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Open-Source 2D, 3D Drivers For ATI Radeon HD 5000 Series

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the following-through dept.

AMD 245

An anonymous reader writes "AMD has now rolled out open-source 2D and 3D drivers for their ATI Radeon HD 5000 series graphics processors. As described at length over at Phoronix, it's taken nearly a year to complete but there is now public code released that enables 2D, 3D, and video hardware-acceleration for this latest generation of ATI GPUs. For now this code is intended for developers and enthusiasts but with time it will make its way into stable Linux distribution updates. AMD's open-source developers are also beginning to work on ATI Radeon HD 6000 series support, which is hardware not to be released until late in the year."

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I would have had the first post... (5, Funny)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320528)

I would have had the first post, but I was waiting for my browser window to scroll.

Re:I would have had the first post... (2, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320554)

So was everyone else, apparently.

Re:I would have had the first post... (0, Troll)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320562)

Whoops! I was on my NVidia box.

First Post Troll Bastard (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33321198)

Whoops! I was on my NVidia box.

Just ... Shut ... the ... FUCK ... up ... already. Kthx.

Mac OS X (-1, Offtopic)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320530)

Open source drivers for OS X? Doubt it.

Re:Mac OS X (-1, Offtopic)

node 3 (115640) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320586)

Why? There are already 5000 series drivers in Mac OS X. And it's quite likely that the open source drivers will not be as capable or high performance as the proprietary drivers.

If you still really want open source drivers for some reason, though, these can be used to create drivers for OS X.

Re:Mac OS X (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320652)

And it's quite likely that the open source drivers will not be as capable or high performance as the proprietary drivers.

Let me guess: you've never used ATI cards, right?

Re:Mac OS X (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320766)

You've guessed wrong.

Re:Mac OS X (1)

Crummosh (1529839) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320740)

And it's quite likely that the open source drivers will not be as capable or high performance as the proprietary drivers.

Why?

Re:Mac OS X (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320774)

Because that's the way it usually is. I'm not saying it's guaranteed, just likely. And if it's not the case, then awesome.

Re:Mac OS X (1)

kc8apf (89233) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320844)

Intellectual property from other companies generally has to be stripped from the code base and those algorithms reimplemented in a different way. Yes, technically those other companies could open-source their code, but generally they don't. Sadly, that intellectual property is almost always used to get high performance.

Re:Mac OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33320930)

Imaginary property.

Re:Mac OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33321074)

Maybe, but calling it that isn't going to put that code back or make your video drivers any faster.

Imaginary? Really? (4, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321488)

Imaginary property.

You'll find out how "imaginary" it is when your refusal to financially support the people doing the work causes them to stop doing it.

See, that's the huge fallacy with the argument that intellectual property has no owner, and therefore no financial value to any entity as it should be distributed without recompense: People generally do work because they are motivated. Things like houses, sending the kids to college, paying the water bill, buying the occasional gratuitous item -- if you take months of work and don't return something (and I'm not talking about a pat on the back), eventually, people will begin to ask themselves, "So... why did I do this again? I could have been working at McDonald's and paying off my house."

I will grant you it is easy to take work without recompense - particularly software, ideas, and performance recordings - especially since digital transfer has become so easy of itself; but I put it to you that your mindset is going to either kill the golden goose, or mutate it into something you're *really* not going to like. I don't think there's even a ghost of a chance you're going to see a transition into a Soviet-style "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need"; and that's the *only* type of society where your idea of "imaginary property" translates into something sensible: property that isn't so much imaginary, but owned equally by all.

Re:Mac OS X (0, Troll)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321798)

Intellectual property from other companies generally has to be stripped from the code base and those algorithms reimplemented in a different way.

And they should better not implement it in a driver. Ex: winmodems.

nVidia (3, Interesting)

Snaver (983382) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320534)

I guess this is more than what nVidia has been doing.. Plus for AMD users.

Re:nVidia (3, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320566)

That's why I got an ati card for my ubuntu 10.04 64 bit. I didn't see any other choice!

Re:nVidia (0)

tyrione (134248) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321590)

That's why I got an ati card for my ubuntu 10.04 64 bit. I didn't see any other choice!

Than what? Buying the nvidia and just installing the binary driver they produce? Oh the horror!

Re:nVidia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33321734)

That's why I got an ati card for my ubuntu 10.04 64 bit. I didn't see any other choice!

Than what? Buying the nvidia and just installing the binary driver they produce? Oh the horror!

Not to mention the crashiness. Crashiness... Is that a word or should I just say the nvidia linux drivers suck?

Re:nVidia (2, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320580)

I guess my next video card will be an ATI card...

Re:nVidia (3, Insightful)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321134)

Why? Unless the resulting drivers are actually better which remains to be seen, just the fact that they are open source is meaningless.

Now if someone can fix ATIs shitty OpenGL support, then I'd be all over it. But for right now this makes no difference.

