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XBMC Developers Criticize AMD's Linux Driver

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the pss-there's-a-conspiracy dept.

AMD 212

An anonymous reader writes "It's not only the NVIDIA Linux driver that has been publicly slammed over lacking support; the AMD Catalyst driver is now facing scrutiny from developers of the XBMC media and entertainment software. The developers aren't happy with AMD due to not properly supporting video acceleration under Linux. The AMD Linux driver is even lacking support for MPEG2 video acceleration and newer levels of H.264. AMD reportedly has the support coded, but they're refusing to turn it on in their public Linux driver."

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Oh No (-1, Troll)

sexconker (1179573) | about 2 years ago | (#40413369)

Who cares?
There are plenty of versions of their drivers that include support, available for plenty of operating systems.

Re:Oh No (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40413421)

Yeah, only losers have choices.

Re:Oh No (5, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about 2 years ago | (#40413839)

Yeah, only losers have choices.

Yes; seems like I'm a bloody "lucky" winner. I bought a reasonably top end AMD card specifically because they promised open source support. Of course it turns out that only the proprietary driver works properly. Fine "support is coming; they do the right thing and give over the documentation; install it for now and to free later; I don't mind". Except that because it's stupid proprietary code it doesn't get automatically distributed by my distro vendor (today that's Ubuntu; who knows tomorrow). Every time I get an X-org update it breaks.

I really don't care about the high speed graphics most of the time. The free driver will be fine. Just make sure they have the specs so that the colours can be made to come out right on decent monitors and I will buy your stuff. AMD; you almost have our goodwill; You've already made the investment; Just go that last few inches; get it finished and make sure you fully cooperate with the developers. We will pay extra for your stuff. We will be glad to never see NVIDIA again. You will get better integration to Android. This will be worth it.

Re:Oh No (4, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | about 2 years ago | (#40413865)

Not to be too much of a shill, but this is one area Intel seems to always be better.
Their Gfx performance may not be up to the other two, but their support is better.
Maybe Intel should takeover nVidia :-) *

* when pigs fly I assume

Re:Oh No (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40413955)

> whois gawk date unzip strip find touch finger mount join nice man top fsck grep eject more yes exit umount sleep dump

you could probably add 'wall', and 'rm top' in there somewhere ;)

Re:Oh No (4, Informative)

inhuman_4 (1294516) | about 2 years ago | (#40414211)

Mod parent up. I have computers with graphics cards from each. An older NVidia, a 5800 Radeon, and an Intel 3000. The intel open source (released by intel) kick ass. No kernel upgrade problems, no video rendering problems, no full screen problems, no multi-monitor problem. They don't include any extra BS software to make their stuff work.

If you don't need gaming graphics Intel is the place to be in terms of linux support. I know what my next purchase is going to be. I just wish Intel would expand their market and try to compete on the high end. I would love to see chipzilla enter this fight with thier opensource record.

Re:Oh No (3, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | about 2 years ago | (#40414277)

They tried (larabee IIRC) and failed. Intel == low-end graphics, that is just the way it is.
I wish it were different, but such is the state of affairs. (They are getting better, but really only maintaining the gab, not closing it).

Re:Oh No (2)

SealBeater (143912) | about 2 years ago | (#40414313)

This statement gets my complete support. Been using Intel i915 for XBMC for at least 3 years and it's been a rock solid experience. I had some initial trouble when the kernel mode setting was introduced (before you needed an app to write to the video bios so you could get the 1920x1080 resolution) but extremely minor and long past, I have to agree, I'll be looking for Intel net time I put together a HTPC.

Actually I care... (4, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40413465)

Just this past week I rebuilt my HTPC going from Boxee (which orphaned its support of Linux) and went to XBMC. I have personal knowledge of the dumb problems with the Catalyst driver.

XBMC is a project whose users take a lot of advantage of old hardware. The other part are dealing with small form factor hardware. A lot of it does happen to be proprietary garbage. In my case I purchased a Dell Zino [wikipedia.org] several years ago for the task. There isn't much choice about for these items, and rolling you own at this size is often clunky (though a lot more feasible now than 3 or so years ago). You're going to find a lot of Nvidia (no fucking way) and AMD.

So you have one group of people that are re purposing and one group with specialty hardware. Not a lot of hardware choice in either, really.

So, yeah, this is a big deal. There is no real reason from my point of view not to provide a good driver for my platform of choice.

Re:Actually I care... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40413509)

The reason is that Linturds cost way more in support than they provide revenue.

