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First Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40422219)

This is the first post to this story.

Re:First Post (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40422297)

I would've got first post, but I'm still reading TFA. Only two thousand pages to go...

Captain Obvious Here (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40422287)

nVidia should have bit the bullet and done the same thing. Could have benefited them financially and boosted consumer satisfaction.

Re:Captain Obvious Here (5, Insightful)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422315)

And Broadcom too, while we're at it - it's not as if we're asking for the schematics to copy the chips, just some low-level api information would be nice for OSS driver development.

Re:Captain Obvious Here (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#40423759)

Broadcom is a highly profitable and successful company. You could argue what they're doing is financially beneficial. They'll tell you everything you need to know about their products, if they want you as a direct customer and you sign an NDA. They don't sell direct to consumers or market directly to them either.

Re:Captain Obvious Here (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#40426705)

Those broadcom chips are SDR I'm pretty sure. Just leaving the code open like that and handing the hardware out might cost them somewhat. Things like FCC certifications.

Re:Captain Obvious Here (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#40431669)

I didn't think broadcom were into software defined radio?

Re:Captain Obvious Here (2)

Tough Love (215404) | more than 2 years ago | (#40430881)

Broadcom is a highly profitable and successful company. You could argue what they're doing is financially beneficial.

The argument "we must be doing it right because we're making money" works great right up until the point you realize somebody did it better and passed you by.

Re:Captain Obvious Here (4, Informative)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422435)

Yup, to the tune of a couple 100 million: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTEyNTE [phoronix.com]

Re:Captain Obvious Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40422483)

What the hell are the Chinese going to use 10 million GPUs for?

You could probably mount some pretty impressive crypto attacks with that kind of hardware...

Re:Captain Obvious Here (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40423129)

Stupid boy, real farms run FPGA racks not GPU's, GPU's give out too much heat and consume too much electricity.

FPGA's is where the real hackers reside, not GPU's.

Get out of the 2000's with your GPU thinking. Ever wonder you suck at Folding or Bitcoin farming? Real farmers plough binary fields with FPGA's.

Re:Captain Obvious Here (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422497)

Can't wait for the Chinese version of this ATI chip to come out... it oughta drive down the prices of nVidia cards which is always good for me

Re:Captain Obvious Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40424177)

Yes because the Chinese version of the CPU drove down Intel and AMD CPU prices... Oh, wait.

Re:Captain Obvious Here (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40424491)

Yes because the Chinese version of the CPU drove down Intel and AMD CPU prices... Oh, wait.

Yeah, I guess you're right. It's not like cheap MIPS chips coming out of China help keep the price of other chips down. Oh, wait...

Re:Captain Obvious Here (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40424297)

The nV and ATI chips are already manufactured in China by Chinese companies.

When they want copies of the chips they just run extra real ones on the same production line.

The Chinese government already has copies of the designs.

Only end users are hurt by this sort of pseudo-secrecy.

Re:Captain Obvious Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40424957)

Intel always does this. They actually give a damn about the people that end up with there products.

Take that you morons at nVidia! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40422289)

If you won't allow us to write software for your crappy cards, then they'll be no software for your cards. I don't understand why these Microsoft-style closed source morons always think not allowing people to use what they sell will help them. They're letting their paranoia get in the way of good business.

Re:Take that you morons at nVidia! (5, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422351)

I don't understand why these Microsoft-style closed source morons always think not allowing people to use what they sell will help them.

You're asking a question about market behavior, but the problem isn't a market problem (what you say makes sense, in a free market). Since the expected market behaviors don't exist, you have to ask, "why is this market broken?"

The standard answer is that they're violating thousands of patents six ways to Sunday, and the more open they are about their hardware the more risk they expose on these being found out.

Of course all the manufacturers are doing it because the patent system is so screwed up and the product would be impractical otherwise. People get grants on the obvious and necessary techniques all the time. And it's not just the big three where they could cross-license - there are trolls out there who just want to be parasites on the successful shops.

As usual, this is social engineering run amok. Yes, the reason you can't have good video drivers for linux is because the government has screwed up this market too. Take away this patent morass, and the vendors become interested in selling cards any way they can. Of course, the smartest-kids-in-the-room will now chime in and say that there simply wouldn't be any good video cards without the government getting involved. You decide which acutally makes sense.

