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AMD Releases UVD Engine Source Code

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the new-toys dept.

AMD 79

An anonymous reader writes "Years of desire by AMD Linux users to have open source video playback support by their graphics driver is now over. AMD has released open-source UVD support for their Linux driver so users can have hardware-accelerated video playback of H.264, VC-1, and MPEG video formats. UVD support on years old graphics cards was delayed because AMD feared open-source support could kill their Digital Rights Management abilities for other platforms."

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Silly AMD (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43344681)

Your DRM was cracked years ago, so why stall for so long?

Re:Silly AMD (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43344939)

Because you can't give away somebody else's IP without getting sued and possibly having your chips blacklisted? For those that don't know HDCP is property of Intel [] which means AMD had to sign a license agreement and NDA to allow their systems to support HDCP. Of course this gives Intel two advantages when it comes to their drivers, one they don't have to worry about IP since they own it and two because they've been ahead of AMD both on IPC and die shrinks they were able to keep HDCP pretty much a separate module in the designs VS AMD who used parts of their GPU for HDCP which is why they had to be VERY careful not to step into the IP minefield when they went about opening their chips.

Now personally i think it sucks balls that we ALL have to pay for this DRM being baked into the chips when so few of us are watching content protected by HDCP but as long as big media has a giant stiffie for DRM we are all just gonna have to accept it. I do hope this gets Linux users to put their money where their mouths are and support AMD, I don't know how many "LOL use Nvidia" posts I've seen from Linux users which you just have to be gobsmacked when you realize here is the guys that spend so much time talking about "freedom" while supporting the most FOSS unfriendly company there is. I mean there is a reason why Torvalds gave Nvidia the bird ya know, and it wasn't his way of saying they were #1. AMD has done every single thing the FOSS community asked, they are opening their chips, helping out with Coreboot support, they are probably one of the most FOSS friendly hardware companies there is so lets hope they see that support rewarded, otherwise companies are gonna look at the lack of support AMD got and decide that there is nothing to gain from being open.

Re:Silly AMD (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#43345075)

HDCP was not the issue here, that is the link between the DVI/HDMI port and the monitor. This was about AACS/CSS that is used by BluRay/DVD and the Windows DRM requirements, under the license agreements AMD must protect the video between it is sent to the binary driver as compressed video and is output through the DVI/HDMI port as decoded video. By exposing the hardware API they feared you may be able to snoop on the binary driver on Windows and intercept protected data, worst case it couldn't be fixed in software and AMD would lose all their certifications, all licensed software would update to refuse to play on AMD hardware and it couldn't be used by OEMs that want the "Made for Windows" stickers plus some incredibly ugly contract penalties. So yeah DRM, but not that DRM.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#43345539)

so in short, security by obscurity according to you

Re:Silly AMD (2)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#43345651)

so in short, security by obscurity according to you

According to me? So long as you have both the encrypted data and the key like a BluRay disc and a BluRay player then all DRM is clearly security by obscurity, but it won't stop AMD from getting punished for saying the emperor has no clothes on. They have to pay lip service to DRM no matter what the reality is on TPB.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43349759)

That doesn't change my original point though which is if FOSS users want to be supported they really need to put their money where their mouth is, AMD has bent over backwards to do every single thing the community asked for and when everyone sees piles of "LOL i just buy Nvidia" posts and AMD doesn't see any sales gain from supporting you, why should anybody else? opening chips cost money, paying devs to help with FOSS drivers and to help Coreboot costs money as well and if all AMD gets for supporting FOSS is a bunch of hypocritical "LOL use Nvidia" consumers? well the next company that thinks about supporting FOSS will look at AMD's numbers and see its just not worth it.

And seriously unless you are one of the 2% that is doing constant heavy duty number crunching like the one guy we had on here doing fluid wave simulations? AMD will do everything you need it to AND save you a nice chunk of change. I've been using and selling AMD exclusively for the past 5 years and myself, my family, and my customers couldn't be happier. I paid just $105 for the Phenom X6 I'm typing this on and it'll just blow through any job I can come up with and having 6 cores? VERY nice, you don't realize how nice until you start really throwing the multitasking at one but it sure is sweet. My customers are likewise happy because they get more cores and better graphics chips for less money and for day to day tasks and even gaming the AMD chips have power to spare.

So the ball is in your court FOSS supporters and you really have no excuse. You said "open the code and we'll support you"? They did that. You said "We want open hardware"? They are paying to add extra devs to the FOSS driver teams and has been supporting coreboot. They have done everything asked of them so if the community just ignores all their effort? well the next big company that comes along simply won't support you, as they will see its just not worth the expense.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

jvillain (546827) | about a year ago | (#43350647)

There is all the difference in the world between doing "every thing we asked for" and doing it after the hardware is so obsolete that no one uses it any more.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about a year ago | (#43354401)

I switched from Nvidia to AMD and bought a 7850 a few months ago after seeing that their open source code is making progress.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#43350785)

Actually, the community works pretty hard for AMD and they know it. You know it too. AMD is giving back not just out of gratitude but because it is good for the bottom line.

Re:Silly AMD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43402951)

You are one stupid motherfucker

Re:Silly AMD (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year ago | (#43465649)

Even if Nvidia linux support is better today, that doesn't mean it will stay that way. Even if people buy Nvidia for their current linux setups, that doesn't mean that they aren't rooting for AMD. AMD seems to have more ambition to have better linux support, they just have farther to go.

It may be true that AMD is not seeing a return on their investment *yet*, but it's a pretty typical property of investments that returns are delayed. If AMD starts to take the lead in linux support, I don't see any reason that all these people buying NVIDIA for their linux setups won't switch to AMD.

AMD is a big company. They understand how investments work.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#43350685)

so in short, security by obscurity according to you

According to me? So long as you have both the encrypted data and the key like a BluRay disc and a BluRay player then all DRM is clearly security by obscurity...

At this exact point I zone out and disregard everything you have to say about security, now or ever. You just displayed for the world your complete ignorance of the basics of security, and more specifically, of DRM. No wonder Microsoft is the way it is. Same goes for Hairyfeet by the way.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#43350881)

Ah, same doesn't go for Hairyfeet. Hairyfeet actually gets DRM unlike dunce kjella. Doesn't quite get the open source community though.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43362885)

Oh I "get" open source just fine, its great for small projects but for anything of any size where cooperation is required it shows its true colors, you get a bunch of little fiefdoms with BIG egos run by guys like Ulrich Drepper, so I "get" it just fine.

