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ATI Committed To Fixing Its OSS Problems

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the about-time dept.

Graphics 205

Sits writes "Chris Blizzard blogged from the Red Hat summit that an ATI marketing spokesman said, from the stage, that ATI knows it has a problem with open source and is committed to fixing it. Does this mean ATI will finally resolve alleged agpgart misappropriation, and fast track the release of open source 2D drivers on its latest cards while releasing specifications for its mid-range cards? Or is ATI only concerned with fixes to its binary driver to maintain feature parity with competitors?"

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Likely binary drivers only. (5, Insightful)

danomac (1032160) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068043)

I'd wager a guess they're going to fix the binary drivers only.

Why would they open a spec when they can compete with the binary drivers?

Re:Likely binary drivers only. (5, Interesting)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068117)

The video card industry is so secretive with thier software. ATI even locks the BIOS so after POST you cannot access the card to download it. They are so afraid that the competiition will find out how they work or that someone else will build a better driver. This is the only part of the PC buisiness that is this large, yet this secretive. I thing that they are just overly paranoid.

Re:Likely binary drivers only. (4, Interesting)

div_2n (525075) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068727)

Or maybe they have some sloppy hacks to try to improve frame rates for certain games so that they score better in comparisons. Anyone remember the Quake 3 [slashdot.org] fiasco that ATI was involved with?

Re:Likely binary drivers only. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068877)

Really I don't understand it either. Unless there's things like the Quake.exe hack all over their drive code, to make the cards seem better than they are, I don't see why source code has so much to do with it. They are in the business of selling hardware. They should ensure that their hardware works as well as possible, on as many platforms as possible. If that means open sourcing drivers, then I don't see the problem. I'm sure that they could even get a performance boost if they let millions of hackers with tons of free time optimize things for them.

What's really needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19068913)

Is a law. Basically, so that no hardware can be sold unless the full specifications are included.

Re:Likely binary drivers only. (5, Insightful)

Shazow (263582) | more than 7 years ago | (#19070821)

Actually, it's more likely that the reason all their software is locked away and kept secret is because it's probably infringing on numerous software patents. When Joe Sixpack can go down to the patent office and register a doubly linked list as his own invention, lots of possibilities for lawsuits open up.

I did some research into this for a course, but I don't have sources to cite off the top of my head. Definitely something worth looking into.

- shazow

Re:Likely binary drivers only. (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068135)

Why would they open a spec when they can compete with the binary drivers?


Because they can compete with open source drivers. Otherwise, why would Microsoft fear Red Hat and Novell?

Re:Likely binary drivers only. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068563)

Because they can compete with open source drivers. Otherwise, why would Microsoft fear Red Hat and Novell?

The closed-source drivers are already competing with the open-source drivers.

So far, they are winning, for most users. (although those of us who still have machines with antiquated hardware like a Rage 128 receive no help from them.)

Re:Likely binary drivers only. (3, Interesting)

danomac (1032160) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068597)

Because they can compete with open source drivers. Otherwise, why would Microsoft fear Red Hat and Novell?

C'mon, we all know the likelihood of them doing that is slim to none. There's nothing pressuring them to do this. Last I checked, NVidia doesn't have open source drivers either.

As the poster above you indicated, the video card industry is pretty secretive. The chances of them opening the spec and revealing their "trade secrets" are extremely slim to none. Unless something else happens in the industry where they will have to follow suit they won't open the spec.

Even if they do open the spec, it sure wouldn't be for their most recent cards. It'll be for cards that were sold several years ago, so they can protect their designs.

Right now they can compete with binary drivers.

Re:Likely binary drivers only. (1)

EvilRyry (1025309) | more than 7 years ago | (#19070107)

He said

"most people are worried about what they will lose...IP, etc...we're worried about what we can win."

That certainly sounds like he means open source. But as they say, words are cheap.

Does this mean ....... (5, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068045)

Why dont you ask ATI what it means. How is Slashdot supposed to be privy to ATI's roadmap?