Re:Take that you morons at nVidia! (2)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422473)

Fascinating idea. I thought the main issue was that some of their OpenGl code was licensed to them, and that license was non-transferable.

Re:Take that you morons at nVidia! (3, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422623)

They don't need opengl code to release hardware documentation... Given appropriate documentation, people could implement a clean room version of opengl and replace the bits that can't be released. There are already several open source implementations of opengl which could be adapted.

Re:Take that you morons at nVidia! (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#40426717)

Sort of what Bert64 says, this has nothing to do with OpenGL implementations.

It's stuff like "poke an 0x1f into memory offset 0xWhatever then peek at offset 0xSomewhere to see the state of SOME_COOL_FUNCTIONALITY"

Re:Take that you morons at nVidia! (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422989)

I agree. Let's ditch the patent system. It's the only rational, logical thing to do. I mean, if you think that the Patent System is good, then I call bullshit until you test the damn hypothesis already. It's not like we can't re-enact whatever crap laws we want.

I can hear it now: "If you get rid of copyrights and patents NO ONE WILL INNOVATE"... Well, please explain how the fashion and car industries are doing so well without these protections? [ted.com]
FUDsters gonna FUD...

It's time we did the damned experiment, abolish patents AND copyrights. Times have changed! We're in the INFORMATION AGE now. I fear most people grossly underestimate the power of reverse engineers... Besides: "May the Best Copier Win!" has been the battle cry of life itself for billions of years. Only now we place restrictions on the flow of information? Look, as much as I liked that Planet of the Apes movie, I don't want it to come true.

Re:Take that you morons at nVidia! (1)

mounthood (993037) | more than 2 years ago | (#40423415)

Trolls can just use legal discovery. The companies don't gain anything by keeping the spec's secret, since they'd have to give whatever was asked for in a patent trial anyway. It may be sealed (non-public) but the companies can't hide it, or refuse to provide it.

The standard answer is that they're violating thousands of patents six ways to Sunday, and the more open they are about their hardware the more risk they expose on these being found out.

I don''t see how making it public would encourage trolls. If everyone already knows then the trolls do too. Uncertainty about hardware specifications is not holding back the trolls, it's the millions of dollars for multi-year trials that have uncertain payouts.

Re:Take that you morons at nVidia! (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40424073)

I don''t see how making it public would encourage trolls. If everyone already knows then the trolls do too.

The trolls don't know which patents are being 'violated'. You can't simply go fishing with discovery. "Your honor, it stands to reason that the defendant is probably using our patents, so we'd like to see all the source and design documents for their core products. Our evidence is that we suspect they owe us money." What judge is going to go along with that?

Re:Take that you morons at nVidia! (1)

mounthood (993037) | more than 2 years ago | (#40424201)

The trolls don't know which patents are being 'violated'.

They know which patents they own, and can make a reasonable guess as to which apply. That's all they need for discovery. Trolls don't have to present evidence prior to filing suit. Think of SCO or Oracle v. Google, all it takes is money and time, and then they're in discovery.

Using discovery as 'fishing trip' is about finding new, unrelated information or issues, which trolls don't need to do.

Re:Take that you morons at nVidia! (2)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422417)

They are often stopped by licensing issues when attempting to open source parts of their systems. That's the world we live in today - stamping your feet because they brought you some of the highest-performing hardware in modern PCs seems pretty childish.

nVidia is afraid of intel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40422867)

nVidia is afraid of its competitors, namely INTEL getting better 3D tech. I guess Imagination tech, and ARM's Mali count. Imagination and AMD have been around for a long time, so their teams don't really need practice (Kyro, ATI). Intel has the money, engineers and fabs to steamroll its competition. Intel has already grabbed half of the 3D market by integrating its inferior graphics. Imagine what they could do if their 3D team was among the best. It will happen eventually.

So, in short, nVidia doesn't release hardware details, because of fear of Intel.

Re:Take that you morons at nVidia! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40427083)

let me know when you have Ivy graphics drivers equal to windows for linux ?

You know that nvidia has a lot of GPUs variants out there.

Lets see, you need detailed hardware specs: architecture, low level hw interface, and all the understanding (communicated) to use it properly. You also have bugs and non-generalities to deal with across all the models -- plus any updates/fixes to silicon. If someone wanted to give it to you, it would be a lot of work to filter through the internal company docs (and emails) and present what they wanted to give you.