Re:Actually I care... (4, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40413549)

This is a dumbass troll, but I have to bite this one... how the hell do you figure this true?

We're generally not the people calling support for help, we're the ones finding the answer and sending it in for free.

Now go away and get an push-up pop.

Re:Actually I care... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40414249)

Whow really?

So instead of having thousands and thousands of people developing something together - because it's just too much for one man or even a small team - you have written EVERYTHING yourself, including driver support for hardware who's details you will never get and never bitched about it?

+10 superman for you my friend.

Re:Actually I care... (3, Insightful)

Verunks (1000826) | about 2 years ago | (#40414525)

unfortunately the truth is that amd/ati isn't capable of making decent drivers on both windows and linux, their cards seems to be always better than nvidia in terms of price and performance but in reality they rarely works flawlessy, either the driver crashes or the game glitches and you have to wait for some hotfix, there was also a news here on slashdot just a few weeks ago that the windows amd drivers disable dep/aslr otherwise you get a bsod

Re:Actually I care... (1)

pastafazou (648001) | about 2 years ago | (#40413647)

This argument doesn't make any sense. All the choices you've made have resulted in a poorly supported platform. That's not AMD's fault, it's yours. So if you want to pursue this platform, perhaps you should be writing the drivers yourself.

Re:Actually I care... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40413665)

Or, since the drivers are already written and have the required support available but simply disabled, ATI could... you know... turn on the features we paid for. Just a thought.

Re:Actually I care... (4, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40413701)

The only reason it is a "poorly supported platform" is that they are CHOOSING to support it poorly.

Re:Actually I care... (-1, Troll)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 2 years ago | (#40414029)

Actually, its poorly supported because there are so many different versions of it that usually need different support.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Linux_distributions [wikipedia.org]

Go ahead and scroll down, look at that list. Who wants to make the same drivers for THAT MANY distros?

Heres the graphical representation of that.


Re:Actually I care... (5, Insightful)

dark12222000 (1076451) | about 2 years ago | (#40414243)

You clearly have no idea what you are talking about... at all...

A Linux Disto is a flavor - it's a set of pre-installed tools, features, etc. It's not a separate OS. Unless you're doing something *really* weird, you should be able to compile the same for the most part. In addition, AMD already stated they were going to open source the drivers, with FULL support - this isn't us just whining because we can, this is us asking AMD to live up to it's own promise.

Re:Actually I care... (4, Informative)

MrHanky (141717) | about 2 years ago | (#40414283)

That might be true for exceptionally poorly programmed versions of proprietary software, but neither ATI nor nvidia target specific distros with their drivers, they target a couple of revisions of the X server's ABI (and a few more for the kernel, which is a simpler task), and current distros pretty much all use the latest available at the time of release (minus one or two for Debian Stable). You're making it at least 100x more complicated than it really is.

Re:Actually I care... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40414617)

They're choosing to support it poorly because there's little market for them in Linux.
People who use Linux are the minority.
People who use Linux for anything other than command line programs are the minority of Linux users.

It's like complaining that Black Angus Steakhouse is dragging its feet when it comes to opening their New Delhi location.

Re:Actually I care... (3, Informative)

networkBoy (774728) | about 2 years ago | (#40413893)

Problem is , many of the bits required for writing a driver are unreleased/undocumented. We couldn't write a driver if we tried when the vendor won't give us the specs required.
Wireless cards are an issue too, with their binary blob drivers.

Re:Actually I care... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40414189)

You are an idiot.

If you believe that a hardware maker does not have any responsibility in writing the drivers for their products, and instead that responsibility lies with the end-user, you are clearly mad. Or are you shilling for AMD?

Re:Actually I care... (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 years ago | (#40413991)

"There is no real reason from my point of view not to provide a good driver for my platform of choice."

The Linux community can barely decide standards for themselves. Hence PulseAudio/ALSA/OSS/kDX

They barely get OpenGL right. As of this writing, only one machine in my house is capable of running a fully-functional (as in all my standard programs work without any errors) and it is my early '00s machine. Nothing built after 2006 has support for everything.

Re:Actually I care... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40414287)

Yea cause the community came up with XvBA and VDPAU just to mention a few...

Since it's open anyone can get his huge look-at-what-i-made boner. Not that it's functional, cause a dozen different api's for half the brands is just ridiculous and hard to support. But mostly 1 will win.

Since windows dictates more it has less of these issues. That said, I think a lot of them are caused by companies that are in it (just) for the profit, but who shit on the philosophy.