Re:Does this mean ....... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19068253)

MOD the parent up!
This sounds like a waste of discussion or speculation to me too.

Does this mean .......The new and improved geek. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19068635)

Funny you got modded troll. Guess geeks aren't like they use to be. Yes back in the day we'd do research. Now you have these new-fangled inventions like the Internet, and E-mail and people still don't do research.

So release source already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19068095)

Until ATI release drivers for their latest cards and start supporting the X.org Radeon developers again, it's all just talk. Releasing specs. for "older" cards would be a bonus, but source in the trunk X.org Radeon driver should be the bare minimum.

Sick of fglrx (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19071003)

I'm with you. I just want support for xorg because I'm sick of running fglrx drivers, they suck.

Twofo GNAA ATi FAggots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19068151)

University of Warwick file sharing faggots. [twofo.co.uk]

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Re:Twofo GNAA ATi FAggots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19069751)

Eat a bowl of sliced, roasted dicks.

This is not news (2, Insightful)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068199)

If you read the original article that all of this questioning is derived from you realize the article summary has more content than the linked story. This means aproximately nothing. ATI pays lip service to open source software news at 11.

Re:This is not news (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 7 years ago | (#19070479)

...service to open source software news at 11.
If open source software ever makes news at 11, I'll be amazed. The traditional media doesn't understand that PC != MS.

Open Source supporters within ATI (4, Informative)

plcurechax (247883) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068241)

I know from talking to them at the Ottawa Linux Symposium a couple of years ago that the technical people within ATI were keen to support Linux the best that the could, but said they were mainly limited by management / legal to aim for competing with whatever nVidia offered the Linux community. If nVidia offered a complete open source driver, they would be pressured to do the same.

Re:Open Source supporters within ATI (4, Interesting)

dpilot (134227) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068785)

I have owned or made purchasing decisions for 6 3D graphics cards.
* 2 were Matrox G400s, based on their being the first mainstream card to get 3D hardware support under Linux. I even ran Utah-GLX on one.
* 1 was an ATI Radeon 8500LE, based on price/performance and the existence of the open source R200 drivers.
* 3 are nVidia cards, since there's no competitive contemporary open source 3D any more, and the quality of nVidia's binary seems to be better. There are reverse-engineering efforts on both, but it's unclear who will be the clear winner on this.

So I *have* put my money where my mouth is, and will continue to do so.

I also recommend hardware for friends and co-workers, and this is a factor. Even for a friend who is only going to use Windows, if all else is equal I would advise that he "reward" the company for its Linux support. Notice that in this case I said, "all else is equal," and let the friend know why I gave the advice I did.

Re:Open Source supporters within ATI (3, Insightful)

krbvroc1 (725200) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069107)

So much for showing a little leadership? Basically, we will just follow nVidia. I've got 1U Supermicro rackmount servers that have ATI 'Rage MX' chipsets on them and there is not even a solution for these chips other than a very slow unaccelerated driver. They don't even have a working binary driver.

ATI's lack of driver quality and commitment has always been a problem for me. I went from 3dfx to Nvidia and have never personally purchased an ATI product specifically because of their poor Linux support.

Marketing? (4, Funny)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068265)

an ATI marketing spokesman said, from the stage, that ATI knows it has a problem with open source and is committed to fixing it.

There goes the good old problem solving by marketing. Wait until their developers hear about this :)

Re:Marketing? (2, Insightful)

CaptnMArk (9003) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069061)

Marketing is not a problem. Lawyers and managers are.

Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19068283)

Too many questions, please move along.

I'll believe it when.... (4, Interesting)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068305)

I'll believe that AMD/ATI is fixing their problems when I can have a driver that:
  1. Supports XvMC
  2. Supports the tuner on my All-in-Wonder, either via XVideo or Video For Linux
  3. Has reasonable 3D performance without locking up (GoogleEarth will kill my card dead in seconds, requiring a hard power off to fix it.)
  4. Has reasonable 2D acceleration.
  5. Runs on the current release of the kernel - on i386 and i386-64 AT LEAST.
  6. Supports PCIe cards


This is *the* limiting factor which has prevented me from buying a new computer - any new machine would be an i386-64 with PCIe video, and right now the only real choice there would be Intel graphics.