You have a huge pile of doc, and then, what if some of it isnt correct -- it isnt quite right, or is old doc before something was fixed or changed or it isnt true for some models, some of the time and they could have said so but didnt. Standard stuff with doc but are you ready to deal with that.

Good news! (3, Insightful)

tramp (68773) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422291)

And a showstopper for those other graphic card makers (AMD/NVIDIA) with their halfbaked support for Linux.

Re:Good news! (3, Informative)

GrumpyOldMan (140072) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422643)

Nvidia's "half baked" support is actually better, since their drivers are backported to older stable distros. Stuff that requires kernel or bleeding-edge X.org is a royal pain to make work on a box running an older distro.

Re:Good news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428137)

But without nVidia binary drivers, X11 doesn't even get tolerable 2D performance (it's basically unusable, X11 apps are more responsive networked, even over wireless). I don't care about 3D in this case, but that it doesn't even manage a desktop (unlike ATI cards which work nicely in 2D mode with the drivers included with X.org, older models even do some 3D) is just beyond the pale.

And no, I didn't buy the nVidia card for X11 use, but I wanted to turn my retired gaming rig into FreeBSD-current desktop...but I'm having to run it headless.

Re:Good news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428197)

You have the source and the specifications for the Intel drivers, nothing's stopping you from backporting them.

Re:Good news! (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#40425289)

AMD has release the specs of their chips and has even helped with the development of drivers. It is unfair to call their support half baked.

Re:Good news! (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 2 years ago | (#40426011)

The article itself says they've lagged behind in handing out specs.

Link to documentation (5, Informative)

Nukenin (646365) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422333)

The documentation referenced is available from Intel Linux Graphics: Documentation [intellinuxgraphics.org] .

That's a lot of information (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40422335)

We've come a long way since the 47 registers and paltry documentation of the Commodore 64's 6567 video chip. My question is, who can actually master these modern systems before they are obsolete? No one person, I think, can gobble 2400 pages of documentation to work with a graphics system. Are people now merely specialists of one tiny subset of a system, never to understand what is going on overall? That might explain why we need 600M device drivers these days.

Re:That's a lot of information (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40422567)

I just did and it isn't even lunch yet. What's your problem, slow kid?

Re:That's a lot of information (3, Informative)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422593)

That's what makes the release of Intell's documentation under a CC license so logical. A group or even a confederation of groups working to develop a good driver can really make use of the docs. This can also make far more sense for Intel as they don't have build a driver for every purpose that their chips can be applied to. If anyone could afford to release documentation like this, without worrying about exposure to patents (as one other poster noted), that would be Intel. They're big enough to defend against most suits without going bankrupt.

I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of this.

Re:That's a lot of information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428237)

That's a nice theory, but a device driver is pretty much a one-man job, at least the initial bring-up.

It's not really obvious where you can divide a driver up into sections, so the division-of-labor thing doesn't work. Someone has to sit down, read the entire documentation, understand how the thing works, then go back and forward between the code and the spec until they have a working driver.

Now in actual fact, it's not as big a job as the GP makes out, The Intel 64 Architecture manual is around this large, and I have read the whole thing, and know how to program an x86 processor. Writing a driver is simply taking what is written in the spec, and making code to make those features available to users. It gets tricky with GPUs because you are expected to provide a whole bunch of things that are not strictly drivers, OpenGL implementations, for example.

Is 2400 pages much? (1)

jopsen (885607) | more than 2 years ago | (#40424103)

Back in highschool I did some projects with atmega644 microprocessor, about 400 pages of documentation. Granted I didn't read it all, but when I read most of the relevant parts and got a very good feel for the hardware. My point being, that 2400 pages isn't necessarily alot.

Also there's probably both highlevel and lowlevel APIs, instructions or modes on the video chip, and in order to write a video driver you probably don't need to understand the internal lowlevel instructions. If you want the write the optimal video driver, you probably do... But optimal code is pretty hard to write :)

My question is, who can actually master these modern systems before they are obsolete?

I think a small group of dedicated people and maybe some intel engineers.
But fully utilizing them before they are obsolute, is probably not possible, but keep in mind that todays apps are written in Javascript and HTML, when will that EVER utilize anything efficiently?

Back on topic, the next card intel release will probably use the same or fairly similar architecture, so what you learn in these docs are probably not obsolete when intel release a new video chip...