Lin-sux morons complain endlessly. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40413751)

This is all you ever hear anymore from the lin-sux losers. Whine. Bitch. Moan. Complain. Why don't you IDIOTS chuck your crappy homemade operating system and move up to something that is better written, more secure, faster, has more features and far easier to use: OS X. Hell, you'd still be doing better even if you went with Windows instead of lin-sux. But oh no, all we ever hear anymore is the bitching from losers like Linus Tortards and his ilk of low-IQ, anti-social misfits who think they are better than everyone else because of the OS they use, when the truth is exactly the opposite.

Think different.
Think better.
Think APPLE!

Re:Lin-sux morons complain endlessly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40413871)

Think different, just like every other consumer with ample disposable income.

Isn't OS X built on Linux? So your criticism is really an issue of window manager, right? MacOS v. Gnome / KDE / Unity?

Re:Lin-sux morons complain endlessly. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40414437)

I'm an Apple-hating Linux fanboy, but you're really really wrong.
If OS X used Linux code, Apple would have to release the source (GPL, remember?).
There is a lot of free software in OS X, but not copyleft. Check out Darwin. [wikipedia.org]

Why should they? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40413373)

Why should they support Linux leeches? Get a job and pay for your software losers and then maybe you'd see some support.

Re:Why should they? (4, Insightful)

txsable (169665) | about 2 years ago | (#40413457)

What leeches? The drivers don't cost the user anything extra (far as I know?). If I've already paid for the hardware, I expect drivers that work and support all the functionality, and there is no valid excuse for any hardware manufacturer to withhold them.

Re:Why should they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40413501)


Re:Why should they? (4, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | about 2 years ago | (#40413707)

Well, drivers advertised as available at the time you purchased the hardware should be available and supported well enough. Drivers not advertised, on the other hand... OEMs can't support each and every OS, kernel version, ... especially when the market share is marginal, and revenue almost nil.

I understand that sucks and, frankly, it's the main thing that' keeping me away, again and again, from Linux. But I also understand that companies are not charities and have to make a business case for investing $$$ in dev and support. Especially when, as is probably the case here, there's 3rd party IP in the mix, which would cost a lot to buy out and "open", or replicate w/o getting embroiled in endless lawsuits.

Re:Why should they? (4, Insightful)

geekprime (969454) | about 2 years ago | (#40414425)

Would you care to explain how AMD/ATI's revenue is different because I choose to use Linux instead of windows?
I still paid the same amount of money for the card.

Furthermore, we all know for a fact (because it's happened for every other piece of hardware) that if they released the details needed for the Linux community to write it's own drivers, they'd never have to write another one for Linux, ever, AND they would benefit from being able to take the concepts and optimizations created by the Linux community and fold them into their windows drivers.

Re:Why should they? (1)

Tharkkun (2605613) | about 2 years ago | (#40414661)

What leeches? The drivers don't cost the user anything extra (far as I know?). If I've already paid for the hardware, I expect drivers that work and support all the functionality, and there is no valid excuse for any hardware manufacturer to withhold them.

They do work on the hardware listed on the box when you purchased it.

Re:Why should they? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40413477)

Windows users don't pay for their video drivers. Both Windows and Linux users have paid the same amount for the hardware, though. You must be kind of stupid.

Re:Why should they? (0)

pastafazou (648001) | about 2 years ago | (#40413587)

I don't see the validity of your argument. Are you saying that because you bought the hardware, and because AMD offers free drivers for Windows users, they should be required to provide drivers for any operating system you choose to run, simply because you bought the hardware?

Re:Why should they? (5, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#40413719)

He was replying to the AC that was apparently saying Linux shouldn't be supported because those users don't pay for software (generally). The AC which you replied to was simply pointing out the original AC's argument was faulty because Windows users don't pay for the software in question either. However, both Windows and Linux users paid the same price for the hardware, the price of which includes support for the drivers. If they offer Linux drivers, then it's only fair to expect the same level of support offered for other platforms.

Re:Why should they? (2)

Tmann72 (2473512) | about 2 years ago | (#40413761)

That's exactly what he is saying. I think you are too hung up on the word free. It's not as if a better paid option is available. All the drivers for each platform are free. As a user who purchased hardware at the full price I fully expect the hardware creator to release fully functional drivers for their device, and to not half ass it. This shock and awe that Linux should be treated differently or somehow less free than the windows version is the ridiculous argument here.

Re:Why should they? (1)

geekprime (969454) | about 2 years ago | (#40414443)

If it says it supports that OS on the outside of the box then YES, I DO expect it to be included.