Re:I'll believe it when.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19068417)

> Supports the tuner on my All-in-Wonder, either via XVideo or Video For Linux

That would be video4linux (or, really, v4l2); the gatos project supports some of this. Xvideo support for this is through the Xv/v4l extension which is part of xorg.

Re:I'll believe it when.... (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068525)

This is *the* limiting factor which has prevented me from buying a new computer - any new machine would be an i386-64 with PCIe video, and right now the only real choice there would be Intel graphics.

First the nit: i386-64? Are you on crack? If you want to call it something cutesy, call it AMD64. The 486 was the last non-RISC CPU either AMD or intel made. Everything since has been internally [mostly] RISC with an x86 decoder glued onto it.

Now the meat: Why is nvidia not an option?

And actually, a better question: why all-in-wonder? For little more money you can get dramatically more quality.

Re:I'll believe it when.... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069093)

I made the mistake twice of buying an integrated TV tuner. First it was an ATI TV card that only worked with other ATI Video cards, and then it was the Voodoo 3500. I now have a hauppauge 150, and I am happy to know that I won't have to buy another TV card for a long time to come. It's also nice to know that if I replace my video card, that I don't have to replace my TV Card.

Re:I'll believe it when.... (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069043)

I'm not criticizing any of your points, as I've butted my head against them many times myself. My question however, is this:

Which graphics cards are the developers using ? We have all these frameworks and APIs for graphics acceleration, video capture, etc, and yet hardly anyone can use them with mainstream hardware. We can blame the manufacturers all day long, but who's to say the open-source "glue" is not the source of some of these problems ?

Here's my view, and I'm horribly outdated when it comes to driver development so bear with me here. What if we just let NVidia and ATI do their binary drivers, and instead of pressuring them into releasing crippled open-sourced versions, why not work WITH them to come up with an ABI layer that's suitable for both parties ? I don't give a damn about politics, I just want my $600 video card to work with X and decent 3D performance. Instead, I have a 2nd little "linux box" with pathetic hardware because anything newer/faster makes X blow cores. Clearly, we can't convince ATI/NVidia to release pure open-source drivers so maybe it's time to give up that doomed battle and try a new strategy.

Re:I'll believe it when.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19069437)

Here's my view, and I'm horribly outdated when it comes to driver development so bear with me here. What if we just let NVidia and ATI do their binary drivers, and instead of pressuring them into releasing crippled open-sourced versions,

Why would they release crippled open-source versions? It's their code along with their hardware specs. They're in the best position to write the best drivers for their respective hardware, so there really is no excuse to release a "crippled' open-sourced version of their driver. Secondly, and this has been said many times, OSS developers don't even care whether Nvidia or ATI release drivers, they just want the hardware specs to the cards so that they can write their own drivers.

Re:I'll believe it when.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19070425)

There is no ABI layer that would be suitable for the Linux kernel, so that is no solution. Bottom line is that support for Linux means an open source driver, or huge amounts of effort. The video card companies don't want to do either.

Re:I'll believe it when.... (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19071189)

i have a 7500 AIW and my only quible is the phantom KM module (required to do capture)

if you have the packages for gatos (or the ati dkms set)
you should be able to get both avview and xawtv to work (both programs may not auto set to sane values but..)

People tend to say OSS support ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19068351)

... when they only mean 'Linux support'. And personally, I don't consider closed source binaries OSS support at all. AMD has been good about making the information available for open-source programmers so their chips can be supported. Perhaps their purchase of ATI will force a shift in the corporate culture there too. Well, we can hope.