Re:Is 2400 pages much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40427135)

It sounds like intel integrated graphics will be sufficient for javascript and html. The product meets the demand.

No worries.

Re:I read most of the relevant parts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40427165)

The important ones anyway.

Re:That's a lot of information (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | more than 2 years ago | (#40424509)

We've come a long way since the 47 registers and paltry documentation of the Commodore 64's 6567 video chip

I wouldn't call the 6567 (VIC-II) documentation "paltry." Sure, it didn't cover every weird edge case, but the official C-64 Programmer's Reference Guide included full register details and everything you needed to get access to all the chip's features.

Re:That's a lot of information (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#40426729)

That might explain why we need 600M device drivers these days.

The more likely explanation is a combination of third-party bloatware attachments, feature creep, and lazy programmers who don't bother with (or don't care about) proper optimization.

*Not* the first public release of information (5, Informative)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422337)

This is a release of a large and very complete set of formal documents, but open source driver code (GPL'd and part of the mainline Linux kernel) has been released under a public development process since just after Sandy Bridge first came out in preparation for the Ivy Bridge launch. This code is written by paid Intel employees.

Incidentally, large portions of the DRM infrastructure in the kernel *and* the X server *and* the upcoming Wayland project are all being made by paid Intel employees. Note that this development work also has major benefits to the open-source AMD driver development and we would all be better off if AMD (not to mention Nvidia) adopted Intel's approach to paying people for open-source work.

In a similar manner, there is already 100% GPL'd code that is available for the next-generation Haswell graphics engines. Obviously at this stage it isn't complete, but things are not hidden behind closed doors and, just like Ivy Bridge, there should be solid launch-day support for the Haswell IGP. Considering the rumours going around about the extra resources that Haswell will offer for the GPU, this could chip could provide very solid launch-day out-of-the-box graphics support in notebooks and other devices that don't require a dicrete GPU.

Re:*Not* the first public release of information (5, Informative)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422367)

P.S. --> To anyone who saw "DRM" in the previous post and had a heart attack... DRM here means Direct Rendering Manager [wikipedia.org] and is the Linux infrastructure that lets you access the GPU for graphics acceleration.

Re:*Not* the first public release of information (1)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422613)

Thanks for the clarification. :)

Re:*Not* the first public release of information (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422913)

Great. What about VAAPI? GPUs on Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge are not all that powerful but they have 1080i acceleration. Was that mentioned. VAAPI support has been lacking but I suspect only because the spec is not fully released.

Re:*Not* the first public release of information (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422983)

Please elaborate. VAAPI has been open and working for a long time. Nobody uses it (are you listening, mplayer guys??? - idiots), but that's hardly because VAAPI isn't there. (actually vlc uses it)

[fnj@baldur FullDisc]$ rpm -qa|grep libva
libva-devel-1.0.15-1.puias6.x86_64
libva-1.0.15-1.puias6.x86_64
libva-freeworld-1.0.14-1.puias6.x86_64
libva-utils-1.0.15-1.puias6.x86_64
[fnj@baldur FullDisc]$

Re:*Not* the first public release of information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40424071)

mythtv uses it too.

Re:*Not* the first public release of information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40422975)

AMD do pay people working on their open-source driver development. They also release specs, though on both accounts I believe Intel do a lot more, but to suggest AMD doesn't do anything for open-source is a tad off base.

AFAIK AMD has FOSS devs on payroll... (1)

Qubit (100461) | more than 2 years ago | (#40423079)

we would all be better off if AMD (not to mention Nvidia) adopted Intel's approach to paying people for open-source work.

I thought that AMD had a number of devs working on open graphics drivers and on other open stuff like Coreboot...right?

Here's their "Open Source Zone" [amd.com] , and here's Kevin Tanguay's blog post [amd.com] of May 5, 2011 (emphasis mine):

AMD is now committed to support coreboot for all future products on the roadmap starting next with support for the upcoming “Llano” APU. AMD has come to realize that coreboot is useful in a myriad of applications and markets, even beyond what was originally considered. Consequently, AMD plans to continue building its support of coreboot in both features and roadmap for the foreseeable future.

