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AMD Ports Open-Source Linux GPU Driver To Windows

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the good-place-for-them dept.

AMD 107

An anonymous reader writes "An AMD engineer has inadvertently revealed that their Windows Embedded graphics driver is ported from the open-source Linux driver. AMD China last year began porting the open-source Radeon Linux kernel driver to Windows Embedded Compact 7, rather than using their Windows Catalyst driver. The resulting WEC7 driver for Radeon GPUs is proprietary, but that's allowed per the MIT license that the ATI-AMD Linux driver code is provided under."

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107 comments

... and the problem is? (1, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706344)

The resulting WEC7 driver for Radeon GPUs is proprietary, but that's allowed per the MIT license that the ATI-AMD Linux driver code is provided under."

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706386)

Nothing says there's a problem. It's just an interesting little tidbit.

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706436)

Nothing says there's a problem. It's just an interesting little tidbit.

Rather like saying "There will be weather today."

Re:... and the problem is? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37706468)

I just gave a shout upstairs to confirm this. Mom says there is indeed weather out there. Interesting....

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

md65536 (670240) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706474)

Rather like saying "There will be weather today."

Rather like saying "There will be interesting weather today."
And it's interesting for some to read about, because it's interesting.

Re:... and the problem is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37707146)

Depends who it is that says it.
If the average person says that there will be interesting weather it is nothing to worry about, but then again they are not likely to say it.
If it comes from a Brit then you'd better look it up because interesting could mean anything from "Three tornados are going to merge in my front yard, I find that pretty interesting but I am not going to stick around and look at it." to "Oh God, we are all going to die."

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706498)

Nothing says there's a problem. It's just an interesting little tidbit.

Rather like saying "There will be weather today."

But, there will be weather today !

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

davewoods (2450314) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706760)

Nothing says there's a problem. It's just an interesting little tidbit.

Rather like saying "There will be weather today."

But, there will be weather today !

Indeed, at least twice... Sources say.[Citation needed]

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37707492)

I'm not so sure. When I was in San Diego a lot of transplants from the east coast would say "it's nice here, but I miss having weather".

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706606)

Nothing says there's a problem. It's just an interesting little tidbit.

Rather like saying "There will be weather today."

See if they'd used GPLv3 it would be. "There will be weather today...and I know this because....and you can work it out for yourself like so">

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706794)

Not really. You're assuming the drivers were obviously (and always) ports from Linux.

It's also an interesting inversion - usually drivers get mauled from Windows into Linux, and not the other way around.

That would be more like saying "There will be weather today on the moon."

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706964)

Or it'd be like if the clouds spelled out a forecast for what Meteorologists would be doing around the country.

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706836)

Rather like saying "There will be weather today."

No, it's like saying that it will be partly cloudy with a 20% chance of rain with a high of 70 degrees, and then you dismissing that by saying "Well of course there's some kind of weather today."

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

MrNthDegree (2429298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37713988)

Too right, this indicates that there must be a certain quality to the free software driver that the original Windows driver lacks.

I'm guessing it's a lack of bloat, after all, how many people will need full DirectX support on an embedded machine? But all the free testing on their code as it's developed in Linux should also be a good reason.

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

JCCyC (179760) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715376)

Yeah, like burglars think widespread use of faulty locks is not a problem. Just an interesting little tidbit.

Re:... and the problem is? (4, Interesting)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706402)

The resulting WEC7 driver for Radeon GPUs is proprietary, but that's allowed per the MIT license that the ATI-AMD Linux driver code is provided under."

Some people don't consider something "Free" until it is free in perpetuity. I don't fully agree with people like this, but I see their point, and can acknowledge their definition.

On the other hand, this is pretty awesome, and probably makes a lot of sense. Graphics drivers for Windows are known to carry heavy optimization and code-sensing techniques in order to provide the best performance possible for Arbitrary Game Choice(tm). The Linux driver is however a good all-around driver without all this special pathing. So, it should be easier to port.