Re:People tend to say OSS support ... (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069701)

Mod that post right up. Intel are doing it the right way, by releasing DRI drivers. Any operating system that wants to support DRI can then use the Intel DRI drivers. Once the DRI code is running on a kernel, it's just a matter of porting the small glue layer for each card (or card family) and then the bulk of the driver can be compiled and used whatever the underlying architecture is.

Even the nVidia binary drivers have wider support than ATi, since they work on OpenSolaris and FreeBSD as well as Linux.

Current State (5, Interesting)

scubanator87 (1023313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068397)

I am currently running the *newst* ati binary drivers and although they have added the Catalyst Control center (improvement ofer the old fglrx control center) mine (and a few other people i know using the same driver) cant seem to get dual monitor to work. And with the Opensource ati driver atleast AIGLX works but still no dual head display.

          ATI needs to step up the quality of their coding and there is no *good* reason why ati does not support AIGLX and why their 8.35.5 is having problems with dual monitors. Because my laptop uses ati and i was so displeased with its state of drivers forced me to go with nvidia when i built my desktop a year ago. Im sure many people using Linux stay clear of ati when possible for the same reason. When and if they get their stuff together it will receive a warm welcome...if they do it right that is.

Also why is it people need programs like envy [albertomilone.com] to install their drivers. Hopefully ATI and nvidia will pick up the slack hear and make it easer to install the drivers.

Re:Current State (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068579)

You're lucky having something as sophisticated as dual monitors broken. On FireGL T2, the proprietary ATI drivers don't load textures properly. Programs like Second Life become a total mess and eventually lock up the system.

Re:Current State (1)

SirTalon42 (751509) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069091)

And I say you're lucky. On the X300 in my laptop I can't even log into SL (it seems to run at around 1 frame a minute on just the login screen while spamming that it failed to allocate memory, a similar error message to the one with regards to /dev/shm not being mounted, but completely unrelated to (/dev/shm is mounted perfectly fine). Because of my horrible experience with ATI cards, and pretty good experience with NVIDIA cards I've already been responsible for multiple people going with nVidia over ATI, and if I buy a new laptop theres no chance in hell it will have an ATI card in it unless they DRASTICALLY improve the support for the x300 in my laptop before then (and even then I probably wouldn't touch it).

The sad thing is, their windows drivers aren't much better...

Re:Current State (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069087)

I am unclear why envy is needed at all in Ubuntu Fiesty. Doesn't it already contain nvidia and ati drivers?

Does this mean hardware hacking is dead? (0)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068427)

So far I'm hearing "commercial company hasn't written Linux drivers for their card". That's a legitimate complaint, but if the OSS community's reaction is to whine about it on cheesy blogs rather just hack the hardware...?

Re:Does this mean hardware hacking is dead? (4, Interesting)

fruey (563914) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068529)

Hack the hardware? Have you any idea how complicated graphics cards and 3D acceleration is when you have no specification on the hardware at all?

Re:Does this mean hardware hacking is dead? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068847)

Now who said hacking was supposed to be easy. Pfft...If you have the specifications you are not hacking, your are writing code to specifications.

Re:Does this mean hardware hacking is dead? (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19070083)

Oh, they'll be hacked/reverse engineered eventually if the companies don't come through, but by that point all of the cards they figured out will be so old you won't be able to buy them in stores anymore.

Re:Does this mean hardware hacking is dead? (4, Insightful)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068667)

Uh, people have been working hard to understand how the hardware works in order to write open source drivers. See here [freedesktop.org] for example. The problem is that ATI doesn't open up the specs for their recent cards so there are very few and tedious avenues to having open source drivers (eg. reverse engineer the binary drivers, probing hardeware settings, etc). As far as I know, there's practically full opne source 3D drivers for R100-R200 based cards, somewhat full 3D drivers for R300 based cards, and no support for later models. So the OSS community is working on the driver issues, it takes time without documentation.

Re:Does this mean hardware hacking is dead? (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069749)

Apparently (rumour alert), the newer Radeons are very similar, in terms of interface, to earlier ones. Porting the drivers over requires about a 100-line diff; most of the changes are register locations, the actual semantics are similar. Unfortunately, the person who wrote the diff did so under NDA, and ATi didn't allow him to release it.