Re:AFAIK AMD has FOSS devs on payroll... (2)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 2 years ago | (#40424097)

That's a great press release and AMD is better than Nvidia since AMD does publish at least partial documentation.. *but*... support for newer AMD cards in the open source drivers has major issues. As of right now, the 7 series cards that have been out for over 6 months have basically no support under the open source drivers. The 6 series and older cards are improving, but Catalyst is still leagues ahead in OpenGL performance and support. The documentation for the AMD cards is not release until months after the cards ship, and there is basically zero open-source development done prior to launch, so there is a long lead time between the cards being available and the cards being usable in any form under Linux (except through Catalyst, which has its own issues).

One big issue is that the Mesa & open source graphics stack has just recently even gotten support for OpenGL 3.0. The standards support under the proprietary Nvidia & AMD cards is, ironically, far ahead of the open source implementations.

Re:AFAIK AMD has FOSS devs on payroll... (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 2 years ago | (#40425751)

Big thank-you to AMD for supporting CoreBoot. Intel on the other hand seem disinterested in CoreBoot at best, actively against it at worst. You cant run CoreBoot with any Intel CPU made in the last decade and Intel has thus far refused to share any specs on their chipsets.

Re:*Not* the first public release of information (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432155)

we would all be better off if AMD (not to mention Nvidia) adopted Intel's approach to paying people for open-source work.

They do pay people, but they're not a large part of their total driver team. To put it a bit cruelly Intel doesn't have much to lose by being open source as AMD (through ATI) and nVidia probably know way more about high performance graphics than Intel does. AMD does open source, but they like nVidia both consider their proprietary highly optimized 3D engine their crown jewels. Intel would love a fully optimized OpenGL 4.2 engine when they're working on Mesa that's still on OpenGL 3.0 as far as I know. AMD has one, nVidia has one, Intel doesn't. Gee, I wonder why Intel is the one busy writing one...

A good start... but Intel graphics still need work (4, Insightful)

JDG1980 (2438906) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422339)

This is a good thing - it means that open-source drivers can now be written that will be adequate for most users. Unless you are doing heavy 3D gaming or HTPC, Intel's products are fine.

For HTPC, Intel would be a great choice if only they'd finally fix that lingering 23.976 FPS bug. They just don't seem to be taking it that seriously, though, since it's existed since the G45 days at least. Also, I don't know if this is supported through the registers (even the documents may not make it clear) but it would be great to have real YCbCr 4:2:2 output – AMD cards claim to do this, but they are actually converting the data from YCbCr (on DVD/Blu-Ray) to RGB and then back to YCbCr for output. Allowing source-direct YCbCr output (which currently only dedicated SoCs can do) and fixing the 23.976 FPS problems would make Intel-based HTPCs a viable option at the high end. (Advanced videophiles want to use a dedicated scaler device, which offers much better scaling and/or deinterlacing results than what software and average standalone players can do.)

Re:A good start... but Intel graphics still need w (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422481)

I'm curious how many Stream processors Intel can fit into a dedicated chip.

Re:A good start... but Intel graphics still need w (1)

Vegemeister (1259976) | more than 2 years ago | (#40423953)

YCbCr 4:2:2 output

What interconnect do you use for this? What kind of display devices will accept it as input?

Re:A good start... but Intel graphics still need w (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40424219)

Plain old RCA cables like you use for composite video, except you use three of them. Most HDTVs have a set of component inputs for this. It was the analog standard used before DRM, and thus HDMI, was mandated by the content assholes.

More info:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Component_cable [wikipedia.org]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YCbCr [wikipedia.org]

Re:A good start... but Intel graphics still need w (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40424237)

HDMI and DisplayPort both support this, and lots of displays will accept it as input. For example, both my home theatre projector (Epson PowerLite 8345) and my desktop's computer monitor (Dell U2711) will accept YCbCr input.

In fact, dedicated media players (such as my PS3) are already outputting YCbCr, so I'm currently using this... Of course, ultimately, it gets converted back into RGB at display-time, since all display devices are RGB.

Re:A good start... but Intel graphics still need w (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | more than 2 years ago | (#40424545)

What interconnect do you use for this? What kind of display devices will accept it as input?

YCbCr 4:2:2 is part of the HDMI standard, so you would use a regular HDMI cable. Videophiles would run this through a stand-alone video scaler like the Lumagen or Crystalio, so that the scaler could see the exact decompressed data from the original video stream instead of having it already pre-processed into RGB (which is a lossy process on the 8-bit channel values used in digital video).