Re:nVidia (3, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321348)

The fact that they're open source means they'll soon be able to support kernel mode setting, and integrate better into Linux distributions than Nvidia's proprietary stuff.

Re:nVidia (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33321674)

But will they work? Or will they crash?

I don't care if something is open source or not unless that gives me a benefit. Since I do not write driver code but I buy hardware that uses it, I only care if it works and whether it will work for the life of my hardware. So far nVidia with their binary blob driver is the only choice unless I want to piss away productivity and stability of my system.

Now, if AMD brings the quality of the drivers up to where nVidia is, or even makes the open source 3D drivers as good as nVidia's binary blob then I'll be more than willing to entertain AMD video cards again. I'm talking ballpark figures here, even 25% slower driver for similar hardware would work for me. Until then, the only choice I have is nVidia.

Here is your benefit (3, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321768)

I don't care if something is open source or not unless that gives me a benefit.

The benefit is: If it crashes, you can do something about it.

You have the source. You can compile it yourself. If it doesn't work the way you'd like, you can change it.

With open source, you have many eyes looking at the code. If there is a subtle bug it will more easily be found by 10,000 people looking at it rather than 10 or 20.

That's your benefit right there.

Re:nVidia (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321828)

The fact that they're open source means they'll soon be able to support kernel mode setting, and integrate better into Linux distributions than Nvidia's proprietary stuff.

It's all good, but most people buying these kinds of cards want to run 3D-heavy apps (read: games), so the ability to do that fast and stable is still the primary measure of drivers' usefulness.

If you just want desktop graphics to work, any Intel chip will do wonders in Linux today - very cheap, and no need to wait.

Re:nVidia (3, Funny)

tyrione (134248) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321594)

Why? Unless the resulting drivers are actually better which remains to be seen, just the fact that they are open source is meaningless.

Now if someone can fix ATIs shitty OpenGL support, then I'd be all over it. But for right now this makes no difference.

They have phenomenal OpenGL support, just not for Linux.

Re:nVidia (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33321806)

Why? Unless the resulting drivers are actually better which remains to be seen, just the fact that they are open source is meaningless.

It does make a difference. It means they will shortly be selling one of those cards to me. I need 3d, I don't need great 3d. I want my graphics drivers to ship with the distribution I use, not have to install from a 3rd party.

Look around you, hardly anyone insists on using the best quality everything all the time, other factors come into play, price, convenience, service, relationships with suppliers. Personally, I consider the release of open source drivers to be a superior service than releasing binary only drivers. They increase the convenience to me by having updates in the main repo. Those factors outweigh the quality issues for me so long as it's good enough to do the things I want.

Re:nVidia (2, Insightful)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321764)

Until this can match the performance of the NVIDIA VDPAU I'm not interested. I need performance and functionality. So far ATI hasn't delivered that and while this is a step forward it's a bit late in the game. Wake me when they do something like the ION chipset that NVIDIA has done so I can have high performance video decoding and rendering on a low power CPU. If they had done this say two years ago or had better performing closed source drivers I might have chosen to use their stuff. They are way late to this party...

Re:nVidia (3, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321136)

Traditionally, nVidia had high-quality but closed drivers for Linux, while ATI had a low-quality but open ones (they also had a closed one, but it was pretty bad too). The main change seems to be that ATI's released a lot more specs lately, and has devoted more attention to producing non-crappy Linux drivers.

Re:nVidia (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33321150)

OTOH, nVidia's proprietary blob has worked very, very well for many years, for me. I don't even think twice about which type of card to buy, when I'm buying; it's been utterly reliable and always yielded spectacular performance.
ATI has been hit and miss (mostly miss, in my experience) for a very long time, as far back as (whatever came after) the original Radeons. Now that some non-AMD people can get their hands on the code, though, perhaps that will change.
Personally, I see no reason to give up the phenomenal support that nVidia has shown us Linux users, though. They would have to do something spectacularly SONY-like to make me change camps, at this point.

Excellent (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320542)

Kudos to them for finally taking this step. I have no doubt that with at least this start point, these drivers should achieve feature parity with the closed source Nvidia drivers before too long. Truthfully right now if they can just get a good VDPAU implementation I'll be happy. Aside from that the only use for my card on Linux is Compiz. With the rumours of Steam coming to Linux eventually though, it could definitely get interesting.

Doesn't help with all the older cards. (4, Interesting)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320546)

After years of being a die-hard Nvidia-on-Linux user, I took a risk and went with a laptop that had integrated ATI graphics when I made my most recent upgrade.

Nothing but instability, incompatibility, artifacting, underperformance, a mess. I regret it. I finally got an IBM Advanced Mini-Dock and put an Nvidia PCI-Express 8600GT in it (needed something low power enough to draw from the slot alone, small enough to fit in the tiny mini-dock space).

Installed the Nvidia drivers and away I went, stable and fast.