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37707484)

Why isn't it free in perpetuity? Does "in perpetuity" mean all possible branches and ports?

Actually that's part of the goal of MIT licenses and others, to not be so uptight as a GNU license would. FSF may feel that any future closed branch taints the entire project with sin but not everyone feels this way or wants their software to be treated that way. Open source could become marginalized if it goes back to being only for politicized geeks, but gets a big boost if others see that open source can be good enough for commercial use and not just hobbyists.

Re:... and the problem is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37707604)

What about a graphics driver requires you to be able to withhold source code in order to "be good enough for commercial use and not just hobbyists."?
How does using a non-copyleft license further that goal?
I'm not one of the people who insist that it must be copyleft, but I see no conflict between copyleft and "commerical use".

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 2 years ago | (#37708050)

Why isn't it free in perpetuity? Does "in perpetuity" mean all possible branches and ports?

If you are using my code I don't see why I can't expect it so. Replace "my" with "our" and "i" with "we" and you start to get a clearer picture.

BSD is mostly attractive for business which don't need contribution can afford competition, and want to keep the door open to move to closed source eventually.

GPL is attractive for independent, often non-profit projects that want contributions more than money, are really hurt by competition and don't have plans to eventually close the source code.

While the MIT/BSD license may not seem restrictive to you as an end user or end user product maker, surely you can understand why *contributors* may be suspicious and thrusting of contributing to BSD licensed projects.

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37708662)

...surely you can understand why *contributors* may be suspicious and thrusting of contributing to BSD licensed projects.

Thrusting contributors? God, as if the climate weren't sexist enough. (*TEASING!*)

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#37711144)

BSD is most attractive for companies who want to use the software others created and make it closed source

GPL is attractive for everyone unless they want to sell the actual software and not make money from services

RedHat do not sell software, so they have no problem with GPL, Apple do so a large part of OSX is a closely guarded secret ...

Most of apple's money comes from hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37712314)

So (as so many Apple Fanbois continually tell me), Apple ISN'T a software company. They sell hardware.

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715382)

The RMS view of open/free carried more weight when it was much harder to mirror. We used to order CDs of things in the mail, and even used the Internet to do so. The time to download things was actually longer in some cases than having the code shipped physically. Drive storage was also puny. Games and professional applications that needed a CD to load only cached certain files to the hard drive.

Now having the old copies online in several places and kept on thousands of enthusiasts' home systems (or laptop, tablet, phone, pocket-sized external hard drive, thumb-sized USB flash drive, or thumbnail sized flash card of some sort) protects to a much greater extent against closing all available copies and someone missing out because they didn't mirror in time.

Re:... and the problem is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37711248)

There's no such thing as "free in perpetuity".

If something is not subject to copyright -or patents- then it's *public domain*. MIT type licenses are the closest to public domain, but still apply a tiny restriction. The GPL impose more restrictions that prevent you from running with the code, and thus are closer to the "free *software*" ideal (note how Richard Stallman always speaks of free software, not free people).

Anyhow, copyrights expire eventually (about 70 years after publication), all software becomes public domain and so becomes less "free".

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 2 years ago | (#37711616)

ha I had never thought of this - so in 70 years time all OSS will be usable in closed products. No doubt software will have advanced significantly in my lifetime, but I also expect a lot of OSS software being written now to be still in use (and usable) in 70 years.

Re:... and the problem is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37715134)

Nonsense. Thanks to Disney, no works that are not now public domain will ever pass into the public domain except by an act of the copyright holder.
In violation of the Constitution, the USA has perpetual copyright.

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706414)

Your point being? The license is irrelevant. AMD, as the presumed owner of the Radeon source, could make the Radeon GPU driver for Windows Embedded closed source even if it was released GPL.

Re:... and the problem is? (4, Informative)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706466)

Your point being? The license is irrelevant. AMD, as the presumed owner of the Radeon source, could make the Radeon GPU driver for Windows Embedded closed source even if it was released GPL.