FWIW, my Sony TV takes YCbCr input just fine, and I think most other HDMI devices do as well.

Re:A good start... but Intel graphics still need w (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40430103)

A real video nerd knows that LCD matrix is by design RGB so even if display would receive non-RGB, it would still get transformed internally to RGB using algorithms that we can only guesstimate therefore most would rather do it on PC where sometimes it's possible to know the whole chain and be sure that it's not doing something silly and quality reducing. Anyway, what you should want is at least 10 if not 12 bpc (bits per channel) RGB which coinidentally, HDMI can't deliver, you need DP for that.

Re:A good start... but Intel graphics still need w (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40424115)

How does a dedicated scaler device offer much better results than what software can do? Does it use some magic process that isn't reproducible using a Turing machine?

Re:A good start... but Intel graphics still need w (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40424255)

Fixed-function hardware can implement an algorithm much more efficiently than software. Reproducing what the dedicated scalers do in software may not be practical.

Re:A good start... but Intel graphics still need w (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | more than 2 years ago | (#40424579)

How does a dedicated scaler device offer much better results than what software can do? Does it use some magic process that isn't reproducible using a Turing machine?

I'm sure you could replicate it using shaders on a video card (or more slowly on the CPU) if you had access to the exact algorithms used. But the companies that produce dedicated scaler devices aren't going to make these algorithms publicly available, since keeping them a trade secret is in their financial best interest. And Intel, AMD, and nVidia don't place the same high priority on making the absolute best scaling and deinterlacing algorithms as do companies to whom this is their core business.

The actual documents (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40422389)

Direct link without the Phoronix fluff:

http://intellinuxgraphics.org/documentation.html

Intel Graphics Still Sucks (-1, Flamebait)

evilviper (135110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422407)

I still suggest avoiding Intel GPUs. The hardware isn't reliable, performance is very poor, and Linux driver support is quite iffy...

My old i845 (P4 era) was a minor nightmare... The (analog) VGA output looked absolutely horrible on my Dell LCD. The DVI output was stable, except it simply crashed and burned when trying to do 1600x1200 over DVI (it could do the same res over VGA no problem) at least under RHEL5.x.

Under RHEL6.x, it was a non-starter... 30 minutes of use or so, and the screen stops redrawing. You've got a mess on your screen, and (thanks to KVM) restarting X11 doesn't fix it... you have to completely reboot.

I've since replaced that system with an GeForce 7025, and everything is working nicely... The (analog) VGA output looks perfect on this same LCD monitor that couldn't handle the i845 output. DVI works perfectly at every supported resolution. And it works perfectly under RHEL6.x with no weird issues thanks to Nouveau.

Add to that the simple fact that AMD systems are usually a better value, and I just have to recommend avoiding Intel's GPUs, no matter how well they're doing supporting open source driver development. They're simply far inferior in every single other way...

Re:Intel Graphics Still Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40422551)

Try not having ancient hardware from before intel started doing decent gpus, that always tends to help.

Re:Intel Graphics Still Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40429623)

agree LOL using P4 GPU, intel did not start making good GPU/CPU until core (2,3,5,7) i suggest you try IvyBridge GPU/CPU and than make up to date opinion

Re:Intel Graphics Still Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40422577)

Well, wasn't the whole P4 thing a failure?

I urge you, take another look at a ivy/sandy bridge gpu.

Re:Intel Graphics Still Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40422683)

Let's see...you're basing your opinion on a comparison of an i845 chip from 2002 to a GeForce 7025 from 2006. Hey, Rip Van Winkle, guess what? We're in 2012 now. Intel graphics chips have improved greatly in the 10 years since the i845 came out. Please stop posting, your stupidity and inability to update your knowledge is making Linux users look bad.

Re:Intel Graphics Still Sucks (2)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422695)

Well, both Intel and Linux have come a long way since the Pentium 4 era, so I don't think it's fair to use a 10-year-old chipset as an example to avoid Intel GPUs now. Is also isn't fair comparing a 2002 iGPU to a 2007 iGPU. Of course the 7025 still works and is supported - it's much newer. My 2003 FX card, however, won't render anything GTK3 properly, it's completely abandoned by Nvidia and a very low priority for nouveau developers.

Re:Intel Graphics Still Sucks (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422991)

Is also isn't fair comparing a 2002 iGPU to a 2007 iGPU.