Two words (0, Offtopic)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068711)

Omega Drivers.

More words:
Thats what I used for my ATI card. If he is still maintaining them, I highly recommend them.

Re:Two words (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19069411)

few more words:

Omega Drivers = Windows != Linux = OSS

Re:Two words (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19070583)

Omega is simply Catalyst + Registry Tweaks. It's nothing that you can't get identically from ATI Tray Tool on the stock driver. They're certainly no more stable than ATI's craptastic catalyst drivers. And they're not open source either.

Re:Does this mean hardware hacking is dead? (3, Insightful)

Ruie (30480) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069199)

So far I'm hearing "commercial company hasn't written Linux drivers for their card". That's a legitimate complaint, but if the OSS community's reaction is to whine about it on cheesy blogs rather just hack the hardware...?
No, it is not, but it is strictly for pleasure only.

You see, 3d cards are complicated. On top of that the hardware itself if often finicky with lockups to the point that they should really be considered bugs. So, you can only start once your got the hardware in your hands (which means after release) and with lots of work, at best you will have something semi-working a year later. It will be at least another year before the drivers mature so everyone can use them mostly without lockups. In the meanwhile ATI will release a few more variations and, if you are aiming for comprehensive support, you are back to square one.

If ATI wants to be nice to Open Source it means releasing partial specifications (at the very least) before the card is ready so that all their cards work with 2d, Xv and multi-monitor/multi-card when they are in stores (or a couple of months later) and having full specifications no later than 6 months after release.

Anything else and we are back to scrounging for older well-supported cards - which also happen to be a good deal cheaper and have less of a margin for ATI.

The latest card I have is Radeon 1600 - and given a choice I would gladly go back to R300 (or better yet - Rage Pro) if only those cards supported the resolutions I need and PCI express.

Re:Does this mean hardware hacking is dead? (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069939)

These things aren't ISA modems or parallel port scanners.

Graphics cards are immensely complex.

Re:Does this mean hardware hacking is dead? (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069967)

Trying to write drivers for ATI hardware is like trying to write a HD-DVD player program without knowing the keys. Or the encryption algorithm. Or the video data format.

It's hard to do anything other than whine about it when ATI are such a bunch of tight-fisted assholes.

Dell .... (5, Interesting)

taniwha (70410) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068573)

suddenly Dell is shipping boxes with Linux .... a big customer to ATI .... and Dell is talking to Ubuntu .... "How do we know which of our boxes work well for Linux, will cause us the least amount of tech support grief' ... Ubuntu guy says "well these drivers don't work so well .... they're not well supported by their manufacturers" ..... Dell guy starts crossing boxes with ATI cards off the list .... and tells ATI marketting who start worrying that Dell will start to not buy ATI at all .....

Re:Dell .... (4, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068801)

That was my thought. But it gets worse. Dell is also a big and relatively new AMD customer. Intel's integrated graphics solution works very well under Linux. So for the low end Linux solution Intel maybe the system of choice. The Dell guys might start crossing ATI and AMD off the list. Intel offers easier on stop shopping and a more politically correct FOSS system.

Re:Dell .... (1)

locokamil (850008) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069213)

Ain't competition grand?

Re:Dell .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19069999)

This ..... isn't Digg ..... Please stop posting ..... like it is.

Re:Dell .... (1)

radish (98371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19070121)

It's not only ATI, I have a pretty recent nVidia card and I can't make it work with Ubuntu. Well, I should clarify that, I wanted to try the live cd and it doesn't work, I'm lead to believe that it can be made to work with a full install but I don't have the time to tinker right now. Still - I'm a little surprised that the brand new version of Ubuntu won't work "out of the box" on a pretty common card.

Fast track? (2, Insightful)

huckda (398277) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068585)

I doubt ATI will fast track anything for OSS...

they may eventually solve SOME problems but I sincerely doubt they'll be throwing a team on resolving all of the issues resulting from using one of their cards with Linux.