Yes, BUT not with any derivative code included. They would need to get a release from all the other contributors that were not working for hire for AMD. Namely, if I write an extra chapter to The Da'Vinci Code, and the original writer could totally change the license that the original Da'Vinci Code was released under, but could not include my extra chapter without my permission. (GPL makes this question simple, since you're already providing the source, you are known to be able to include any derivative works, since they also must be GPL.)

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37709816)

If you wrote a single chapter of the DaVinci code, Dan Brown would do whatever he wanted, and sue you to death over it - and win because he's Dan Brown and you're not.

Get real.

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 2 years ago | (#37711744)

He still wouldn't be legally entitled to use your work.

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

AlterEager (1803124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37711992)

He still wouldn't be legally entitled to use your work.

And neither would you.

He would still be entitled to his own work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37712436)

he just wouldn't be legally entitled to Dan Brown's work.
Dan Brown WOULD NOT get rights to Ginger's work in the combined product.

Re:... and the problem is? (3, Informative)

dryeo (100693) | more than 2 years ago | (#37709826)

Or they can demand that all copyright is signed over to them so even though GPL they could fork a version with a different license. Some projects already do this, eg x264 which is now selling non-GPLed versions.
See the bottom of http://www.videolan.org/developers/x264.html [videolan.org]

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37711014)

Note, that I said: "They would need to get a release from all the other contributors that were not working for hire for AMD." Having copyright assignments also works.

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

Plombo (1914028) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706478)

They don't own the copyright to all of the open source Radeon code. Some of it was done by community developers or developers for Red Hat and VMware.

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#37710978)

Your point being? The license is irrelevant. AMD, as the presumed owner of the Radeon source, could make the Radeon GPU driver for Windows Embedded closed source even if it was released GPL.

That would be impractical. It would not include publicly contributed bug fixes for one thing, which would all have to be done over. Missing a few of course, and it degenerates from there.

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706858)

The problem is that AMD's open source Linux drivers have very poor power management compared to their proprietary drivers, making them unsuitable for embedded use. Hopefully, this means they'll work on improving that aspect of them, though.

Re:... and the problem is? (3, Insightful)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 2 years ago | (#37707126)

And this is where people start wishing the code were GPL instead of MIT.

If the original driver were published with a copyleft license, those power management improvements would have to be shared when the drivers are released. With MIT, you can only hope that AMD will see the benefit of sharing their improvements.

You can argue about what freedom means all you want, but it's hard to argue that having almost guaranteed access to improvements wouldn't be good for the users of the Linux driver.

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37707452)

True. But to be fair to AMD, they're developing the drivers themselves for the main part, the open as well as the proprietary ones. Unfortunately, that also means the code needs to pass their legal department to make sure nothing interesting goes public.

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37712258)

All you're saying is in theory true, except AMD has a ton of internal code that does this. If they were forced to deal with the GPL by external code they'd probably not use it at all, just a stripped down version of catalyst or the AMD-written parts of the Linux driver or a combination thereof.

It's not as simply as just seeing the benefit, actually getting it through the legal clearing process takes a lot of time and resources. And they don't even always say yes, there's a lot of headaches and holdups there. I doubt they'd impose the same conditions on their WEC7 driver if they could avoid it - and they can.

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

jddimarco (1754954) | more than 2 years ago | (#37717384)

More likely, AMD would note the GPL and decide not to use the code at all. The MIT license is more suitable than the GPL for code you want broadly adopted, for exactly this sort of reason. And the benefits are real: for example, closed-source and open-source stuff can more easily interoperate if they can use the same code base. No luck, though, if the proposed code base is GPLed. A few years ago, Richard Stallman gave a talk in Toronto during which he claimed the GPL was motivated by his desire to make code as broadly adopted as possible. I pointed out this issue during the Q&A that followed the talk. Unfortunately I didn't get an answer out of him (he walked out of the room instead) but my guess is that he hopes to achieve broad adoption of code through discouraging people from writing closed-source stuff in the first place. But I don't think its working: after several decades of the GPL, closed-source is still alive and well.