I compared them because it was a direct replacement. The same things are true of every other NVidia card I've got... My 8400, Geforce 4, etc., all similarly "just work" like they should, and always have. Intel is the one releasing hardware with all kinds of issues.

Re:Intel Graphics Still Sucks (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40424267)

Except you're discussing ancient GPUs and extrapolating your experience with those to the assertion that they are currently releasing hardware "with all kinds of issues"

Modern Intel GPUs work rather well.

Re:Intel Graphics Still Sucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40422737)

I doubt the issue is with the hardware itself. Issues with "hardware" are generally driver or firmware related.

Re:Intel Graphics Still Sucks (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#40423051)

Funny. I categorically won't even consider anything EXCEPT Intel graphics hardware for linux. It does a beautiful job for anything I need. Not only 10 year old stuff, but the latest. I've got both ancient 865 and 945, and two Sandy Bridge systems running PUIAS6 (free RHEL6 clone) and other distros - flawlessly.

I wouldn't use Nvidia and AMD power hog crap even if completely capable linux drivers WERE available open source. I don't need dozens of wasted watts to draw text and little pictures on my monitor. And I certainly don't need it to play HD accelerated video.

Re:Intel Graphics Still Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40424153)

Funny. I categorically won't even consider anything EXCEPT Intel graphics hardware for linux. It does a beautiful job for anything I need. Not only 10 year old stuff, but the latest. I've got both ancient 865 and 945, and two Sandy Bridge systems running PUIAS6 (free RHEL6 clone) and other distros - flawlessly.

I wouldn't use Nvidia and AMD power hog crap even if completely capable linux drivers WERE available open source. I don't need dozens of wasted watts to draw text and little pictures on my monitor. And I certainly don't need it to play HD accelerated video.

Good points, but how can I buy an (otherwise) high-end laptop with "only" intel graphics? How can I get a quad-core i7 with full HD (or better) and intel graphics? The high-end laptops all come with nvidia, amd, or sometimes a choice between the two. Intel is only offered on low-resolution screens. :-(

Re:Intel Graphics Still Sucks (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432659)

... how can I buy an (otherwise) high-end laptop with "only" intel graphics? How can I get a quad-core i7 with full HD (or better) and intel graphics?

It's a fair question. My usual answer to most of this class of question is to say Lenovo. Check out the Lenovo 530 [lenovo.com] . Hit the customize button. You will be able to pick all the way up to Core i7-3520M, display type up to 15.6" 1920x1080 LED backlit anti-glare, and still pick Intel HD Graphics 4000. It takes a little diligence to see what they will let you build. There are two even higher processors which for some reason they won't sell without Nvidia; who knows why - but this ones fills the bill. I am sure there are others.

BTW, Lenovo rules.

Re:Intel Graphics Still Sucks (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | more than 2 years ago | (#40423645)

Under RHEL6.x, it was a non-starter... 30 minutes of use or so, and the screen stops redrawing. You've got a mess on your screen, and (thanks to KVM) restarting X11 doesn't fix it... you have to completely reboot.

No, you've got a mess on your screen, and you have to completely reboot.

The Rest of the Story (3, Funny)

happy_place (632005) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422501)

...by releasing their documentation under the Creative Commons license, Intel saved enough money in lawyer fees to purchase a new fab...

Re:The Rest of the Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40422753)

What, you mean besides the three that Intel is already building?

why is this news? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40422545)

Intel publishes ( for free ) nearly all their architecture documents. It's been their business model since the beginning... how else would the X86 platform exist?
Talk about making an article out of nothing. Next week's news.... U.S. Government publishes paper without ANY copyright at all! SWOON!

Re:why is this news? (1)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422687)

Maybe this isn't news to you, and you do make a valid point about this story not being news. But not everyone follows Intel as closely as you do. I was glad to read this article and to know that I could buy a computer without having to worry that the next Linux update or upgrade would render my graphics performance to be slow and chunky. Of course, whether or not my graphics card is supported on Linux depends on the open source development community, but the odds of good support are much better with open documentation.

Re:why is this news? (1)

cheese_wallet (88279) | more than 2 years ago | (#40423575)

I propose an amendment to slashdot whereby anyone posting a "Why is this news?" post has their account deleted and ip banned. I feel confident in saying that since I have been on slashdot, there has not been a single "Why is this news?" post that added anything of value to the conversation.