As for DRM? As long as its only to stop Bob from throwing a disc in nero and hit copy? I have NO problem with that, its when it starts breaking software or hardware like starfuck that I have a problem with it. Take Steam DRM which IMHO is model these companies SHOULD be copying as an example. Can I break any of my Steam games in 20 minutes or less? Sure I can but why would I want to? It does its job, keeping Billy from just dragging the game folder onto a flash and handing it out to all his friends while at the same time not getting in my way and moreover they give ME something in return, a lot of something AAMOF, they give me chat, matchmaking that is as simple as "hey want to play?", patches to my games and the latest drivers for my GPUs, not to mention the crazy huge sales that has left me with so many games I still haven't gotten to all of the games from the fall sale I picked up, not to mention Xmas or the THQ Humble Bundle, in return for all of that? I don't mind them keeping Billy from copying it to a flash. hell they even have one touch backup so if I need to reinstall my OS for any reason i can have my games back up faster than any other software...nice.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#43363731)

I "get" open source just fine, its great for small projects but for anything of any size where cooperation is required it shows its true colors, you get a bunch of little fiefdoms with BIG egos run by guys like Ulrich Drepper, so I "get" it just fine.

Oh, in other words, just like industry in general? Except in the open making it much easier for a self asborbed wag like yourself to criticize the warts, meanwhile missing the entire "open" part.

I stand by my comment: you don't quite get it. But I must admit, you're an entertaining bystander. And actually, I noticed that you're starting to get it. Better watch that, the dark side needs you. And we need the dark side too, it's very efficient at submitting bug reports.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43377501)

Nooo...because in industry as Mittens said you can FIRE someone who is an asshole. Tell me, how can we fire Linus, who IMHO has set Linux back 10 years with his refusal to support an ABI so drivers won't constantly be shit on? How can we fire RMS who by targeting a single company by name probably put back GPL adoption by a good half a decade because corps will be afraid to be the next TiVo and have their name drug through the mud?

The simple fact is you CAN'T which is the problem. The closest FOSS has to firing is forking which frankly is more like a hostile takeover and is a HELL of a lot more work than just getting rid of the bad elements. Hell thanks to voting with our dollars Sinofsky at MSFT got the axe, although as more of the story comes out its starting to sound like he took a bullet meant for Ballmer, even the head of EA is out the door because we voted with our wallets and they paid the price for their bad attitude with plunging profits.

So I'm sorry but there is no comparison, the simple fact that someone like Torvalds can act like a prima donna prick (such as that rant he put out against a guy who frankly was only trying to clean up messes made by OTHER people), just shows the problem all too well. Honestly Torvalds can be as big of a prick as he wants and NOTHING will happen to him, in fact look at Drepper who was practically the definition of douchebag and it took nearly a decade before Debian got tired of his shit and forked.

But this is why I'm always quick to point out Android is NOT Linux as it doesn't operate at all like any distro, thanks to the shitpiles of money Google has they could afford to basically fork the entire thing away from the herd of cats and bring a little sanity. Not much, but a little. And of course if Google ignores us we need only not to buy Android devices for the message to get through loud and clear, they will then change or flop. Thanks to MSFT being pants wettingly retarded when it comes to server licenses Linus could change the kernel so that error messages were a pic of him giving the finger and honestly nothing would come of it, no way to fire him or RMS or any of the old guard no matter how much they don't listen. So I stand by my statement that Linux is NOT an OS, an OS has somebody calling the shots whereas in Linux the kernel guys don't talk to the subsystem guys who ignore the DE guys who don't give a shit about the app guys, because they honestly don't have to.

Re:Silly AMD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43347933)

According to literally everyone on Earth. Security by obscurity is how DRM works.

And by selling a gun...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43347407)

"By exposing the hardware API they feared you may be able to snoop on the binary driver on Windows and intercept protected data"

And by selling a gun, S&W fear you may use it to hold up a bank or commit murder.

Re:Silly AMD (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#43345763)

But for the record, Intel has been amongst the most FOSS friendly as well, since software isn't their core biz any more than it is AMD's. So FOSS advocates who prefer Intel over AMD (including their GPUs) are putting their money where their mouth is. The other thing I noticed about the announcement - isn't AMD supporting Ogg-Theora video playback as well?

Re:Silly AMD (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43345895)

Uh, no. For example, AMD's compiler is open source (a fork of GCC, actually). Intel's is proprietary, and also used to screw over all non-Intel CPUs by deliberately using inefficient codepaths.

Now, Intel is hardly as bad as Nvidia with regards to open source, but they're still jerks.

Nitpick (1)

idunham (2852899) | about a year ago | (#43349825)

Not a fork of GCC, but of Open64, which is the old SGI MipsPRO backend plus a GCC frontend.
Agree with the post, though.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#43350981)

Intel's open source alignment is not due to software vs hardware so much as the fact that Linux rules the massive and growing cloud server market.

Intel & FOSS (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#43351527)

No, it's because Intel has a choice of having their fortunes tied to Microsoft's (as is the case on the desktop) vs having a largely community developed platform, w/ some in-house development to fine tune the result. Since Intel doesn't make its money selling software or drivers, to them, it is irrelevant whether their software is open sourced or not. However, it does help them to be open sourced as they then have a largely ready made platform viz. Linux, on which they develop the rest of whatever they need. That was the case with Meego, and it's the case with anything that they made to ensure that the platform is successful.

Insofar as the bulk of legacy software on the desktop had been Wintel, the Microsoft relationship worked wonders in helping Intel get a big readymade advantage on RISC platforms, even while their manufacturing reduced the gap between the 2. OTOH, the very same relationship saw to it that Intel's own attempts to get away from the x86, like the Itanium, failed for the very same reason. Incidentally, FOSS would have been not just the ideal, but the only solution that would have worked had Itanium been a pure VLIW architecture, as opposed to EPIC initially and multi-processing EPIC later, since recompilation would have been needed w/ every generation.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about a year ago | (#43354409)

But for the record, Intel has been amongst the most FOSS friendly as well

That's because they own most of the IP. Where they don't... see PowerVR/GMA.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43363061)

Yep and sadly they used the power VR stuff on a lot of the Atom units, which with its low power and low price would have been a great makers platform. But luckily we DO have AMD and Bobcat, you can buy a Bobcat board with 1.6GHz dual core and a GPU that will do 1080P over HDMI for just $70 and there are several custom builds for that chip that lets you make cool things like HTPCs out of it, I personally like OpenELEC [] which uses the XBMC frontend and has pretty decent support for remotes.