Meanwhile, on Windows nobody (neither IBM nor Lenovo nor ATI) have managed to release updated, much less Windows 7-compatible, drivers for the integrated ATI graphics in my Thinkpad. The machine is only two years old but it's all EOL as far as ATI is concerned.

This is a good move by ATI, I suppose, but it's woefully late, and it doesn't do anything about existing hardware on any platform. ATI's hardware might be okay, I have no idea, but their driver support on every platform sucks ass.

Re:Doesn't help with all the older cards. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33320618)

waaaaaaaaaahhhhh

Re:Doesn't help with all the older cards. (4, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320640)

Uhm. ATI has OpenSource drivers for _all_ hardware starting from r100 for Linux. And all their drivers support KMS.

Re:Doesn't help with all the older cards. (2, Informative)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320988)

I don't think that's what 'older' means. It may be hard to believe, but there are still systems out there with video chipsets older than the r100, and support for some of them can be a little shaky.

Re:Doesn't help with all the older cards. (2, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321010)

I have no qualms with the second half of your statement, but there's no denying that the R100 is old. Really old in computing terms. Just because there exist EVEN OLDER chipsets still in use doesn't negate that fact. It'd be like saying that a 486 isn't slow because you can find a 286 still in use. It might be slowER, but the 486 is still slow too.

And they suck. (2, Interesting)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321128)

This is on Fedoras 11, 12, and 13 with a Mobility X1400. I've tried both radeon and radeonhd. I tried dozens of options and no options.

Crashes. Freezes. Panics. Unpredictable behavior (woah, garbage screen, hit CTRL-ALT-BKSP to restart server, hey, now it works, but two hours later, woah, garbage again!).

I gave up on the 3D support but even had trouble and unpredictable behavior with the 2D support, especially with Xrandr and dual monitors.

Thought for a moment that it might be worth it to try the closed-source drivers but of course the X1400 isn't supported in the current version and the older version that supports the X1400 would require that I step half a dozen Fedora versions back. Not gonna happen.

I've been a Linux user since 1993, when I retired an old Sparc+SunOS system. But I find that the older I get, the less patience I have for the ideological morass that is the Linux community.

- Just because a driver exists does not mean that it works
- Just because a project exists does not mean that it works
- Submitting a bug report no longer helps it to work
- Submitting a patch is generally the same as submitting to /dev/null
- Generally, submitting a either generates (1) ridicule, (2) lectures, or (3) work

Seriously, before simply docking the laptop and running Nvidia, I was crawling through bugzilla applying patches to the source RPM for the Xorg nvidia driver to fix things as basic as icon corruption.

Of course, many of the patches were submitted months or even years ago, so they no longer cleanly apply and have to be adapted. You can choose (if you want to avoid 2D corruption with the X1400) either to re-patch and re-compile by hand each time an Xorg update comes down the pike, or you can exclude Xorg updates in yum. Neither is acceptable, but it must be done if you want to avoid screen corruption with a Thinkpad T60 2007-xxx model. Why haven't the patches been included in subsequent releases, given that they fix the issues in question?

I'm sure there's some perfectly good ideological reason having to do with some form of code (or even development process) perfection. Of course, such reasons have nothing at all to do with making code that actually _works for users_.

This mirrors my experience of bug reporting with KDE and GNOME projects. Take the time to install the symbols binaries and generate nice bug reports and what you get are nontechnical explanations of why you're doing something wrong (wrong hardware, wrong preferences, wrong use cases, whatever) rather than any interest in actually making software work for users.

Meanwhile, Snow Leopard as a hack runs better and more stably than Fedora 13, even with the binary Nvidia drivers.

Correction needed? (2, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321322)

Interesting.

Isn't there something wrong with this paragraph?

"Seriously, before simply docking the laptop and running Nvidia, I was crawling through bugzilla applying patches to the source RPM for the Xorg nvidia driver to fix things as basic as icon corruption."

Did you mean "Xorg ATI driver"? Otherwise, I got lost somewhere.

Re:And they suck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33321396)

You use Fedora, and expect anything but garbage? ROFLMAO

*Wipes tears*

Sorry. You should try something saner. Really. You shouldn't have much trouble, with the exception of 3d which is very much WIP. IMO that's pretty ok, considering the constant earthquake like upheavals going on in the graphic subsystems around it.

Re:And they suck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33321398)

I can also confirm this. I have a Mobility Radeon 9700 (R3xx). The past 6-7 years in terms of driver support has been terrible.

Fglrx would cause hardlocks either while running 3d apps, or at random afterwards. OSS driver had no 3d support.

Then the OSS driver did get support, but it was terrible, so I put up with daily hardlocks.

After a while there was some changes to Xorg and it was supposed to make the OSS driver better, so I switched back. 3d support was still lackluster, but at this point I was tired of the hardlocks.

Then ATI pulled support for older cards from fglrx.

And now I've noticed that the OSS driver has actually gotten worse, and with no viable alternative, I might be forced to sell my laptop.

On the Intel front, I've yet to get my GMA950 working in Xorg, and the system is almost 2 years old now.