Re:Why should they? (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 2 years ago | (#40413777)

But 100,000 Windows users have paid $1 of their final purchase price to software development. 10,000 Linux users have paid $1 of their final purchase price to software development. (It's hyperbole for an example.) Each user has paid the same amount for hardware but the "Develop Windows Drivers" pool has $90k more in it.

Re:Why should they? (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40413887)

Fine. Don't support Linux. If you say you support Linux, then REALLY support it. There shouldn't be a middle ground in this issue. It's pretty simple.

Re:Why should they? (1, Flamebait)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#40413531)

> Why should they support Linux leeches? Get a job and pay for your software losers and then maybe you'd see some support.

This is HARDWARE you moron. Everyone that has the hardware has PAID for it you moron. Get back under your bridge.

Linus may want to cuss out the guys at Nvidia but they're doing a better job in this case.

Re:Why should they? (4, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#40413541)

Why should they support Linux leeches?

There's a reason why all my Linux boxes except the oldest one have either Nvidia or Intel graphics. In the case of the old one I had to manually patch the ATI driver kludge source because ATI dropped support and a kernel change broke it.

So, not a penny of my IT budget has gone to ATI since 2008 because their drivers aren't very good and they don't support them.

Re:Why should they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40413763)

Yes, Intel provides excellent Linux support. However it comes at a slight price premium which most Linux users can't afford. They would rather mailorder "budget" AMD systems and fight with buggy drivers.

Re:Why should they? (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#40413957)

Intel cooperates with the community. That doesn't mean that their kit is better or that the associated drivers are better. It also doesn't make them a premium option of any kind.

That cooperation also hasn't led to feature or support parity with the Nvidia blob.

Intel is the same sort of force bundled cheap stuff that AMD is.

Re:Why should they? (1)

fluffythedestroyer (2586259) | about 2 years ago | (#40413569)

It's clear you don't know a thing about hardware, linux, amd, ati, nvidia and drivers. Seriously, get a fucking clue before you post your crap. Your getting on lots of peoples nerves. flaming bitch whore

Re:Why should they? (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 2 years ago | (#40414063)

we are talking about video drivers here and the drivers only work with the hardware from that company mentioned. Exactly what software should the OSS people purchase from AMD to get this support you think you know about?

figures, an AC...


Re:Why should they? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 2 years ago | (#40414681)

People only have finite funds available, if you have a budget of $1000 for a computer and you decide to spend $400 of it on software then you only have a $600 computer.
If you decide to use free software, then you can buy a $1000 computer which will be more powerful.

AMD sell hardware...

I know the open drivers may not be as good (1)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | about 2 years ago | (#40413385)

But do they at least support this functionality?

Re:I know the open drivers may not be as good (4, Insightful)

simcop2387 (703011) | about 2 years ago | (#40413655)

Not yet, AMD hasn't opened up the specs of the hardware video decoder for fear of DRM and other problems with it. There is work being done to do the decoding with the shader processor and it sort of works for mpeg2 (at least for me anyway) but not for anything more advanced. For the nvidia open source drivers i believe it's the same situation.

Foamy HorsePiss (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40413413)


ATI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40413415)

ATI has always sucked balls. To this day, I cannot fathom why AMD paid real money for that company.

Re:ATI (2)

fluffythedestroyer (2586259) | about 2 years ago | (#40413573)

It's a Canadian company :)

Re:ATI (1)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | about 2 years ago | (#40413683)

If you're trying to make the joke that Canadian dollars may as well be monopoly money compared to US dollars... I'm afraid to tell you one Canadian dollar is currently worth more than one US dollar. So it takes more than one US dollar to purchase one Canadian dollar. :(

Re:ATI (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#40413831)

If you're trying to make the joke that Canadian dollars may as well be monopoly money compared to US dollars... I'm afraid to tell you one Canadian dollar is currently worth more than one US dollar. So it takes more than one US dollar to purchase one Canadian dollar. :(

Actually, it's reverted a few few weeks ago - 1 Canadian dollar buys aorund 97-98 US cents or so.

Anyhow, no more ATI. It's AMD, which is decidedly 'merkin. And AMD has sought to wipe out all reference to ATI as well - it's "AMD Graphics" now. Plenty annoying when I have a small driver collection and half of it is AMD and the other half installed in ATI. (I keep drivers around because of regressions - some I can ignore, others I have to revert because they get annoying).