Re:... and the problem is? (2)

ludwigf (1208730) | more than 2 years ago | (#37707956)

The resulting WEC7 driver for Radeon GPUs is proprietary, but that's allowed per the MIT license that the ATI-AMD Linux driver code is provided under."

I wonder what the source of the article is, that the driver will be proprietary.

I wonder if taking the code written by the community, port it to windows embedded and add some proprietary sauce to it was also part of the original plan. So maybe AMD sees Linux community as a form of cheap labor?

Nope. This is a fairly recent project, conceived and started years after we got back into supporting open source graphics drivers, and the request was for a driver that could be released in source code form.

Source [phoronix.com]

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

Tomato42 (2416694) | more than 2 years ago | (#37711424)

I wonder what the source of the article is, that the driver will be proprietary.

IFAICR, Windows Driver Development Kit License requires a proprietary licence (or at least it did in the past)...

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 2 years ago | (#37710598)

What I don't get is why? Just because it's on windows doesn't mean they have to close source it and make it difficult for devs to debug the damn thing. That's what got them into the mess they're in in the first place, drivers so crappy they had to let others make them.

I feel sorry for all the windows users that can do nothing about it because ATI/AMD have shown time over that they're absolutely shit at software drivers.

Re:... and the problem is? (2)

AlterEager (1803124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37712014)

I feel sorry for all the windows users that can do nothing about it because ATI/AMD have shown time over that they're absolutely shit at software drivers.

And so we come full circle, because this is exactly why the GPL exists.

Everyone gets it wrong - the GPL isn't there to stop people "stealing your code" - it exists to make it possible for users to fix problems in the code.

Go read about RMS and the buggy printer driver.

Re:... and the problem is? (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 2 years ago | (#37712522)

No problem for me. Maybe, those who wrote the code and see other guys get money from it, putting it into a proprietary license, and in the future possibly prevent improvements on the free code base using patents, maybe those have a problem and wish they used the gpl v.2 or later. But I'm too pessimist, for now let's hope the free code stays free and let other people do what they want with it.

progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37706376)

Are we making it?

WOW, LOL, WUT? (0, Troll)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706382)

so it's official, the FOSS drivers are better than the proprietary drivers? (more likely it's that the proprietary drivers are just worse than the FOSS drivers...)

Re:WOW, LOL, WUT? (3, Informative)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706416)

so it's official, the FOSS drivers are better than the proprietary drivers? (more likely it's that the proprietary drivers are just worse than the FOSS drivers...)

I noted above, but I'll note it again. The Windows driver is known to have a lot of special paths for all the various cool games that people want to run as fast as possible. For Windows Embedded, they want a good all-around driver that is simple to port. This would be the Linux driver, as that's exactly what it is written to be.

Re:WOW, LOL, WUT? (5, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706968)

I noted above, but I'll note it again. The Windows driver is known to have a lot of special paths for all the various cool games that people want to run as fast as possible. For Windows Embedded, they want a good all-around driver that is simple to port. This would be the Linux driver, as that's exactly what it is written to be.

I HATE Microsoft Marketing.

There is no such thing as Windows Embedded. There is Windows Embedded Compact 7, which is just WinCE 7. There is Windows Embedded Standard 7, which is a componentized version of Windows 7. Then there's Automotive and Enterprise and other crap.

The Windows Embedded Compact 7 driver is the one under question here, and I can understand why as the graphics stack on CE is quite a bit different from desktop x86 Windows. Plus, it has to be multi-arch - WEC7 runs on ARM, MIPS and x86 platforms, so the open-source driver would be more portable.

And yes, it's different enough to be problematic. Things like DirectX are different under CE. Even Windows Mobile had a different DirectX stack. The WinCE one originates from CE 2.0, while the Mobile version dervices from XP. Along the way the definitions and capability bits have changed, a bit can be missing on one implementation or the other.