From now on, it's Nvidia for me.

Re:And they suck. (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321416)

File bugs.

I have several r300 and r500 systems. All work perfectly fine, with KMS and Compiz.

Maybe, you have a hardware problem.

Re:And they suck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33321446)

I doubt it's faulty hardware. The windows drivers work just fine.

As for filing bugs, I've filed my share of bugs in my lifetime and most of my gentoo bugs have either been ignored or end up in me being flamed to hell and summarily closed. When it comes to upstreams, I just get ignored.

I think I'll just buy a new laptop and save myself the bottle of aspirin.

Re:And they suck. (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321816)

Oh great - as I was reading this I was recalling that the ONE machine I have with ATI is my primary laptop. It's a bit long in the tooth being all of about 2-3 years old I think. It currently runs XP Pro and I've pondered Ubuntu on it. I read a bit further along and gee - it's the same T60 model YOU currently have. I guess that answers that question - and here I thought it was just the audio I'd have issues with

Re:Doesn't help with all the older cards. (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321724)

Tell that to my lappy, which has a 7500M card. I had to use the vesa driver, because not a single ATi driver worked for it.

Re:Doesn't help with all the older cards. (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321788)

I have an old laptop with an x200m graphics card in it. There are drivers for the x200 and the x300m, but NOTHING for the x200m on their website.

And yes, I tried the x200 driver and the .bin installer it uses COMPLETELY thrashed my xorg to the point of needing a complete reinstall.

Re:Doesn't help with all the older cards. (2, Insightful)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320688)

Did the problems you experienced with ATI cards on Linux occur with the Open Source driver, or did you (oh-so-mistakenly) believe "propietary = better" and tried the steaming pile of trash that's the Closed Source ones?

Re:Doesn't help with all the older cards. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33320874)

The KMS version of the ATI open source drivers has been a disaster on both the notebooks on which I tried it. Fedora was first to use the KMS version and it was unstable, crashing a lot and eventually corrupted the filesystem on the hard drive. Nothing helpful came out of my Bugzilla report. I wiped it and installed Ubuntu 9.10 and the notebook has been reliable since.
Then I got a good deal on a notebook which was only a year or two old but had ATI graphics which I could not refuse. I looked at Ubuntu 10.04 and saw, oh no, KMS version of the drivers. But I thought that with six months of development and bug fixing and that it's a fairly recent chipset that the driver writers might have had a chance to try it out and debug it since Fedora. But oh no, not again. Unstable, crashing screen corruption eventually ending in filesystem corruption and another unbootable system. So, once again install Ubuntu 9.10 and it's stable. I just have to tell its user to never, ever press the button to upgrade to 10.04.
The thing which really hurts ( I am a Linux advocate for 15+ years ) is the corruption of the filesystems. I have been telling anyone who would listen that Linux is more reliable. Then the ATI open source people want to put a very buggy X driver IN THE KERNEL and say that's the only way you are going to get it so the bugs can write all over kernel memory and buffers and stuff up your filesystem.

Re:Doesn't help with all the older cards. (2, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321078)

In my household, we have 3 Thinkpads with ATI graphics, all now running Ubuntu 10.04 and have not seen any of the issues you describe. At work, we also have Thinkpads with ATI graphics running Ubuntu 10.04 and have not seen these issues. I have been running a desktop with nVidia chipset and ATI graphics under Gentoo Linux and it is rock solid.

Perhaps you got some bad hardware?

T60 2007-GBU (2, Informative)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321162)

The ATI X1400 works fine in Windows (can even game for hours some weekends without trouble), though the driver support files had to be edited to make the driver installable, given that ATI no longer supports the chipset, so no Windows 7 drivers.

That's 2D + 3D, rock solid.

In Linux, even in 2D (no 3D) with KMS disabled on an unpatched radeon driver (both in F12 and F13), I get icon corruption, cursor corruption and tearing, and risky Xrandr operations. All gets much, much worse if you start to try to use external monitors with higher resolution than the internal resolution.

A hack install of OS X Leopard with zero X1400 support using the X1000 driver works better, though you have to install Mouse Locator as a hack to hide cursor tearing. But once you do that, all is well, and it's much easier than installing all the needed patches for the radeon src.rpm to get stable graphics in Linux.

Any news on if the audio is supported? (3, Informative)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320574)

Since the 5x00 series cards also included built in audio for the HDMI connection, did ATI also make drivers which support the full functionality? Or is this just video only?

That's Realtek (3, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320834)

They just include a Realtek soundchip on board that handles the HDMI audio. So you'd have to look to Realtek for OSS drivers as ATi themselves doesn't control the code.

Re:That's Realtek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33320960)

Windows drivers for the internal soundchip are made by ATI too, not only Realtek. I think to get DTS-HD MA or Dolby TrueHD bitstreaming, you need the ATI drivers. Has ATI released the specification that will allows developers to write drivers that will allow HD audio bitstreaming?