Re:ATI (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#40413651)

I've had the opposite experience. Every ATi card I've gotten in the last 5 years has run beautifully, with two issues:
1) Windows 7 started freaking out about my Radeon x1650 about 6 months after upgrading from WinXP and would only use the basic VGA driver with it. I was long overdue for an upgrade anyway, so I replaced it with a Radeon HD 5450, which has run beautifully ever since.
2) My laptop's ATi card had issues with some distros of Linux when it first came out in 2006. However, by early 2007 it ran without an issue on Linux Mint and by 2008 i didn't have any issues with any distros.

My current desktop runs a Radeon HD 5450, HD 4550 and Intel HD 3000 integrated alongside (six monitors) and so far the only drivers I've had issues with are the Intel ones. I use those cards because they're cheap and very low power and sufficient to run Diablo III smoothly on the largest monitor, which is what my usage case calls for.

Nvidia on the other hand, I've had nothing but problems with. It's all about what you plan to use it for and personal experience.

Re:ATI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40414049)

.. What part of linux didn't you get from the article? Also they're referring specifically to decoding video features on the card which aren't used that much in linux outside of xmbc.

Proprietary Hardware II: The Wrath of Linus (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40413433)

they need a finger

"Refusing to turn it on" (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40413463)

To me, the most interesting part of the summary was:

AMD reportedly has the support coded, but they're refusing to turn it on in their public Linux driver

The relevant point from the article seems to be

Our sources say that these features are implemented in fglrx since a long time, but simply not activated within the driver. Nobody seems to know why.

Forgive me for being skeptical with Phoronix, but does anyone with more direct knowledge of these "sources" want to comment? I'd like to have a better view of the situation than just the words "Our sources."

xbmcui (0)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about 2 years ago | (#40413479)

Does this mean we can publicly criticize the XBMC UI?

Re:xbmcui (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40413563)

You're probably the only other person on here who has used XBMC, let alone Linux. Still, we'll have 75 +5 Funny and 30 -1 Trolls. My how Slashdot has fallen.

Re:xbmcui (1)

ichthus (72442) | about 2 years ago | (#40413595)

What's stopping you? Also, if you don't like the default UI, install one of the many skins that are available.

To be rude, but, that was a dumb question.

Re:xbmcui (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#40414017)

Something beyond "Cats rule and dogs drool" might actually be useful. A developer might even act on it.

Anything specific? (1)

Junta (36770) | about 2 years ago | (#40414227)

I use XBMC and find it pretty solid. There are things I'd like, mostly not GUI related
-ATSC embedded closed caption support (this feature would make me drop mythfrontend in a *second*)
-No 'headless' xbmc. For central library, an xbmc instance must be running. It does pretty much everything needed to do api calls to do database maintenance, but has to have a display
-A more simplified cookie cutter setup for centralized database. I know a lot of people will say 'PMS', but I've found that less useful (and more burdensome) than XBMC database.

I found the UI pretty decent actually. Now 'x' versus 'Tab' versus 'Escape is a little non-obvious at first in terms of 'how the hell do I get back to the video that didn't stop when I hit escape' or 'why didn't my video stop when I hit escape', but on a remote, things actually can be intuitively mapped.

Do they bathe in cash? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40413583)

"It sound like some people I know who "Keep getting all thses virus things no matter what I do!""

Remember the Sony BMG root kit?
Remember how no Antivirus detected it? Not even Anti root kit scanners?
Remember how only one tool initially detected it?

Now consider for a moment how many other government software/firmware moles/rootkits may be lingering within millions of people's proprietary systems (hardware/software-OS).

Wikileaks published a lot of information on companies willingly selling rootkits to governments and organizations. And do I really need to bring up HBGary?

So many fools using multiple proprietary scanners on their systems, the makers of which could all be in bed with big bro, the programs and/or updates could contain rootkits, and seriously, what the fsck is up with Microsoft and Flash both having so many remote exploits being patched all of the time?

The very products you trust, imo, could be the very e-poison from which you e-drink from.

To this day I laugh inside when twits tell me their system is "clean" because they scanned it with several proprietary tools.

Face it, even on Linux the quality of the root kit scanners are piss poor. You have to boot into a separate environment (like Remnux) to evaluate the malware, but most people won't do it, they'll wipe and reinstall and rely only on signatures which can be compromised. And when they find out they have an APT which continues to reinfect their computer(s)? Would they be intelligent enough to consider a firmware (PCI/BIOS) infection which survives hard drive wipes? Do they also have infected thumb drives laying around they plug into other computers around home and/or friends/family/work?