That is why I don't understand how any FOSS advocate can say intel is more FOSS friendly than AMD, they didn't even bother making sure they could get the code for PowervVR opened before buying, whereas once AMD bought ATI they were looking at opening the code almost out of the gate and have been spending their money opening the drivers, getting the specs into the hands of FOSS devs, even paying to help support not only the guys making Radeon drivers but Coreboot as well.

I have been selling and using AMD exclusively for the past 5 years at the shop and the bang for the buck is just nuts, for the same price that I would have paid for a Pentium dual I got an AMD hexacore that just blows through everything I throw at it with cycles left over. Seriously what's not to like?

Re:Silly AMD (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | about a year ago | (#43346401)

I do hope this gets Linux users to put their money where their mouths are and support AMD, I don't know how many "LOL use Nvidia" posts I've seen from Linux users which you just have to be gobsmacked when you realize here is the guys that spend so much time talking about "freedom" while supporting the most FOSS unfriendly company there is. I mean there is a reason why Torvalds gave Nvidia the bird ya know, and it wasn't his way of saying they were #1.

And guess what? AMD just released a BINARY BLOB just like Nvidia does to add this "support". In other words, to get full support like NVidia gives, you need to use the same method if you want to use an AMD card. I for one will continue to use the cards that have full support for the hardware. As much as AMD is trying to release opensupport drivers, I would rather use hardware that actually uses the hardware as intended (NVidia), and not AMD's where at best, I get 2D graphics support with now some hardware accelleration for video formats.

Re:Silly AMD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43348069)

I really don't care about AMD/ATI any longer. I had it several years ago while living in catalyst hell(literally, and I mean BOTH in Windoze & linux).

3D render freezes(reproducible) in very specific cases, NEVER fixed.

Video playback tearing from hell, NEVER fixed.


I ended up with the ATI 4850 mobility(identical to desktop GPU w/slightly lower clocks) to give them another try, and because, in theory, that GPU had better specs than nVidia's discrete GPUs of the time. It ended up being a HUGE mistake, as evidenced above ATI never got a clue as HOW TO WRITE A FREAKING DRIVER STILL! It was sad/depressing looking forward to EVERY SINGLE monthly catalyst drop in the feeble hope that they actually FIXED some bugs INSTEAD of just adding more, but nope, never happened.

Back to nVidia last summer and probably won't change unless Intel figures out highend GPUs. Pretty shocking that they cannot produce a good GPU to save their life while doing IMO a very good job on CPU design... (...and for the OSS fans their GPU drivers are pretty much OSS and AFAIK always have been. Might have some BLOBs, but I've never bothered to look as the GPUs had such awful perf. unless all you did was basic desktop and video.)

Re:Silly AMD (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43349869)

Sorry, I call bullshit because I HAVE the HD4850, as a matter of fact I have TWO HD4850s and one HD4830 in my family as those are what me and the boys game on and the drivers have been nothing but solid. I can't even remember the last time I saw them put out a shitty driver, in fact come to think of it it was when AMD bought them out and shitcanned the damned .NET tie ins that the graphics drivers suddenly went from bad to good so sorry .NET fans but for driver front ends .NET does sucketh.

But we all are using the latest driver for the card, 13.1 legacy and its fine, it was fine all through the 9s and 10s and 11s and 12s and its fine now. I have also sold a ton of those cards as if someone wants to game on the cheap you can get the HD4850s for around $40 and they'll still play just about all the games out there on med if not high and the ONLY bit of trouble I ever had with the HD4850 was an HTPC where the guy had an older LCD TV without HDMI on it and the card wasn't detecting the correct resolution through DVI. It took maybe 10 minutes to go in and tweak the settings to get it set right and its been humming along happily for the past 2 years, hassle free.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#43351085)

I'm running AMD GPUs of several generations, up to but not including southern islands. Stability is excellent, both for open source and catalyst. I usually run the open source drivers just for the hands-free upgrading, this is worth more to me at the moment than the extra performance from Catalyst. Which gap is steadily closing by the way, the recent release of parallel DMA specs will probably bring things close to parity. Southern Islands is more of a pain, but I can always run Catalyst if I want. Frankly, 6xxx chips work so well for me I don't mind waiting.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43355819)

See? This is the same kind of just total asspull horseshit we get from those I call "FOSSies" that like to put out such "truthful" gems as "Windows gets BSODs every day!"...sorry but if you are getting BSODs then YOU fucked something up or have a hardware failure, hell even Vista was EXTREMELY hard to BSOD, oh it still sucked but it wasn't because of BSODs.

While I haven't used Linux day to day in a year and a half (I got tired of the bullshit like distros replacing things that worked with alpha quality crap like Pulse) I not only sell plenty of the HD4xxx cards to this very day but as i said both myself and both my two boys game on the HD48xx cards every day and they are solid as rocks. even when I have been gaming for hours and get my HD4850 up to just crazy heat temps (seriously whomever decided that should be a single slot card should have been fired) its NEVER crashed or locked up, and I have run every driver that has came out for it at release without skipping a one.

So if this guy is really having all these problems with the mobile HD4850? Well if he were my customer I'd be putting a temp monitor on the thing and running some tests on both the CPU and GPU as I honestly wouldn't be surprised if he pushed the shit out of it without enough cooling and cooked something. You'd be surprised how many go "Oh well its a laptop so i can just set it on this thick bedding or pillow because its a laptop, how much heat can it put out?" and screw the thing up. with a quad core AND an HD4850 in one of those thin plastic laptop chassis? you don't have a serious laptop cooler under that sucker forcing cool air up you could fry it VERY easily.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43346665)

I do hope this gets Linux users to put their money where their mouths are and support AMD

So far, every time I try an AMD card the driver is shit, whether it's the OSS driver or not. I'll try another AMD card when I have good reason to believe that's not true. Right now I'm just praying that my machine holds together for a long time, replacing the fans and whatnot. I keep hoping that if I hold out long enough that something that doesn't make me angry will hit the market. Everything I buy lately is half-assed, though. Not just cheap, I can live with that, but I am dismayed with the widespread trend of a total lack of after support. It's all about release and run.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43363207)

Mind some advice Drinkypoo? If you really want to stretch the life of a machine go to Geeks. i have been using their refurb parts for years with no hassles, their refurbs frankly come better packed than a lot of sites and they just last and last, the PC I'm typing this on has been running one of their HD4850s which I got for just $50 a couple of years back and she runs like a champ.