The ATI bitstreaming capabilities is what set it different from nVidia (pre-GTX 460 anyway) before. If ATI Linux drivers doesn't allow bitstreaming, I do not think ATI 5xxx card is better than nVidia G210/GT220/GT240/GTX480/GTX470/GTX465 etc.

Re:That's Realtek (4, Informative)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321004)

I don't have an HDMI audio sink (feel free to send me one, BTW!) but HDMI audio should work on just about every Radeon that has it. The driver exposes the I2C controls for the audio to the rest of the kernel, and then the pre-existing ALSA code handles the rest.

...but can it run Quake 3? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33320648)

Last time I had a laptop with ATI Radeon, they shafted me by dropping support for the proprietary drivers after a few years. Then my somewhat game-worthy GPU became a complete joke. When I lay down money for a GPU, I expect continuing performance in my games.

Never buying ATI again under any circumstances.

Re:...but can it run Quake 3? (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320732)

They stopped doing the vender-built drivers a few years ago. Now laptop graphics (both ATI and nVidia) have generic installs for all their laptop chipsets.

Re:...but can it run Quake 3? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320852)

Plus "after a few years" & Quake3 somewhat suggest it's a generation supported for a long time by open drivers anyway.

Re:...but can it run Quake 3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33321068)

It is the original Radeon mobility chip, perfectly capable of playing Q3 in Windows on max settings. In linux though, I had corrupt textures and low FPS.

Two words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33320682)

Blobity blob.

Re:Two words (1)

radeon21 (1183313) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320694)

They're open source... why would they be distributed as a binary blob?

Re:Two words (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33321300)

They're open source... why would they be distributed as a binary blob?

He could have been indicating that he'll be sticking with the binary blobs instead of using this open source driver, you unimaginitive fuckwit.

ATI & Linux: Confusing as always (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33320704)

These days, I pretty much only buy motherboards with intel graphics, simply because I don't want to have to deal with the hassle of installing NVidia's closed drivers, and for the life of me I can't figure out what I am supposed to do with an ATI card. There seems to be half a dozen open source driver projects always on the go, with no clear indication of what cards work and what cards don't. Add to that the constant complaints I see over their own closed source drivers, and that's another brand I simply won't consider. Someone tell me I'm wrong and point me to something that can clarify the situation.

Re:ATI & Linux: Confusing as always (2, Informative)

mobets (101759) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321176)

My last NVIDIA card was a 6800 (not exactly new). Up through this card, NVIDIA's Linux support has been rock solid. I'm always confused when people complain about the lack of open source drivers when the proprietary drivers are so good.

Also the install isn't hard:
Download the installer and run it.
On gentoo (great mythtv support): emerge nvidia-drivers.

Re:ATI & Linux: Confusing as always (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33321550)

Happily, you're wrong, or rather your hearsay is out of date. fglrx 10.6 is solid on my HD 4200 (integrated), if you don't mind proprietary.

Re:ATI & Linux: Confusing as always (0, Troll)

tyrione (134248) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321602)

These days, I pretty much only buy motherboards with intel graphics, simply because I don't want to have to deal with the hassle of installing NVidia's closed drivers, and for the life of me I can't figure out what I am supposed to do with an ATI card. There seems to be half a dozen open source driver projects always on the go, with no clear indication of what cards work and what cards don't. Add to that the constant complaints I see over their own closed source drivers, and that's another brand I simply won't consider. Someone tell me I'm wrong and point me to something that can clarify the situation.

So difficult. $ sudo apt-get install nvidia-....amd64.deb. The torture is unbearable.

Now for your part (5, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320730)

Go out and buy some. And then help to make the driver rock-solid, if you're capable.

We've got to reward the companies that do this.

Bruce

No thanks (0, Troll)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320798)

I prefer to buy based on pragmatism, not zealotry. I own a 5870 actually (and a 5850m), because it is a good card for the money. However I'm not about to go out and buy products because the company is "Doing something right," or whatever.

In the case of the Linux driver I will say "Go and buy a 5000 series if you feel the driver offers you a level of functionality and stability that is useful to you." If not, don't. For one it is a waste of money to buy a product just to "support" a company if that product isn't useful to you. However a bigger reason is that you shouldn't reward something unless it deserves it. If the driver makes the hardware useful to you, then ATi deserves to be rewarded with a purchase. However they don't if it is some future promise of usefulness.

ATi makes solid hardware, currently a better deal in most performance segments than nVidia's hardware for the moment, and on Windows their drivers are quite good. However you should evaluate their hardware base don your needs, your uses, and then determine if you want to buy it or not.

Re:No thanks (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33320842)

Next time a company screws you, please let us know. I want to know when to laugh.

Re:No thanks (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33321058)

Aw, how cute - another Linux fanboi lashes out from his parents' basement.

Re:No thanks (4, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320954)

I prefer to buy based on pragmatism, not zealotry.