Give ATi some credit (1, Funny)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068593)

In some areas, the closed linux binary driver maintains feature parity with the Windows [ati.com] counterpart [ati.com] .

Re:Give ATi some credit (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068803)

If the driver worked most of the time I would have less to complain about. As it sits they have a driver that is known to reintroduce bugs into the system and to make it worse won't even compile on several recent kernels while in x86_64 mode. NVIDIA at least compiles so after buying a mid range then a top of the line ATI I've switched to NVIDA. It still annoying

Re:Give ATi some credit (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069071)

First off some and parity parity; is BS. There's some parity in features between the vesa driver and closed source driver; the both present graphics on the screen.

Unless your idea of parity is like a Java Boolean: true, false, and null.

ATI IS committed to fixing its OSS problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19068601)

But AMD is not.

Oh Oh! (4, Funny)

shking (125052) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068737)

A friend of mine recently had his dog "fixed". What, exactly, does ATI intend?

Consumer point of view (3, Interesting)

keko_metal (1010011) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068739)

I own an ATI 9800 PRO graphics card. It's a great piece of hardware. But "I need a good driver", which is translated to: If they don't release an outstanding driver in the next few weeks, my next card will be nVidia. Or better... If they don't release an outstanding full open-source driver in the next few weeks, my next card will be nVidia. Yes. I know that nVidia drivers aren't outstanding, and aren't open source. But I've been stuck in the bad side so long, that I won't be satisfied with "just the same as the competition".

Re:Consumer point of view (2, Interesting)

taniwha (70410) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068951)

same here - I'm up for a new (probably Dell) high-end laptop this month and honestly, because of the drivers, ATI's getting the shove (and I'm a fan, I used to work for them) - if I'm spending $3000 for hardware I want some that will suspend and resume, shutdown without freezing etc etc simple things - though WoW would be nice too

In other news (4, Informative)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068787)

Announcing free software drivers for the new Intel 965GM Express Chipset [marc.info]

ATI, NVIDIA: fuck you. Open source graphic drivers are possible, period.

Re:In other news (0, Offtopic)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069073)

Open source graphic drivers are possible, period.


People use that term a lot, don't you think, question mark.

Re:In other news (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 7 years ago | (#19070311)

Shouldn't that be question mark? question mark?

Re:In other news (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069357)

Not 100% related, but I ordered a 965-based motherboard because Intel has open source drivers for the X3000. This is going to be my Linux-only system. I have previously been an nVidia person, and my current 7900 works well for Wine/etc, but I heard that Beryl works -very- well on a Mac Mini, which has an Intel chipset.

Maybe my purchase (and post here) will help nVidia and ATI realize that they -are- losing customers by not open sourcing their drivers.

I'll even go so far as to say that the first of the 2 that open source their drivers will have an definite advantage in a year's time, assuming the other doesn't do the same within that year. It's not just about customers at that point, but about geeks making your drivers better. Obsessively.

It may even happen that neither goes OSS and Intel manages to get a serious foothold on the GPU market.

Re:In other news (2, Insightful)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 7 years ago | (#19070027)

Make sure you contact ATI and nVidia and explain to them what you did and why you did it.
The more detailed the explanation, the better. This is how we educate manufacturers.

Re:In other news (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19070743)

That's a good thought, actually... A nice, calm, this-is-why letter wouldn't do any harm at all. Especially to nVidia since I've spent thousands of dollars on their products in the last few years... They should miss me.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19071151)

Except don't say "open sourcing" in your letter. It makes you seem uneducated. "Open source" is an adjective, not a verb.

Re:In other news (1)

keko_metal (1010011) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069947)

Nobody said that open source drivers aren't possible, they just don't want to make it happen.

Thanks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19070631)

Wow - thanks for posting that! I was completely unaware of this, and was looking to build some new systems.