You haven't said what kind of system you have but if you buy a piece at a time and shop smart frankly you can build a nice system for dirt cheap. The one I'm typing on started like as an Athlon dual with 2GB and a single 300GB HDD, by shopping smart I was able over the course of 2 years build it up to a hexacore with 8GB of RAM and 3TB of HDD space. Believe me with 2 boys and an elderly mom I KNOW how tight money can get!

But if you ever decide you want better than what you have (for all I know you had a fully loaded quad, if that is the case just ignore) feel free to shoot me an email and I'll point you to the places where I get my parts, with a little smart shopping and buying a part here, a part there honestly anybody can have a nice PC.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43367285)

I have a Phenom II X6 1045T on a Gateway GAMA770-UD3P motherboard with a Gigabyte GT240, originally with an X3 720, and with 8GB of G-Skill and an 80GB X25-M and a 320GB somethingorother HDD. It serves all my needs (I could have a little more GPU but the TDP on this one is fantastic and it's paid for) and it is an absolute power sipper. I paid no more than $100 for any individual component, though I did buy a CPU and then buy another CPU later.

There might even be parts in the machine from but I think most of it came from newegg, certainly the original cpu, the motherboard, and all the RAM. I used to be a constant shopper "back in the day" but their prices have really gone up since then, now newegg is cheaper on anything not on sale and most of the stuff geeks has for sale is total shit that no one should ever buy. And since newegg is every bit as good as geeks on after-service (though geeks is excellent!) I have no compunctions about buying from them.

I won't even buy from Tiger Direct :)

Re:Silly AMD (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43377451)

I buy Tiger kits all the time, you should really give them another go. The pretty much shitcanned the entire board there a couple of years back and went to a heavily customer focused mantra and it shows, the few times I've had to send something back because a UPS monkey used it for a tire chuck or somebody fucked up they were just crazy helpful. The system my youngest is gaming on now is actually running a free board from Tiger, somebody fucked up and put a 95w only board with a 125w chip. When i pointed this out and said I really needed to get this done for a customer the service rep just told me to keep the board and he'd express a new board to me and the next day BAM! there it was. It wasn't a bad board they gave me as a replacement either, a nice Biostar office board which was just perfect for what I was building.

Can't blame ya on the 1045T as those ARE pretty sweet chips, I have the 1035T and the oldest the 1045 and they tear through anything we can throw at it. As far as GPUs go I've been AMD since Bumpgate burned me on a couple of cards, the HD4850s are crazy cheap but you are right they ARE heat monsters which is why I'm hanging onto what I got until the HD7770 hits the $65-$75 mark, when you have 2 boys you can't afford to be dropping $120+ a pop on GPUs, especially when all your games run fine. I've found staying one or two revs behind gives the best bang for the buck, I got my HD4850 right before the 6xxx cards hit and its lasted this long so I figure I'll get the same amount of time out of an HD7770. Of course if Geeks has a refurb HD7850 for that price, hell even an HD6850? I'll be snatching.

As an old greybeard shop guy my only advice to you would be...lose the Gateway board dude. Those OEM boards always have worse BIOs, worse support, they always end up more of a PITA than they are worth. I prefer the Asrock and Gigabyte boards, they are cheap, have tons of features, and are well built. But I don't know how many times I've dealt with OEM board only to find they only supported ONE version of Windows and the generic drivers just wouldn't work, I get to play "Hope I can find a driver" for a Toshiba laptop for just that reason, it ONLY supports Windows 8 (On an AMD Bobcat? Really? Talk about trying to pull a boat with a Pinto!) and the nice thing is the new boards support crazy amounts of DDR 3 which is dirt cheap. I'm just glad I slapped 8GB of DDR 2 in mine when it was cheap as I've found Win 7 does NOT like you changing southbridges so its either stick with what I got or the "fun" of re-installing 3+ years of thanks.

But don't judge Tiger based on the old days, they really cleaned up their act in the past couple of years and are now top notch. I don't even know how many Tiger kits I've built the past year but Tiger has been nothing but good, good service, good speed on delivery, and damned good prices on kits, especially if you get their little email flyer. Hell you keep an eye on that thing and they have these crazy "subscriber only" deals, the last one got me an Athlon triple and a nice office board for just $70, how can you beat that?

Re:Silly AMD (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43377771)

Whoops! I meant I have a Giga-byte motherboard, not gateway. My last PC (Athlon 64 X2 4000+) had a Gateway board. It died. I bought a very small Acer board with a cooler and nvidia onboard graphics on eBay for $30 and put the lot into one of those wooden art boxes that people use to carry around their supplies, and used it as an HTPC for a while. There's just too much fan noise though, so now I'm using a Raspberry Pi and a Wii.

I might look at Tiger Direct again, I guess. Most of their bundles have brands I don't like, though, and most of the cheap ones have AMD graphics and I'm still not ready to try that again no matter what you say. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me nine times, shame on me.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43381457)

Can't say anything bad about Gigabyte, they and Asrock are my two "go to" brands. Biostar is fine for basic office boxes but you learn that they ONLY support the chips that were released before the boards were and their CPU support lists are the biggest lies on the planet, but Asrock and Gigabyte have been damned good about putting out firmware updates for newer chips.

And Drinkypoo? Seriously dude FUCK THE IGPs, I mean who gives a shit about IGPs anymore? Sure if you are buying an FM1 or FM2 where its an APU but honestly those are only good for office boxes and media tanks. If it were ME and I didn't like AMD IGPs? You can grab a basic nvidia card for less than $20, hell they often have cards in the $10 range that will curbstomp the IGPs anyway so sticking with an IGP is really pointless. So if you spot a nice Athlon or Phenom kit you can just slap in a cheap card and there ya go, all set.