You're reading far too much into Bruce's statement.

If buying ATI cards because of their improved performance encourages ATI to make a greater investment in open source drivers, which in turn further improves features and performance, how is this is any way NOT pragmatic?

There may be such a thing as open source zealotry, but, when they choose it, the vast majority of people choose FOSS because it's better than the alternatives.

Lastly, accusing Bruce Perens, of all people, of zealotry is not a great way to impress us with your perspicacity.

Re:No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33321088)

It's pragmatic because the ati card, as mentioned, is a better value for the money; on the other hand, your argument seems to be some form of circular logic around encouraging whichever company has made a positive move towards open source so that they can supposedly make futher moves towards open source. How is that pragmatic or even relevant to GP's priorities?
Furthermore, if I were to take off my tinfoil hat for a second, this looks a lot like a disguised attempt to crowd-source one of ATI products' most notoriously bad aspect and while I honestly have no problem with them doing so, by your twisted logic, I'd rather keep on supporting nvidia in order to encourage their tendency of putting out much more consistent drivers and support across both OS relevant to my computing needs.

Lastly, tone down the tude a little. Nobody needs to impress you and accusing GP based on bruce's name is far more an act of zealotry than anything else I've seen this week.

Strategic Pragmatism; Tactical Pragmatis; Zealotry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33321202)

If someone doesn't accept that it is strategically-pragmatic to invest in the ( work of ) only company who happens to be investing full-time coding teams into improving your lot WHILE REDUCING YOUR DEPENDENCY ON THEIR CLOSED-SOURCE FUTURE-DEVOTION, and has been doing-so FOR YEARS...

But instead invests in a company that could stonewall your future-use of their products ( if NVidia dies ( looking more & more likely, every day: see http://www.semiaccurate.com/ [semiaccurate.com] , their card won't work with kernel 2.8, unless the Nuveau, or whatever they're called, drivers work ), and they call that pragmatic?

lol

Tactics isn't strategy.

Neither is zealotry.

Strategy is LONG-term.

Tactics is SHORT-term.

Zealotry disregards evidence in BOTH time-scales: it is simple prejudice.

Captain Obvious!

nVidia may die? (2, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321410)

"... if NVidia dies..."

What SemiAccurate article indicates that nVidia may die? This one?

Nvidia's Fermi GTX480 is broken and unfixable -- Hot, slow, late and unmanufacturable [semiaccurate.com] .

Quote: "Nvidia on the other hand did not do their homework at all. In its usual 'bull in a china shop' way, SemiAccurate was told several times that the officially blessed Nvidia solution to the problem was engineering by screaming at people. Needless to say, while cathartic, it does not change chip design or the laws of physics. It doesn't make you friends either."

How deep is your vision? (4, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321436)

Thanks for the kind words. What I find in general is that those who feel this is simply a matter of doctrinal rigidity are only interested in solving today's problem, without much vision toward what their lot might be tomorrow. Working to improve your own future is hardly zealotry.

Obviously it makes sense to decrease the degree to which we must be supplicants of a hardware vendor. That's even more true when the hardware vendor is in an essentially unchallenged duopoly. A vendor is working in our interest when they help us to free ourselves from the need to go to them to fix bugs, add functionality, and support our devices through software and hardware changes. When a vendor doesn't do this, we live constantly under the threat of withdrawl of support.

Rewarding vendors who do less will make it more certain that we'll get less in the future.

This all sounds eminently pragmatic to me.

Re:No thanks (1)

notknown86 (1190215) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321052)

I think you are missing the point. If companies that do this get no reward, they will stop doing it. And there may never be a level of functionality and stability useful to you in a open source driver for that product as a result. Obviously, Bruce is not asking you to buy something that is useless to you. Just, given a two choice, reward the manufacturer who does the right thing. Hell, even if it is slightly "worse" than the alternative right now, I'd do so. But that's just me, obviously not everyone has such "lofty" ideals and forward thinking.

Re:No thanks (4, Insightful)

sabre86 (730704) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321062)

Bruce said "we've got to reward the companies that do this" not "we've got to punish the companies that don't." The former is pragmatism -- seeking to achieve and support a positive result (vendor provided open source video drivers) through reasonable means. The latter is zealotry -- seeking to punish a group through not following the "one true way".

Working vendor supported FOSS drivers are useful as the abilities to repair, improve, share and modify the drivers are all of considerable utility to the graphics card using community (even if not to one particular person in it). I do agree that the drivers should be at least servicable before anyone should buy a product. But servicable is all they need to be to be useful now.

--sabre86

Re:Now for your part (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320868)

As long as they have a competitive card for the money, I'll buy from them if it fits my needs. It's nice knowing that in about a year we'll have a solid Linux experience if you're using ATI.

Re:Now for your part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33321228)

Own 3 - plan to buy a couple more! Go AMD :)

Re:Now for your part (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321276)

Go out and buy some. And then help to make the driver rock-solid, if you're capable.

