was that Windriver is interested in it). Microsoft has no power to punish anybody any more.

Re:IMHO: Some common misconceptions. (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266113)

"Widowns lost."

That has been the story of the personal computer since the beginning. MS never "Won". They were just the company that shot themselves in the foot the fewest times...Until now anyway. They still haven't bled out yet, but they are also not in top shape.
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