Chkrootkit has a function to list the strings of binaries, but it's up to you to determine whether or not the content of the strings are malicious. I've tried several root kit scanners on Linux and all of them are, imo, crippled pieces of trash. The crowd will yell back at you, "But most of these require root to exploit!" No, not at all, there are hundreds of ways to exploit a Linux box, many not requiring root, but a particular program/version. I won't even bite down on the subject of ways to subvert package managers. Heck, how many Linux repositories use SSL? SSH? Torrents with established "good" check sums for thousands of packages?

And I've not mentioned Flash and Adobe Reader for Linux and the past problems with those... and the NVidia driver for Linux, had in the past, one or two severe security issues whereby a remote exploit could take over the system! (Google it. The news of one exploit was in 2006.)

Our proprietary hardware and software are both at risk, and likely subverted world wide on millions of computers by governments and select organizations. The fact it takes years until a researcher trips over a particular piece of malware which none of the antivirus companies are detecting is inexcusable.

Were I head of a commercially developed antimalware company, I'd develop a website similar to Virus Total, but instead of the users uploading single files one by one, I'd give them a FOSS program which checked every part of their hardware, embedded and manually inserted, checksum the firmware (of all media drives, graphics cards, anything with firmware) and BIOS and tear apart the results, funneling them into separate result pages, each result for each component going to its own page for comparative results, rather than building a profile on one user's system. I would offer the users the option of publishing a one page result for their unique computer, but it would be opt-in only. Yes, checksum the firmware, including the router, and demand companies publish checksums and use GPG to sign their firmware, all of this information would go to the site as described. A massive database of important, but anonymously pulled and published information.

It's just going to get worse.

On the side, I've been saying to myself for years, IMO, "When Microsoft finally starts to show signs of weakness and loss of power over the OEMs, it will try and reinvent itself through crippled hardware and force others to beg at its door for access. They will, imo, follow the same route as Apple, tying software to hardware. I'm shocked it hasn't happened sooner." Then the reverse engineering can begin, just like the WINE project which was abandoned by Corel following Microsoft's involvement with Corel, despite the good word from some former people at Corel who said they would continue to develop WINE. It wasn't much longer until Corel Linux was shit canned, and the support for WINE dried up like a neglected grapevine.

People like to poke and laugh at people like RMS who are sane and their visions a philosophy to stand by and build upon. Sadly, it's mostly about 'image' in today's society. This is why, in part, you'll never see a true world leader elected who benefits the people and country as a whole, because it's just like high school, you only have a few choices between the approved popular cliques, the rest are shunned and ridiculed. So we have two, I would argue, controlled choices, the Republicans and Democrats, and we have two, I would maintain, jocks, Apple and Microsoft.

Bring on the 3-D printers and eventually the Star Trek like replicators, so we can put an end to the sweatshops in China and elsewhere, and to the two jocks in school.

Soon our future will be collaboration of FOSS and FOSH(ardware) and we won't sit idly by as the two jocks push their creations onto us, we will forge our own.

Oh, and you can kiss my ass Republicans and Democrats, whose power is only illuminated by controlled corporate media and further shaped by humor from The Daily Show, Colbert Report (they didn't have much to say during the last writer's strike, did they, yet people think they're so witty -- wrong! more corporate shit!) and SNL (why the fork wasn't stuck in SNL years ago is beyond me, it's like watching The Simpsons, someone left the building and forgot to turn off the light - I won't even dig into the, imo, illuminati Family Guy show).

The future is up to us, the power is in our hands, we only have to turn off the TV and stop swallowing the shit they feed us and join together to mature technology.

"Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilators."
- Philippians 3:2

Do not remain 'motionless in light'. Kneel before Almighty God, rebuke the beast within the light and the strange sounding 'invaders' through Yahweh, Christ Jesus, Holy Spirit, Our One True God. Rejoice in Him!

Re:Do they bathe in cash? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40414641)

I stopped reading at the second reference to big brother.

You do realize that this is actually going to make it /easier/ for the government to install boot-loader level software on your rig, right? All any entity will need to do is pull the appropriate strings at M$, and they get a free digitally-signed pass past all of your scanners and other protection.

Throwing the bird (2)

mwolfe38 (1286498) | about 2 years ago | (#40413657)

Nobody cares unless somebody drops an F-Bomb and gives the middle finger. Until then we should all just move along.

Suck my dick (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40413713)

We are the slashdot trolls, my just made surprise butt fuck friend.
And we keep on trollin' till the end.

We post goatse [goatse.ru] links.
Natalie portman and hot grits.

No time for lusers (Linux users),
Because FreeGayOS (FreeBSD) rules!