We've got to reward the companies that do this.

Bruce

That seems like a fair enough strategy and I won't debate that. I have to stick with the closed source nVidia drivers though because I think that they currently offer a better experience on Linux and I don't have the time to mess with the source code of ATI drivers at this point in my life. I'm in favour of "rewarding" ATI for this, it's just that I can't :(

Re:Now for your part (3, Interesting)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321366)

We've got to reward the companies that do this.

But how does ATI know that you bought an ATI card because of the open-source drivers?

Perhaps an alternative (and cheaper approach) is to go and download the drivers from ATI's website while using a browser that sends a user agent that is clearly identifiable as a Linux system.

Re:Now for your part (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33321844)

But how does ATI know that you bought an ATI card because of the open-source drivers?

Because of the email I will send them telling them why. The same way banks I chose not to use for this reason heard about it that way when most bank websites still couldn't be accessed from linux.

Re:Now for your part (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321552)

I try buy hardware that works. In the case of video cards on non-Xen kernels, Nvidia always works. Sure, there is the annoying issue of having to recompile the modules when updating the kernel, but they otherwise work perfectly on video cards I have in various machines dating all the way back to 1998, and brand-new models (quadro on my notebook and in some appliance PCs, GTxxx cards, etc.) and everything in between.

ATI sunsets drivers a lot quicker than nVidia.

I try to go open source where and when possible, but sometimes the big flippin' hammer isn't the right tool. Sometimes you need to choose a screwdriver instead.

Right now I am wrestling with a Highpoint RocketRAID 1740 card because I had to run a PCI card in a box. Components on the motherboard prevented the use of a PCI-X card as PCI, so I chose Highpoint based on the promise of Linux support. Well, two days later I am just starting to make headway. They advertised an open source driver but as it turns out it's open source for "glue" to a binary driver, plus the code is broken. So, I had to patch their source and compile it, and got the card enabled. Now I need to remake initrd, copy over the partition to the RAID volume and hope and pray that grub will be able to find the initrd and boot from the array, then blacklist the kernel from updating so no one updates it without very deliberate action. Fun stuff.

Were I able to fit a PCI-X card, I would have gone with LSI (or 3ware/LSI) and would have been done two days ago since their drivers are included in the kernel and work, plus their cards are true hardware RAID not RocketRAID's crappy "fakeraid"

Re:Now for your part (3, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321712)

I'm in favor of this, so let's give AMD some proper recognition. I deal a lot with AMD servers and bladeservers as well as the Intel ones. The memory architecture of recent AMD servers is four channels rather than Intel's three. This allows for configurations of memory that are in the more familiar powers of two, as well as providing 1/3 more memory bandwidth. In some cases the AMD servers offer more net memory. In addition it allows more special things, like 256GB on a two processor server, which Intel currently can't do in a retail server.

The AMD twelve-core servers open the possibility of a terabyte of RAM if you're looking for that. They considerably alter the cost-benefit analysis of Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (VDI).

AMD has done away with the multi CPU premium, so as your real world problem scales the cost of servers scales linearly rather than logarithmically - up to the point that your problem can be solved with 96 x64 cores.

The cost point now isn't about the CPU, it's about the RAM.

How much is real code? How much is blob? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33320744)

Does each blob have to be ported to each operating system?

Trust me I can appreciate uploading firmware with a driver but the point of open source is letting people redesign it and do a better job. I have purchased more than a few products that claimed to be open source only to find out later that they were blobware with skeleton code.

Re:How much is real code? How much is blob? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33320810)

Do you have the source to your CPU's microcode? ;)

Re:How much is real code? How much is blob? (4, Informative)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321020)

Radeon firmware is used to program a few special-purpose chips on the board. Up until the HD series, firmware was only needed to start up the DMA engine and get acceleration going; modern cards need a second piece of firmware to enable interrupts, for e.g. low-latency audio and vsync.

If anybody ever wanted to go out and reverse-engineer these blobs, they could, but it's really not worth the trouble since the level of functionality is so small and AMD already gives us bugfixes for the ucode when needed. That time might be better spent figuring out the patented parts of the chipset (video decoding, texture compression) which AMD isn't allowed to document for us.

Fuck yeah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33320752)

Hello Ontario!

Video card recommendations? (1)

molo (94384) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320848)

Can anyone recommend a new-ish video card (released last 3-5 years) that works well with open source 2D and 3D drivers? I'm looking to upgrade, but not sure what is out there that works well. It doesn't have to be super-fast 3D for the latest games, just something that will run google earth and quake would be cool. For 2D, it would be cool if it could do 1080p video scaling well.

Thanks for any info you can offer.
-molo

Re:Video card recommendations? (3, Informative)

Suiggy (1544213) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320898)

ATI HD5770 or nVidia GTX260 or GTX460. If you want to be able to use the latest in OpenGL 4.x and OpenCL, you'll want to go with ATI HD5770 or GTX460.