The last time I did a simple inquiry via DirectDraw and had effectively two different programs because the capability bits were not very common between the two. I'd imagine the 3D stuff would be equally messy.

Re:WOW, LOL, WUT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37709848)

I HATE Microsoft Marketing.

That's perfectly normal. We developers at Microsoft also hate Microsoft marketing - they're quick to promise, and then we look like idiots when we don't deliver.

I'm truly sorry.

Re:WOW, LOL, WUT? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706424)

Probably not, I have a feeling that this might have more to do with AMD not wanting to maintain drivers forever. Previously they would just be dropped, but if there's an opensource driver, people could maintain a Win XP driver for a particular card indefinitely, same goes for video cards that will eventually not be supported by new versions of Windows due to a lack of drivers.

Re:WOW, LOL, WUT? (1)

TopSpin (753) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706880)

so it's official, the FOSS drivers are better than the proprietary drivers?

Probably not

Not so fast. The answer depends on your definition of `better.' If by `better' one means `survives vendor indifference' (Catalyst wasn't cutting it, for some reason,) then yes, the FOSS driver is indeed better.

That is, in fact, what appears to have happened here; the hardware had to work, so they found a way. The driver they came up with is considerably better than no driver at all.

This whole thing is rather telling. Linux is doing rather well in embedded systems. So well that drivers are now being ported from Linux to Windows. The best embedded GPU drivers (powervr, mali, tegra) are Linux, or at least not Windows. The software for certain advanced features available from ARM vendors (codecs, hardware crypto, etc.) have Linux as their reference implementation. This is all due to the success of Linux on Android, a plethora of set-tops, music players, cameras and other embedded systems.

Re:WOW, LOL, WUT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37706432)

Or they use third-party components that cannot be ported to WEC7. Or it's less of a hassle to port the open-source drivers than to poke the third party into porting them.

Re:WOW, LOL, WUT? (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706584)

or Microsoft was once again successful in convoluting the desktop OS software development requirements such that it was easier to port a Linux driver to WinCE than to port a "Windows" driver to WinCE. I've heard over and over during the years that it's easier to rewrite than port anything written in Microsoft dev API's to another platform. That includes that embedded thing they also called Windows.

LoB

Re:WOW, LOL, WUT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37706838)

What? Desktop OS? Huh? Windows CE, a non-desktop OS has been labeled as such since the beginning.

I've heard over and over during the years that it's easier to rewrite than port anything written in Microsoft dev API's to another platform. That includes that embedded thing they also called Windows.

I'd rather not form my opinion on hearsay. But hey, then again, I'm not an anti-ms troll.

Here is what the engineer said

I am developing WEC7 graphics driver on evergreen chipset. Alex guide me on this. And right now I move to S3 part work. I have ported radeon_suspend_kms() and radeon_resume_kms() functions from linux to CE.

TWO FUNCTIONS. TWO ! Did you hear that?? That could be like 50 lines of code!!!!!!!!!! Amazing.

Re:WOW, LOL, WUT? (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#37709676)

OMG, a title of "AMD Ports Open-Source Linux GPU Driver to Windows" from 2 functions? That's pathetic. They must be really hard up for anti-MS posts if that really is what it's about.

LoB

Re:WOW, LOL, WUT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37706612)

This whole topic helps think about "Free" and "Open Source". "Free" implies "Open Source", as I understand it, but "Open Source" does not imply "Free". I don't know all the details, but at least according to the original post, the Compact Windows driver was derived from BSD-licensed "OSS" but not from GPL-licensed "FOSS".

Re:WOW, LOL, WUT? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706724)

"Free Software" and "Open Source" are just ideologies. In general, most Free licenses are considered Open Source and vice-versa.

The MIT license, under which the driver is licensed (not BSD) is considered both Free by the FSF and Open Source by the OSI.