Re:Suck my dick (0)

fluffythedestroyer (2586259) | about 2 years ago | (#40413861)

Yeah sure, best OS would be microsoft. No possible virus could infect that system. No problems, no patch needed. It's the perfect system. Perfect company... stfu

was annoying on XBMC for me (3, Interesting)

forgottenusername (1495209) | about 2 years ago | (#40413811)

I usually don't pay too close of attention to ATI vs Nvidia war, but I had built out a slick HTPC machine to run xbmc on Linux, and videos had all sorts of problems on the ATI card.. especially with decent quality videos. Hitching, crashing, general instability despite trying different drivers and config combinations.

Threw in a fanless nvidia, VDPAU works fine, totally different experience.

So, I'll stick with Nvidia on Linux for anything more serious than web browsing; their closed source binary driver is a little obnoxious, but at least it works.

Re:was annoying on XBMC for me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40413939)

Thanks for the anecdote and your single data point. I'm going to go right out and buy an Nvidia card now.

Re:was annoying on XBMC for me (3, Informative)

Strider- (39683) | about 2 years ago | (#40414415)

I'm running XBMC on an Asus EeeBox 1021P (Atom 510 w/ Nvidia ION2 graphics). Built the thing up with Debian, running Diskless no-less, and it is a fantastic HTPC. It will hapilly play whatever video files I throw at it, be they BluRay rips, high bitrate 1080p video, lower video, etc... The Nvidia closed source drivers, as built by the Debian packages, work well, and VDPAU works great. The great irony is that XBMC seems to draw less CPU time when running a 1080p video than it does displaying its own menus.

Re:was annoying on XBMC for me (1, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 2 years ago | (#40414059)

I think that my next one will have Intel graphics. They are not the top boys in terms of raw power, but their drivers are open source, and their linux support apparently complete. That makes them probably decent competitors to NVidia/ATI

Their wishlist (2)

pathological liar (659969) | about 2 years ago | (#40413837)

What kind of piss-poor cpu can't decode mpeg2 in several times realtime?

The article implies h.264 acceleration for levels less-than-or-equal-to 4.1 works fine as well. Scene rules for x264 releases say respect 4.1, and most hardware players top out at that as well... so who's clamoring for it, and why?

Re:Their wishlist (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40414001)

That's not the point. Offloading to a GPU for built in HW decoding means low power CPUs can control full HD media without breaking into a sweat. You don't need a full HTPC when you can have a simple and 100x cheaper SoC. Scene isn't everything, 4.1 hasn't been the baselines for several years even if the spec itself covers what the scene release.

Re:Their wishlist (4, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#40414149)

What kind of piss-poor cpu can't decode mpeg2 in several times realtime?

An Atom struggles to play 1080P MPEG-2, and you can forget 1080P H.264. Whereas my Xbmc box with an Atom and Nvidia Ion chipset has no problem with anything we've thrown at it.

Re:Their wishlist (1)

Junta (36770) | about 2 years ago | (#40414335)

1920x1080 MPEG2 is actually still challenging (e.g. ATSC content).

'Scene' rules haven't stopped me from getting higher profiles on various pieces of content.

Getting hardware makers to support Linux (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 years ago | (#40413933)

isn't going to happen when you keep calling them assholes because they won't support all 6 of you.

If you can't understand why Linux support is going to continue to suck, you really don't need to be posting on the Internet. You like a basic understanding of the way the world works.

I'll give you one basic hint though, as I said, when you keep rallying behind people in your community that throw temper tantrums when the rest of the world doesn't see it the same way and they can't understand why ... you pretty much lose any chance of any intelligent company supporting you. The only people who are going to support you are those that can't make it main stream for various reasons and they need a niche market to help them survive ... this companies also tend to produce shit products, hence why they are relegated to niche markets for standard products.

Keep calling people assholes and then wondering why you have no friends, go ahead, we'll continue to shake our heads in disappointment that you still haven't grown up.

My xbmc setup (2)

SealBeater (143912) | about 2 years ago | (#40413937)

I'm currently using a mac mini with the Intel i910 driver and a broadcom crystalhd mini-pci-E card. 1920x1080, both CPUs run at about 30% decoding 1080p. Works very well for me.

AMD vs nVidia video acceleation (1)

ruinevil (852677) | about 2 years ago | (#40413969)

If you've ever lurked Doom9, you'll realize that AMD/ATi cards are very narrow in the types of AVC files they will accelerate, when compared to nVidia. And this is on the well supported and well funded Windows side.

They might have some support in the drivers, but Linux video acceleration is a clusterfuck, some really convoluted setup that makes PulseAudio/ALSA look like a sane design.