Finally for a media tank which lets face it is all the Pi and Wii can do anyway? bobcat. They sell Bobcat boards for $70 shipped on amazon or Tiger sells a kit for $120 that gives you everything but the DVD and HDD, even comes with a slick little VCR style case and those Bobcats are nice and quiet while having about the same power as the first gen Core2Duo. You can then use the OpenELEC Fusion build [] which already has the drivers and XBMC baked in and voila! Cheap as hell HTPC that is useful for other tasks like a media server or web surfer. I've used quite a few bobcats and they are nice chips, I was impressed enough I sold my full size laptop and just use an Asus EEE with an E350, does anything I need it to do with great battery life. They are cheap, they are low heat, hell you can even get fanless if you want insanely quiet, and they have enough power they can run the latest browsers and Libreoffice no problemo. I'm probably gonna be ripping the board out of the system I use at the shop for one, that is how much I like 'em, I'll be able to turn that P4 era Sempron into a dual core with 4GB of RAM for like $100...what's not to like?

Re:Silly AMD (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year ago | (#43347361)

AMD has done every single thing the FOSS community asked

Except release updated Catalyst drivers so that our Radeon HD 4000's will work properly on Ubuntu 12.10 and Mint14... but no; our GPU's are apparently ancient (nevermind that mine is in a quad-core laptop w/8GB DDR3 that I bought precisely for running Linux).

Hell, I've even attempted to stick with 12.04 and Mint13, just so that I can have support for H.264 hardware acceleration, etc... guess what? It runs like shit. Even their latest Catalyst drivers (only available for Radeon 5000 series and above) are problematic, with tearing in video, etc (admittedly I haven't tried Catalyst 13.x on a Radeon HD 5000 yet but the guys at Valve don't seem to be reporting good things.

So... while nVidia are certainly a bunch of cocksuckers in the ethics dept (I've been an AMD supporter since the days of the K6-2), smooth video on Linux* currently requires Intel or Nvidia.

*Oddly enough, if you want to run Netflix on XP**, you're shit out of luck with nVidia (at least as of a few month ago); AMD GPU's were the only ones that allowed smooth, tear-free playback.

**I wouldn't know about performance on Vista/7/8; I have no interest in testing those "Great Big Viruses in Disguise."

Re:Silly AMD (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43349993)

Its a shame you don't have Win 7 as the HD4xxx cards are nothing but killer in Win 7, I have an HD4850 and I play pretty much any game I want. As for not releasing Catalyst drivers? DO know they are supporting the FOSS drivers by helping their devs for precisely that reason, right? so that all the legacy cards will be supported by the FOSS driver so they only have to worry about the latest and greatest?

And I get hate for pointing this out but fuck it truth is truth if you want to direct some hate at someone direct it at Linus "I'm too fucking good for an ABI" Torvalds. After all I can dig out the CD that came with MY HD4xxx card 3 years ago and it'll install and run fine, its Torvalds constant fiddling that makes you get stuck on old versions NOT AMD or anybody else. Hell name another OS that does NOT have an ABI, OSX, Windows, BSD, Solaris, hell even OS fricking 2 has an ABI, so either every OS designer on the planet is an idiot or Torvalds is, i think its the latter.

Oh and the ACs can save their breath, i don't give a rat's ass to hear Torvalds pathetic excuses, as excuses are like assholes and they ALL stink. At the end of the day you can't change the fact that MY drivers work and this guy's drivers DO NOT WORK and THAT is why having an ABI is important. Otherwise companies have to pay dev teams to support shit they haven't sold in years, all because Torvalds is a jerk. The HD4xxx is a 5 year old card that doesn't even share anything in common with the new gen cards, it was VLIW 4 and the new cards are vector based GP-GPUs so nothing AMD is doing now can be used on those old cards which is why they no longer support them.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year ago | (#43351087) DO know they are supporting the FOSS drivers by helping their devs for precisely that reason, right?

Yes. :) This is why I've settled (for the time being) on Mint 14 with the FOSS drivers; admittedly H.264 is a lot smoother than it was a few months ago as long as I play it in VLC and not in the browser (i.e. Flash). I actually RTFA; forthcoming VDPAU support for the FOSS drivers sounds like a dream come true. Any idea how good OpenGL performance is on the FOSS drivers?

Re:Silly AMD (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#43351143)

...its Torvalds constant fiddling that makes you get stuck on old versions NOT AMD or anybody else. Hell name another OS that does NOT have an ABI...

Name another OS that rules the world in nearly every segment except desktop. Linus is crazy like a fox. Remember, you are only whining about the module ABI. The userspace ABI is an entirely different story. Linus has rather famously and aggressively defended the userspace ABI on several occasions recently, as he always has.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43355797)

Oh bullshit, make me the head of MSFT tomorrow and I could have Torvalds flipping burgers in less than 2 "Winserver now comes in 4 versions from $100 for home to $750 for datacenter and NO USER CALS" and in less than a year the Linux server numbers would be in freefall.

Linus gets away with his STUPID SHIT, and that is EXACTLY what it is because you have to be one arrogant son of a bitch to think you are smarter than every other fucking OS team ON THE PLANET, simply because MSFT has been thumb up their ass retarded when it comes to licenses. Hell I build fucking Windows boxes for a living and if you asked me about setting up a server unless it was a domain controller even I would be using Linux, not because I think its great, but because MSFT licensing is so damned retarded you practically have to hire a lawyer just to go through the 20 pages of legalese bullshit to see whether you have to worry about getting reamed by a BSAA audit or not.

Again name ONE major OS besides linux that does shit Torvalds way, JUST ONE. You can't because everybody can plainly see what that gets you, my drivers WORK and his DO NOT, because in Linux drivers have about as long a shelf life as Lindsey Lohan's sobriety. Just the fact that you will sit here with a straight fucking face and try to defend the fact that drivers "go bad" on Linux like bread thanks to tovralds bullshit just shows how conditioned the Linux community has gotten to taking shit from prima donnas but if Windows or OSX or any other OS broke fucking drivers at even HALF the rate Torvalds does everyone would be having a shitfit. Hell I've run fricking XP drivers on Windows 7, an OS that came out NINE YEARS after XP and as long as I matched the bit, like 32bit for 32bit? Its worked fine. Good luck on your running even the drivers that came with that 3 year old graphics card in Linux because thanks to Torvalds bullshit they just won't work. I'm sorry but that is BULLSHIT and no matter how you spin it or polish it the fact that I can have a driver that works today get shit all over by simply updating the OS is a bad fucking joke.