Re:why is this news? (4, Informative)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40422729)

Intel publishes ( for free ) nearly all their architecture documents. It's been their business model since the beginning... how else would the X86 platform exist?

Someone clearly fell asleep in the 1990s, when Intel were so terrified of the V86 extensions being copied by AMD that they wouldn't tell anyone except Microsoft how they worked. People actually reverse-engineered it and released their own documentation before Intel was willing to allow things like Linux DOSEMU to use it. This did not endear me to Intel back in the day.

Indeed, an interesting relic from that era is my Turbo Assembler 5 manual. It has a number of blank entries in it for Pentium instructions, e.g.
RDTSC (Proprietary instruction. Contact Intel for more Information.") - Turbo Assembler Quick Reference, p.118

Re:why is this news? (1)

Mysteray (713473) | more than 2 years ago | (#40425435)

That's hilarious...as if RDTSC would be difficult to figure out what it did.

Re:why is this news? (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 2 years ago | (#40425559)

Read Data 'Till System Crashes?

Re:why is this news? (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 2 years ago | (#40425717)

I should note that my copy of the Intel Instruction Set Reference from around 2003 has documentation for RDTSC

Re:why is this news? (1)

Alomex (148003) | more than 2 years ago | (#40425675)

I'm going from memory, but facts were a bit different. the RDTSC had gone through various incarnations in different versions of the x86 processor, and they were afraid that if they made it publicly available they would have to forever support it in the name of backwards compatibility.

This is not an unreasonable fear, given of the x86 IS has survived all thee many years.

CC-BY-ND (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40422935)

For those of us who don't want to waste time actually downloading the PDFs buried in links from the phoronix story, the license is CC-BY-ND, so you can access it freely, and use whatever you want, but god forbid you should fix a typo.

Re:CC-BY-ND (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40424127)

CC-BY-ND Creative Commons - By Attribution - Non Disclosure
Did I get that, right :)

Re:CC-BY-ND (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40424133)

Good sensible license for something like that. Spot a typo, feed it back to Intel. Or publish it as a diff. Or both. In stuff like this, proliferation of uncontrolled copies is not necessarily productive.

Just 2400+ pages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40423325)

I recently got a TI AM3358. Its technical reference manual is 4200+ pages and at the end of the day you are still missing some crucial bits of information.
Of course this document does not include any details about the ARM core, the graphics accelerator and the programmable real-time unit.
Pinout, timings, and electrical characteristics are also in a seperate document, as usual.

Phoronix (2)

Narishma (822073) | more than 2 years ago | (#40423781)

Man, it seems like every other sentence in that article is a link to another Phoronix article. I count 14 Phoronix links in there, and the actual link to the Intel docs is buried in the middle of that.
http://intellinuxgraphics.org/documentation.html [intellinuxgraphics.org]

Re:Phoronix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40428575)

Yeah, that and the lack of statistics control of their "benchmarks" (not to mention lack of attention to Technical Details that Matter and result in non-general results) is what cause a lot of people to change that Ph to an M...

You cannot share what you do not own (2)

fragMasterFlash (989911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40424195)

Intel has enough hardware developers that the don't typically need to license third party IP to get the job done. Many silicon vendors don't have that luxury and cannot risk incidental leaks of IP details for which they could be held liable. Lets see how much documentation Intel releases for the Atom smartphone chips with PowerVR GPUs.

Re:You cannot share what you do not own (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40426773)

Sounds like you're trying to make an excuse for Nvidia.

Re:You cannot share what you do not own (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40432213)

Lets see how much documentation Intel releases for the Atom smartphone chips with PowerVR GPUs.

I think we already know the answer to this through Poulsbo. Though in 2013 they're releasing Atom SoCs with Ivy Bridge graphics called Valley View, so hopefully PowerVR are on their way out.

Another +1 for Intel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40424533)

A hardware manufacturer that supplies an instruction manual. Big bonus points for having that instruction manual available under a permissive license.

Intel have had this attitude for quite a long time and their graphics are steadily improving too (already more than good enough for my needs). ATI and NVidia seem to be too busy competing with one another to see that the market they are fighting over is becoming niche. Their occasional token gestures to the community are merely small publicity stunts to the constant support provided by Intel. ...Man, I didn't think Nvidia could suck so hard for so long that they could actually breed Intel fanboys but here I am. :)

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