Re:WOW, LOL, WUT? (3, Informative)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706682)

Nope, not official at all. As an AMD Linux user, I can safely say that as bad as their proprietary blob is, it's still way better than the FOSS ones for actually playing games.

Re:WOW, LOL, WUT? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706828)

As an AMD Linux user, I can safely say that as bad as their proprietary blob is, it's still way better than the FOSS ones for actually playing games.

I have no idea about that, because the only games I play in Linux doesn't require modern 3D drivers.

But, to get graphics acceleration in VMware virtual machines, the community radeon driver won't do. The catalyst one works.

Re:WOW, LOL, WUT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37707062)

Yep and the crappy nVidia driver is better than anything from AMD/ATI.

I try AMD/ATI every few years but always regret it.

Re:WOW, LOL, WUT? (1)

chammy (1096007) | more than 2 years ago | (#37707636)

The nvidia drivers are useless without xrandr support. Fglrx may be a mess but at least it doesn't reimplement standards on the linux desktop.

Re:WOW, LOL, WUT? (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 2 years ago | (#37708250)

In the 7ish years I've been using the nvidia binary driver, I've *never* knowingly been roadblocked by some program saying, "Sorry, this won't work because xrandr doesn't exist."

Yes, that's only one man's anecdote, but it's good enough for me.

Re:WOW, LOL, WUT? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706924)

You repeat yourself. Better/worse are not absolutes. You can have:

1. Item A is better than Item B
2. Item B is worse than Item A
3. Item C is better than Item B
4. Item D is better than A, B, and C
5. Item D is crap.

I don't get it (1)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706388)

Why would anyone care? How is this front page news?

Re:I don't get it (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706446)

Actually, when you think of it, it's rather inspired. AMD does eventually drop support for old cards after a period, providing an opensource option allows for programmers to maintain support indefinitely. Plus, I'm guessing that this will increase the number of programmers interested in working on the drivers.

Re:I don't get it (3, Insightful)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706482)

Actually, when you think of it, it's rather inspired. AMD does eventually drop support for old cards after a period, providing an opensource option allows for programmers to maintain support indefinitely. Plus, I'm guessing that this will increase the number of programmers interested in working on the drivers.

Except the WE7 driver won't be open source, so... no.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37708170)

And Mesa has dropped support for anything older than either the r100 or r200 radeons, older than either the i915 or i830 (via the i915 driver), so your statement doesn't really stand in the modern context.

The lost drivers include the tdfx(3dfx), r128/mach64 ati stuff, the s3 3d driver, any remaining via support and probably another 3-5 drivers I'm forgetting.

Point being that especially in the 'modern' linux era obsolete hardware is just as unsupported as in windows, and is just as unlikely to stay supported into the future due to the desire to alter existing frameworks rather than do the smart thing and provide new or extended ones as opportunities exist.

If you haven't seen this yet, watch for Mesa 7.12 or 7.13 when the support is dropped from a relase. It's already been removed from the mesa git respository.

- A very unhappy linux/mesa user.

Re:I don't get it (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 2 years ago | (#37709408)

So grab the code you want from the last release of Mesa and port it yourself! That's the real difference here: if you lose support on Windows, your screwed. On Linux, with open source drivers, you have a shot. It might be a fairly long shot involving porting, but it /can/ be done!

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37710958)

That assumes that everyone who uses Linux or BSD is either a programmer, or otherwise capable of porting/compiling everything. A big assumption to make. I use Linux, but the last thing I ever touch is source code - I don't even bother downloading Dev packages. The most I'm willing to do is use Synaptics, yumm, or something of that type, but if I'm going to be hit by a gazillion dependencies, just won't bother.