The only reason that corps pay Linux admins to put up with Torvalds driver breaking bullshit is the competition is stupidly priced and has the most fucked up legalese licenses bar none.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

NGRhodes (2742089) | about a year ago | (#43356269)

Could you link to me where you are getting you Windows server pricing from ? According to [] Their cheapest is $501 with a 25 cal limit and the datacenter edition is $4,809 per processor plus cal licences needed on top.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43381875)

Dude that was my POINT, that the ONLY reason Linux has jack squat when it comes to servers is that MSFT is thumb up their ass retarded when it comes to licenses.

As I said you make me the head of MSFT and I could wipe Linux off the map in under 2 years simply by getting rid of CALs and going to flat pricing, which your links just show why Linux has any decent share. It is for THIS reason why Linus can be a prima donna prick, he knows that MSFT is bug fucking stupid when it comes to licensing which means he can do anything he wants and will still get paid, the market has NO CHOICE but either put up with his bullshit or bend over for MSFT.

This is why I'm not holding out much hope for MSFT as long as Ballmer is in charge, he cares more about what Wall Street thinks than in owning markets and this shows in everything he does, from fucking the Windows desktop to try to force a foot into mobile (because Wall Street likes Apple so we have to ape them!) to the rumor that the Xbox 720 is gonna be online only DRM fest (Wall Street likes lock in so we need lock in even if it runs off customers!) to braindead moves like killing the market gaining playsforsure to replace it with a badly done copy of the Apple appstore the entire company is being run by Dilbert's PHB, spending all their time reading the financial times and looking to play buzzword bingo instead of running the damned company. if you were to put me in charge? I could double the share in 2 years or you wouldn't owe me a dime, I'd crush Linux like a bug, make the 720 as easy to use and user friendly as Steam, I'd make PC gaming and console gaming one big experience, I'd fucking OWN the planet by the time I'm through...but as long as its run by those that only care about stock price? Well Linus can do what he pleases, he really doesn't have any competition.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year ago | (#43351287)

You think XP is less of a "Great Big Virus in Disguise" than Win7? Hahahahahhaha. XP is outdated, insecure crap.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year ago | (#43352247)

You think XP is less of a "Great Big Virus in Disguise" than Win7

You obviously know nothing of "DRM Engines" or the myriad ways in which the NT kernel evolved during Longhorn development. Why the fuck do you think NT 6.x and above consist of so many lines of code?! Shit, when I set up XP, it runs in 70 to 110MB of ram... and that's with wireless and printing support and a firewall enabled!

However, your strawman is definitely real:

XP is outdated: check.

XP is insecure: check.

XP is crap: Most assuredly.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#43350913)

you can't give away somebody else's IP without getting sued and possibly having your chips blacklisted? For those that don't know HDCP is property of Intel which means AMD had to sign a license agreement and NDA to allow their systems to support HDCP.

Your thesis is that Intel can restrict distribution of source code because they have IP on HDCP? I would like to see them try it. Three word: restraint of trade. If US watchdogs won't enforce, EU will.

Re:Silly AMD (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#43345079)

Camera switches to AMD spokesman...

hands are over his ears
eye's closed
"lalalalalalalalalalalalala...I can't hear you...lalalalalalalala"

Yay? (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year ago | (#43344683)

hardware accelerated playback for cpus that have no issue playing 1080p content. Guess this will help anyone stuck with a netburst P4 or Celeron.

Re:Yay? (3, Informative)

MatthewNewberg (519685) | about a year ago | (#43344693)

Helps with battery life, and can allow you to run other things while playing video without a large performance hit.

Re:Yay? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43344711)

Well, this is huge for laptop platforms, as the power efficiency of UVD vs. processor decoding is much much better. Regardless, while a modern cpu can decode 1080p fine in general, it will be more power effecient, reduce the load on your system, and generally smoother playback to use UVD.

Re:Yay? (5, Insightful)

click2005 (921437) | about a year ago | (#43344713)

It makes the AMD platform much more appealing for low power media boxes.

Re:Yay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43344715)

It's about efficiency. Sure, that sledgehammer can kill flies, but why not wield the fly swatter for flies and the sledgehammer for...sledges?, potentially using both at once.

Also, embedded x86 is a thing.

I'm still rockin an Athlon XP 6000 (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year ago | (#43344905)

And can't do 1080p w/o hardware excel. My CPU might be old, but it's still miles ahead of an i3 and bumps up against the low end i5s.

Re:I'm still rockin an Athlon XP 6000 (1)

petman (619526) | about a year ago | (#43345847)

What's an Athlon XP 6000? Athlon XP only goes up to 3200+, doesn't it?

Re:I'm still rockin an Athlon XP 6000 (1)

FreonTrip (694097) | about a year ago | (#43348525)

Maybe he's talking about an Athlon(64) X2 6000+? If that's the case it's not competitive with any i3 I've ever heard of and wouldn't even make my Lynnfield i5 750 sweat, never mind an Ivy Bridge. But it should manage 1080p video OK... Maybe a player upgrade is needed.

Re:Yay? (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year ago | (#43345829)

The AMD Fusion boards come with 1.6GHz (Atom-equivalent) processors and integrated Radeons. They can't handle 1080p on the CPU, but can on the GPU. They're low power, so are good choices for home cinema boxes.

Re:Yay? (2)

ssspiff (2887157) | about a year ago | (#43347765)

Fusion chips are better than Atom equivalent (at least on a per clock ratio base). Atom's often don't offer 64-bit support, and don't have out of order execution. In practical benchmarks, an AMD Fusion clocked at 1GHz will perform similar to a 1.6GHz Atom.

They do seem to use a bit more power than an Atom in my experience, but overal I'm very satisfied with Fusion hardware for low-power devices. I own two, a netbook and a tablet, both work fine and are very snappy for their price, age and specs. A friend of mine owns a full-size laptop with Fusion hardware and she reports an excellent Linux experience as well.

Re:Yay? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year ago | (#43350115)

Yes, that wasn't an exact comparison. They're aimed at the same approximate market segment as Atom, but AMD isn't as terrified as Intel of cannibalising their more expensive chip sales. I have one that I use for NAS and media server stuff. It's connected to my projector (and plays back iPlayer video and DVDs fine) and has 3 2TB disks in it in a RAID-Z arrangement. I'm looking forward to the AMD drivers on FreeBSD stabilising a bit more and being able to get accelerated video. I bought it because there were no Atom boards with enough SATA ports for RAID-Z and an optical drive.