In Windows, video players will simply drop to software decoding if it can hardware decode, but in Linux, the video players try to hardware decode anyways, resulting in garbled video.

My nicest card is AMD, but my ancient Pentium 4 with a NV 8400 can DxVA more files... and it needs to.

Blame DRM (3, Informative)

CityZen (464761) | about 2 years ago | (#40414027)

Their video acceleration hardware has DRM built into it. The reason they can't release the specs is most likely because their lawyers said not to, for fear of breaking some DRM-related legal contract(s).

Re:Blame DRM (1)

fa2k (881632) | about 2 years ago | (#40414361)

The reason they can't release the specs is most likely because their lawyers said not to, for fear of breaking some DRM-related legal contract(s).

I can't imagine how that would be a problem though. DRM relies on having some system that the content publisher can trust, which the user doesn't have control over or visibility into. The Linux video acceleration APIs probably allow a separate process to read the final frames from the video framebuffer, so the opensource driver can't decode any DRM'ed content on Linux. That's fine. Why is it then a problem to allow decoding of non-encumbered content? The only way I can imagine it would be a problem is if the hardware call to decode DRM content is almost the same as that for decoding DRM content, and AMD relies on keeping it secret.. Anyone have a better explanation?

[Happy user of the open source AMD drivers. Just do it in software and disable CPU throttling :]

Switchable Grpahics (4, Interesting)

PerlJedi (2406408) | about 2 years ago | (#40414119)

The video codecs are the least of my problems with linux support from both NVidia and AMD. Neither of them off any kind of support for switchable graphics under linux. I have laptops with modern graphics cards from each of these guys, and in both cases it has been a long up hill battle getting the graphics cards to work correctly.

Re:Switchable Grpahics (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40414677)

The big problem there is that X itself doesn't have infrastructure to support switchable graphics sanely. There is some work being done to provide a Hot-Swap API into X11 to address this problem so at least then there will be a way to at least start to get this working in X.

The other big factor is that most of these switchable graphics solutions are proprietary per laptop. Some use a physical mux to switch the display back and forth between integrated and discrete cards. Some don't and use a purely SW solution where the discrete card renders offscreen, then has its output copied into system memory for compositing by the integrated card. Windows 7 sort of supports this now in their driver model with their WDDM compositor.

I'm sure something could eventually be worked on in Linux but there isn't any standard X driver model really created to make this work. I don't blame either company for not spending that much effort to get this working given the current marketshare of linux on laptops (which I think is pretty close to 0% as sold by OEMs). It makes me a bit sad, but until X gets support to make this whole switchable graphics thing a first class citizen I doubt either company will have much official support for this.

If Linux laptops were a big market segment and the manufacturers were clamoring for switchable Linux graphics because end users were willing to pay for it then you'd probably see this feature emerge. Sadly the market probably doesn't appear large enough to justify major investment.

Also do the open source AMD driver or Noveua support any sane form of switchable graphics? Or are they also stuck on X11's lack of a good API for this?

Bring back the XBOX as standard platform! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40414303)

None of this would have happened if we had stuck to the original XBOX hardware!! :D

ATI is the future of RIM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40414363)

in the early 90's, I bought and loved my ATI VGAWonder card and Mach32 card. They were the best, and I like to support home-grown tech (I'm Canadian). Things worked fine when I moved to Linux (pre-1.0 kernel, no less!).

But, it's all downhill from there... the lowlight was buying a top-line Radeon AGP-Pro X, which quite simply ~never~ worked, under either Linux or Windows.

They started great, made some great products, won the hearts of many. Then, they sputtered, blew off customer-complaints, and spiralled down... ...almost exactly like RIM, just a decade earlier.

Personal experience (1)

saikou (211301) | about 2 years ago | (#40414513)

For me, out of nVidia and ATI proprietary drivers under linux, ATI's were always more problematic, especially under 64 bit Ubuntu.
Every couple years I try to get an ATI card and make linux work with it and every time I get very frustrated (last one was 5830 card in 2010 [hyperom.com]). Yes, I don't have much expertise in kernel hacking, but I don't expect that I have to do that much tweaking to install a freaking driver. So far nVidia never presented a problem under Ubuntu. It might re-compile itself, but that's as bad as it gets. The amount of trial and error for ATI is waaay worse (how on earth can "official" binary driver complain about unsupported hardware? open driver being so slow you can see windows painting? yuk)

So, for me, out of two evils, the lesser one is nVidia. Maybe it's almost time to try a new ATI card yet again :) Though if even mpeg2 acceleration is not working, probably I should wait another couple years.

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