There are a lot of OSs that I'd have been happy to try, such as Minix, but the mere non-existance of network drivers (the most important one, imo) has been enough to keep me from installing it on my laptop

SO PAY someone for their time to port it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37712766)

Go pop along and find how well an r100 will work under Win7. Go pop along and ask somoene to port the driver for you.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Czech Blue Bear (1897556) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706658)

Well, it is not that uninteresting ;-)

Primarily, it shows that the free drivers made by mostly unpaid people are so good that even the producer of the hardware uses them rather than their own code - i.e. that the work done by the community is REALLY GOOD! :-)

Secondly, it says something about what a management of a large company *really* thinks about the value of intellectual property. Did they take the code for free because they could? Yep. Did they offer anything back? Not necessarily money, but what about saying "really good work guys, we will use it as well"? Nope. Why bother, it is free, isn't it?

We should remember this when someone from the large business starts babbling about "appropriate award for our large investments and the hard work of our engineers" when explaining why we all have to pay again and more for their crappy software.

Re:I don't get it (2)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706834)

Did they take the code for free because they could? Yep. Did they offer anything back?

Umm, actually, AMD released the original open source driver and has contributed a lot to its development. So it's *mostly* paid people from the same company that makes the proprietary driver. You'll be hard pressed to find any of the Radeon open source devs complain too much about AMD on this, as they have really helped improve the state of AMD/ATI graphics support on Linux...

Re:I don't get it (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706840)

Primarily, it shows that the free drivers made by mostly unpaid people are so good that even the producer of the hardware uses them rather than their own code

Most people working on the Radeon driver are paid, as far as I know, even if not all by AMD.

Did they take the code for free because they could? Yep. Did they offer anything back? Not necessarily money, but what about saying "really good work guys, we will use it as well"? Nope. Why bother, it is free, isn't it?

Not true. AMD has offered a bunch of specs which were invaluable for the development of the drivers and contributes code too.
Not to mention their contributions to a bunch of other open source projects: http://developer.amd.com/zones/opensource/pages/default.aspx [amd.com]

While not perfect, they're better than most other companies, which don't contribute anything at all.

We should remember this when someone from the large business starts babbling about "appropriate award for our large investments and the hard work of our engineers" when explaining why we all have to pay again and more for their crappy software.

When did AMD start selling software? I paid them for hardware.

Re:I don't get it (1)

hebertrich (472331) | more than 2 years ago | (#37707184)

There are two different kinds of company : those that add value and those that don't
Yes there are miscreants and low lifes that rip off the code turn around and try to sell it with no added value.
They do exist and they are scum.
There's companies that try to do things differently : ie make hardware , adapt the software to their equipment then release
the code back to the users and from then on community has all the options opened to hack the software to suit their needs if they want or simply keep using the official software releases.The options are opened.It also has an added advantage : people like to tinker with their equipment and their software , if you get a piece of equipment out that's offering both , people will want in.
Are all companies alike ? no . Some corporations and tech startups are really getting in it.Those will succeed in open source implementations but
those that never do anything and dont give something substantial back will fail and fade out replaced by those who do.To have open hardware and software sure is one way to get the die hard hackers to lift an eyebrow when they see the equipment.

 

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37711086)

What is more surprising is that FOSS drivers, which were probably not fine tuned to the hardware specs but rather more generic, was adopted by the AMD developers in Suzhou, instead of fine-tuning any drivers for the GPU. Sounds more like the Suzhou engineers took the quick & easy way out, rather than tweak the software to take advantage of any special features/functions of the GPU.

Re:I don't get it (0)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37706896)

it will be interesting for all the "year of the linux desktop" morons as they would consider it a salvo into the hull of the rusty old microsoft juggernaut.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 2 years ago | (#37708350)

the rusty old microsoft juggernaut.

It might be old, it might be rusty, but it makes PILES UPON PILES OF CASH every single day.

You may or may not be a holy University student who is beyond the mundane, but those of us who live in the real world are mightily impressed and more than a bit envious. (Even if we've used Linux for 10 years.)