Re:Yay? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about a year ago | (#43347533)

Hardware accelerated video still looks better no matter how fast the system you're using. I use an Nvidia card but unless VDPAU (hardware accelerated decoding) is enabled the video has screen tearing present that makes it look terrible - even on a 2.5Ghz AMD quad-core system. Its not that the system can't keep up - it'll decode the stream in real-time just fine if I want to play it. Its just that the video looks like crap.

Re:Yay? (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year ago | (#43348253)

Your mistake was in not saying to yourself: Hey, self ... some company with many .experts, all of whom have far more understanding and skill than do I, saw fit to put accelerated video playback on the GPU. I'm thinking of posting on Slashdot about how ridiculous that is, but maybe I'll just remain silent and assume that I am actually the clueless one."

Re:Yay? (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | about a year ago | (#43351697)

Or someone with a Core i5 laptop who wants dedicated playback to safe battery life.

Someone explain this to me (3, Informative)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about a year ago | (#43344749)

So the article links "The code just arrived" to a folder with .bin firmware files and this license:

REDISTRIBUTION: Permission is hereby granted, free of any license fees,
to any person obtaining a copy of this microcode (the "Software"), to
install, reproduce, copy and distribute copies, in binary form only, of
the Software and to permit persons to whom the Software is provided to
do the same, provided that the following conditions are met:

No reverse engineering, decompilation, or disassembly of this Software
is permitted.

Redistributions must reproduce the above copyright notice, this
permission notice, and the following disclaimers and notices in the
Software documentation and/or other materials provided with the

Did AMD actually release any source as the title suggests? Where is it? Or did they just make using/redistributing their firmware legal?

Re:Someone explain this to me (1)

omglolbah (731566) | about a year ago | (#43344777)

Seems they released firmware and perhaps some patches to modules to allow their use...

Quite far from open-source UVD engine source code.... sigh

Re:Someone explain this to me (1)

jonwil (467024) | about a year ago | (#43344835)

It looks like its a combination of a userspace patch, a kernel patch (if you click "next message" on the one with the firmware link you will see all 10 of the patches) and some microcode firmware that is either loaded onto the card or interpreted by an interpreter in the driver (not sure which).

Nope, no source code. Just binary blobbage. (3, Informative)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43344927)

Nope, no source code. Just binary blobbage.
linky [] leads to
linky []
which is a directory full of .bin files of Radeon microcode patches. Does not appear to be source at all, even though the article at Phoronix [] claims that there is a release of "open source driver code":
Within the next few hours AMD will be publishing open-source driver code that exposes their Unified Video Decoder (UVD) engine on modern Radeon HD graphics cards. This will finally allow open-source graphics drivers to take advantage of hardware-accelerated video decoding

A comment on their discussion page is more insightful and likely to be right:

This should read "AMD Releases UVD Support For (Partially) Open Source Driver" instead, since likely 90% (the exciting part; if it's anything like on NV) of the UVD code is pre-compiled in the blob firmware ... (the percentage may be open for debate)

So it looks like that comment is right: everything's hidden in a binary blob and there is no source code released at all at this time.

Re:Nope, no source code. Just binary blobbage. (5, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#43345055)

The question is - the driver (the part that Linux runs) is open sourced. It just interfaces with parts that aren't (the firmware).

A modern graphics card is programmable - they run various programs (and you know them for doing stuff like GPGPU and CUDA, and even LLVM). So the firmware files are there to load the hardware decoder blocks onto the GPU.

For AMD cards, the card does the whole video decode chain - you feed it in h.264 or VC-1, and it parses the stream, decodes it and renders it all on the chip. nVidia cards require CPU assistance - they do the IDCTs and YUV transforms and other acceleration, but not the entire stream on card.

So they open-sourced the part your CPU runs, while the GPU part is still a binary blob that the driver loads onto the GPU so it can start feeding it the encoded stream and have the GPU decode and display it.

There's not much else to it - they could open source the firmware, but that's often highly proprietary and may contain licensed code from elsewhere. Plus, there may be a bunch of other technologies involved (i.e. the compiler) that they can't open-source. And most people won't have use for that code anyhow - it's firmware. It's just like the firmware that runs your WiFi card, your NIC, etc. - they often make the interface public and leave the rest of it proprietary.

Re:Nope, no source code. Just binary blobbage. (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43345257)

Okay, thanks for the info. But where exactly is the link for and where exactly is the source code for the "open source" API to this proprietary firmware code blob? I agree that open sourcing the interface is useful alone: knowing what the hooks are lets you access more of the capabilities of the card.

Re:Nope, no source code. Just binary blobbage. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43345369)

Tried reading the +5 informative comment posted 1 hour before yours [] ?

13 minutes after, not one hour before (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43345515)

That comment you're referring to [] was posted 13 minutes after my comment [] which is currently a +4 informative comment. I just hadn't followed the thread and seen it. Nyah. so there. :>p

Re:Nope, no source code. Just binary blobbage. (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#43348201)

Okay, thanks for the info. But where exactly is the link for and where exactly is the source code for the "open source" API to this proprietary firmware code blob? I agree that open sourcing the interface is useful alone: knowing what the hooks are lets you access more of the capabilities of the card.

I would think the APIs would be "documented" by the source code that was released. After all, the code would show how to load a program onto the GPU, get it running (it's not a trivial operation considering all the things that have to be set up so the GPU can run your code amidst everything else it does).

Then the driver will have to interface between userspace and get the video data to the card, which the code will show as well. The firmware being loaded is specific to video decode, so there wouldn't be much to it - just grab the block of video data, somehow point the card at it via bus mastering (DMA), and kick the firmware into decoding it at the right time.

You won't access more capabilities because the firmware you loaded only does one thing - it's a program that configures the card to do hardware video decoding. Depending on the video, it may demand so much GPU resources that the GPU can't do 3D rendering as well, kicking the system into 2D mode (on Windows, it would be switching from Aero to Basic). Or maybe not (e.g., a DVD won't do it, but a Blu-Ray will), if the load is small.

There's very little the firmware offers software - just enough hooks to be able to decode the video. You can't use it to render triangles or mine bitcoins or whatever with that firmware - you have to load in your bitcoin mining firmware or 3D render pipeline firmware to do those things (these things are normally done by asking the driver to compile and load your GPGPU code).