Re:Video card recommendations? (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321468)

Those are too overpowered and expensive for what he needs. Any Intel chip should be able to run Google Earth and Quake 3 and do 1080p video. And if he wanted a card instead, both AMD and nVidia have a lot cheaper cards than those that would work very well.

As AMD always said, HIRE THE BEST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33320872)

That you can get for peanuts, and root beer !! Now, more than ever,it makes sense !!

ALL HAIL AMD !!

Remember the K5 !!

Remember the Clash !!

Remember the Maine !!

Remember the Alamo !!

Remember the time I said I loved you !!

Remember this to-nite in your dreams !!

And finally, remember to remember !!

Benchmarks? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320888)

How are these drivers with 3D stuff like in games? Are they fast as NVIDIA's closed binary drivers?

Awesome. (1)

Cougar Town (1669754) | more than 4 years ago | (#33320916)

This is great news. Not long ago, ATI (AMD) was considered horrible among users. Windows drivers were full of massive bugs, and Linux was complete garbage, and on most platforms, nvidia was the way to go. I've been an nvidia user for years now (both Linux and Windows, having switched from ATI actually), and my GTX260 will continue to serve me for a while yet, but developments like this will make me seriously consider my next video card purchase, and I could see myself ending up with an AMD card as much as another nvidia card.

If nothing else, maybe with both Intel and AMD embracing open source, nvidia will end up doing it too without their binary blobs. Whether you're a fan of nvidia or AMD or whoever else, this is definitely a good thing.

Re:Awesome. (2, Informative)

macshit (157376) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321494)

Yes.

Reading through the comments, there's a lot of people who are still whining traditional anti-ATI whines, but AMD is being very smart about things, and is thinking in the long term. Nvidia will eventually follow, I'd wager, but Nvidia upper management is very stubborn and fixed in their ways, so it may take a while (in my experience, Nvidia engineering is much more enlightened in their views, but they don't set the company's policies).

OpenGL? (1)

kanto (1851816) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321006)

I do some OpenGL coding and ATI has just always seemed like it doesn't really give a damn about the specs; things may or may not work as specified and I've had new drivers break things that used to work. Last I tried it their GLSL implementation (especially linking objects) was a complete joke and probably still is. Since OpenGL is do or die for Linux 3d I'd like to know how does the Open-Source stuff fair on this front?

Thank ya Jeebus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33321014)

This is awesome. I dumped Windoze about three months ago and life just keeps getting better and better.

No "No thanks", thanks. (4, Insightful)

yacwroy (1558349) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321022)

There are many issues in the world that can best be solved by people being nothing like you.

Simply put: If the consumer doesn't reward good deeds, business (with it's legal obligation to maximize profit) won't do as many good deeds.

In this case, your pragmatism, along with that of millions of others, is partly to blame for closed source drivers are so common. You yourself probably have lower quality graphics or operating system functionality due to this.

While it's fine to be pragmatic in many circumstances, your stance that buying on principle isn't morally above buying through total pragmatism is, IMO, ultimately harmful.

Blood diamonds are an extreme example of what comes from mass pragmatism. Would you knowingly buy one it it was better value?

Re:No "No thanks", thanks. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33321748)

Simply put: If the consumer doesn't reward good deeds

What good deeds?

It's expected that a graphics vendor release drivers that are stable, feature complete, and have competitive performance. That's not a good deed. That's expected. If ATI wants the Linux market they need to produce a competitive product for Linux.

Its like saying you should go out and buy shitty tires for your car to encourage the manufacture to produce better tires... what????!!!

I went with NVidia because their drivers are stable, feature complete, and have great performance. The down side? It's closed source.

Boo hoo. Does it matter if we also run things like Flash, Opera, Wine*, ndiswrapper*, UT2004, ..., etc, etc. I can't even begin to count how often I see ATI fan boys are using ATI "because its open" but don't have any problem with the other closed software they run. Ok... they might complain about flash performance... but they still run it (can't live without Hulu and Youtube!!!).

Troll me down, but lots of people seem to be finding room for a few exceptions to the open only rule.

I commend ATI on their recent progress. It's closer to my wallet, but they still have a cap to close.

*Yes, these are open source, but they practically only exists to run closed source software.

Has to mean better drivers! (2, Informative)

Thaidog (235587) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321618)

But could they have been any worse? I always loved the way I hacked around for weeks trying to get 3D working after the drivers finally installed correctly and were apparently working correctly... all but 3D... and then to find out on some obscure link on google that the driver did not support it... but no mention to be found on ATI's site. But now that they are opensource these things can change! (Or at least be fscking documented correctly)

What about OpenCL / FireStream programming? (1)

TeXMaster (593524) | more than 4 years ago | (#33321800)

At work we have at least five different computers with nvidia cards running the closed-source drivers because that's the only way we can fully exploit the hardware for GPGPU. (nouveau does not support CUDA nor OpenCL yet). Do these open source drivers have support for the OpenCL/FireStream coding?
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