Re:I don't get it (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37710370)

the nazis made piles and piles of cash. you gunna envy them too?

i'm not a "year of the linux desktop" moron, just so you know

i do hate capitalism though. the idea of rich, lazy investors getting richer just irks me. i like the idea of non-profit companies (basically the same as corporations except there is no ownership), which is sort of like a cooperative where the purpose of the company is make & sell its wares and support its workers and community.

i may not live in your world, but i don't envy anything about the business practices of microsoft - any company that relies on coercion to make money (no matter how much) isn't really selling a viable product. microsoft's business practices are along the lines of me pissing in a glass, forcing you to drink it, taking your money and then proclaiming to the world that you liked the taste of my piss.

Re:I don't get it (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 2 years ago | (#37715546)

You're free to form a corporation with equal shares for all employees in the US. You're also free to have a partnership, but having people added to and removed from a partnership is much more difficult legally than requiring that employees leaving a corporation sell their shares back.

Now it works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37706400)

At least now they got a working driver, even if they do seem a bit lazy :-)

In other words... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37706850)

2011 will be the year for Linux (graphic drivers) on the desktop!

Does it work with Gnome Shell now? (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 2 years ago | (#37707892)

I stopped using Gnome Shell because the open source driver overheats my system and catalyst wasn't compatible. Does this move implicates that the open source radeon driver doesn't suck anymore?

Re:Does it work with Gnome Shell now? (1)

gerddie (173963) | more than 2 years ago | (#37708424)

For the OSS driver you should have a look at this page. [overclock.net] Normally, my HD4850 would run a ~75 degree C, with the "low" profile the temperature dropped to 40 degree C and all 2D stuff still worked fine.

Find a way to support this! (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37708740)

We *want* AMD to be making money off of the linux driver to keep them interested. If they depend on it for a commercial product they're going to keep pouring resources into it. As it is I can't even get my LCD panel to show a picture in the right spot (it's shifted up and left on two radeon cards, perfect on nVidia/nouveau). It needs more engineering resources, and this Windows blob might just be the enticement they need.

I realize copyright law is going to be a problem to navigate around, but we should really find a way to make this work, not complain about perceived injustices.

Re:Find a way to support this! (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#37711174)

We "want" AMD to be making money of the *hardware*, and realising writing a decent OpenSource driver is a good way of selling to people who use Linux ...

The Driver is not there to make money it is there so that people will buy the hardware....the best graphics cars is subjective, one that works well is not ...

"Ported the driver" should read "copied two funcs" (2)

arglebargle_xiv (2212710) | more than 2 years ago | (#37710426)

They didn't "port the driver", they copied two functions, radeon_suspend_kms() and radeon_resume_kms() across:

"I have ported radeon_suspend_kms() and radeon_resume_kms() functions from linux to CE. Actually I have validated that the evergreen_suspend() and evergreen_resume() work already on CE. But when the resume work is done and the screen is shown up, I found the 3D engine works wrong."

Since these two could well be little more than mov %radeon_register, $magic_value, the entire "ported driver" could consist of little more than a dozen bytes of code. Even SCO's lawsuit was built around more evidence of copying than this...

Re:"Ported the driver" should read "copied two fun (1)

AlterEager (1803124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37712074)

They didn't "port the driver", they copied two functions, radeon_suspend_kms() and radeon_resume_kms() across:

"I have ported radeon_suspend_kms() and radeon_resume_kms() functions from linux to CE. Actually I have validated that the evergreen_suspend() and evergreen_resume() work already on CE. But when the resume work is done and the screen is shown up, I found the 3D engine works wrong."

Since these two could well be little more than mov %radeon_register, $magic_value, the entire "ported driver" could consist of little more than a dozen bytes of code. Even SCO's lawsuit was built around more evidence of copying than this...

Well, they're not huge, but they're a bit bigger than that - radeon_suspend_kms is 67 lines, radeon_resume_kms is 38 lines. http://lxr.free-electrons.com/source/drivers/gpu/drm/radeon/radeon_device.c [free-electrons.com]

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