At best, you'll learn how the IPC works between the host CPU and the GPU.

Re:Nope, no source code. Just binary blobbage. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43345297)

Thats not acceptable. This is why we need to go out and produce our own hardware. An impossible task it might seem. Its not really though. If you actually look at the numbers it's just an extremely difficult task. The sole reason it is such a difficult task is because the users don't care or don't know to care. The end result is we end up with substandard support. Stuff that doesn't work, doesn't work right, or stops working down the line. We need a policy of release it all or we won't use it/don't want it.

ThinkPenguin's got that basic policy and they are don't extremely well. They have the biggest catalog or at least the largest variety of hardware anywhere.

Re:Nope, no source code. Just binary blobbage. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43345393)

Nope, no source code. Just binary blobbage.

Then what the hell is all this:

Re:Nope, no source code. Just binary blobbage. (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | about a year ago | (#43352075)

This isn't the 90's anymore...

GPU drivers, today, aren't targetting hardware directly. It's not like one fires up Carmageddon, which talks to Glide, which talks to graphics card anymore.

Here's to illustrate what's going on, going from hardware to application:
0. Hardware: processes data;
1. Firmware: tells binary to go this way or that way;
2. Kernel drivers (called the Direct Rendering Manager): Memory manager buffers to time-slice between all kinds of GPGPU apps (like OpenGL, OpenCL, MPEG*-decoding, etc.), scheduler to schedule the apps and KMS for 2D shiny correct-resolution stuff;
3. Bytecode, aka IR (Intermediate Representation);
4. LLVM-driver to convert library (OpenGL, OpenCL, etc.) stuff to Gallium3D IR;
5. Library with routines from API to LLVM driver;
6. Apps/frameworks/whatever.

The driver for the UVD is called a state tracker (lib[5] plus driver[4]). Everything below [3] is graphics card specific. The rest is vendor-agnostic.

Since there needs to be a State Tracker, in this case a VDPAU implementation in the Mesa "pipe-video"-branche (merged with master), it's not AMD specific at all. (works with nouveau (Gallium3D nVidia driver) It is, however, called a driver.

Then there is the scheduler, memory and firmware stuff. They need to adress Gallium3D IR, by sending it to the appropriate driver.

So you will not, whatsoever, be looking at a single driver, to learn how AMD does their DRM. (as in Digital Rights Management, not to be confused with the Direct Rendering Manager)

It's like a Java VM, so with a correct LLVM CPU backend driver, one can run heavily threaded GPU stuff directly on the CPU, which is dumb as hell for end usage.

Re:Nope, no source code. Just binary blobbage. (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43353185)

Thanks for the detailed reply. I'm fairly new to a lot of this, but still very interested in it. I'm also writing X11 code, using Xlib routines rather than an overlying window manager style thing. I'm not a masochist, I'm just trying to learn the details from some good X examples. I've written some OpenGL stuff also. And I'm interested in learning the details from the ground up and from the high-level abstractions down. Get the devil in the details squeezed from above and below, if I can. Again, thanks for outlining the layers.
I was also trying to learn the kernel drivers for some frame-buffer stuff for intel, as my dad bought an el-cheapo notebook. I can get X running just fine with Knoppix 7.04 and 7.05 for the notebook itself (which has 1024x600 pixels), but when you also try to use the hdmi output, it doesn't work. You always get a 1024x600 window with noisy (nonblinking) trash pixels around it on the HDMI screen to the full extent of the HDMI screen's pixel dimensions. I tried to see if I could inject (poke values directly into the video-buffer ram) some pixels outside of the recognized screen area, and thus learn how the memory mapping of the screen is capable of throwing the extraneous pixels on the HDMI screen, but the Xorg X display driver is only putting the display's pixels on the truncated 1024x600 window on the upper left. It's frustrating. (it's a walmart special Acer netbook, with the intel chip and the integrated video chip, 97xx maybe I don't remember off of the top of my head.)

Re:Nope, no source code. Just binary blobbage. (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | about a year ago | (#43356291) is now pretty much implemented as a State Tracker for Gallium3D ;) 2D networking X11 stuff in Xlib doesn't work if compoziting and using 3D, so that's why X11 is being axed and replaced by HTML5 in the widget toolkits Qt and GTK, and also by Wayland. Wayland sits on top of what now sits on, and is purely a Window Manager.

Xlib is outdated, even for now uses XCB ( C-Bindings).

If you want to poke at the frame buffer, try directly talking to the Kernel Mode Setting driver ;)

Re:Someone explain this to me (5, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#43344983)

Did AMD actually release any source as the title suggests? Where is it? Or did they just make using/redistributing their firmware legal?

There's three parts:
1. Microcode update (not open source, never was)
2. Kernel patches (open source)
3. Mesa patches (open source)

The first post leads to an email, but if you go to thread mode you'll see 10 kernel patches following it and the mesa patches are in the other link in the Phoronix article. This is a real open source driver, as open source as the rest of their driver. I must honestly say I'd given up hope that this would ever get released, but fantastic that it has. This has literally been years in the works, but now that the hurdles have been crossed hopefully this support is here to stay for future generations of cards as well.

Re:Someone explain this to me (3, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | about a year ago | (#43345799)

Indeed it is. People are getting their knickers in a twist over microcode for the GPU (which is probably just a microcode update) that probably target a custom architecture, compiled by a custom compiler, and which in themselves provide the advertised functionality (decoding h.264, etc). It's firmware, it's conjoined to the hardware (which is also closed-source) to make the hardware do something useful. By having firmware, you can add features down the line (e.g., VP8, H.265) as well, that you couldn't do with totally fixed hardware.

Note that many CPUs include lots of microcode themselves, where the advertised ISA instructions are actually small microcode programs. Of course they're less complex than video decode microcode, but they're the same thing overall. The CPU microcode is probably also generated via a custom assembler/compiler or hand-written.

you Fail It! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43344937)

FrreBSD at about 80 don't want to feel Minutes now while sure that by the of OpenBSD versus pallid bodies and join in especially corpse turned over escape them by of Walnut Creek, Stagnant. A5 Linux All our times have Nigger Association playing so it's list of other much as Windows other members in

Re:you Fail It! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43345017)

+1 insightful

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