They will all support the 965. As will any future systems that I build/buy. The heck with ATI and NVIDIA.

Just do it! Show us the results! (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068897)

I will believe it when I see the results. I am not trusting ATI/AMD.

Drivers need a lot of work (1)

AaronW (33736) | more than 7 years ago | (#19068945)

Unfortunately at work I am stuck with an ATI X1300 card with Linux. I have to put up with text in my editor getting constantly corrupted, my mouse cursor corrupted and lots of other weird quirks. I tried to fire up Google Earth and that just hung. All of these things work perfectly on my nVidia cards at home, and over the years I've used nVidia (since the Gforce 2) I've only rarely had problems.

Even ATI's installer sucks badly. It took a week before I could finally get the ATI driver to install on the computer, in part because it had integrated graphics (which did not work at all with X). The Vesa drivers for the ATI card are far too slow to be usable.

Too little, too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19069155)

Sorry but I already jumped ship back to nvidia (last used them with TNT2 Ultra). I'd been ATI only from the first Radeon until the recent cards but poor driver support after waiting years for good drivers mean nvidia is the best game in town.
Vote with your $, don't buy ATI until they sort out their poor drivers & and/or open source them.

An operating system MUST be license neutral (2, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069223)

How do we feel about Microsoft's decision to exclude open source drivers by requiring signatures on everything in XP/Vista? Would we want them to rule out GPLed software based on MFC and .Net? It's no better for Linux to enforce a particular license for drivers or impose license restrictions on KDE/Qt apps. An operating system should be license-neutral for any applications and plugins it supports. A user should not be limited in what kind of hardware he can buy for his Linux computer.

Re:An operating system MUST be license neutral (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069407)

How do we feel about Microsoft's decision to exclude open source drivers by requiring signatures on everything in XP/Vista?

Admins can install unsigned drivers on XP and Vista. Even on Vista x64 it's possible to use them, if you're developing them for example -

http://www.vista64.net/forums/drivers/9351-unsigne d-drivers.html [vista64.net]

Re:An operating system MUST be license neutral (0, Troll)

towsonu2003 (928663) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069985)

How do we feel about Microsoft's decision to exclude open source drivers by requiring signatures on everything in XP/Vista? Would we want them to rule out GPLed software based on MFC and .Net? It's no better for Linux to enforce a particular license for drivers or impose license restrictions on KDE/Qt apps. An operating system should be license-neutral for any applications and plugins it supports. A user should not be limited in what kind of hardware he can buy for his Linux computer.
1960s called, they want your head out of your ass as soon as possible ;)

Huh? (1)

Synn (6288) | more than 7 years ago | (#19070287)

Drivers don't have to be a particular license for Linux, Nvidia has been doing their own drivers on Linux for years now just fine. It's just that ATI's drivers suck.

Also you aren't restricted to using a particular license for QT. You can purchase a licensed version of QT and use any license you want. You're only required to use a GPL license for QT if you use the free version of QT, which is GPL'd. But if you want a free lunch you can always use GTK which is what GNOME uses.

Ok I am stupid ... (1)

maxm (20632) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069307)

But would it not be possible to use windows drivers for *nix?

I naturally do not mean that they would be plug and play. But the Windows driver API must be pretty well known, and they run on the same hardware. So it should be simpler to reverse engineer.

A thin wrapper around the windows drivers could perhaps make it work and hold us over for the short term? Something like Wine for graphic drivers.

I had decided to buy a 14.1" notebook purely for Linux, but i decided against it as it is pretty much impossible to guess if it will run. Trial and error is a bit expensive ...

Read reviews... helps a lot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19069779)

I have 2 notebooks with linux, both have nVidia discrete graphics, both work well (Toshiba Satellite P10, Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo M3438), Slackware, SuSE, and Ubuntu were tested. Just be sure to read reviwes by people who has bought it, www.linuxlaptops.com is a good place to start. Be sure to check chipset and peripherials before you buy, for compatibility.

Re:Ok I am stupid ... (4, Informative)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19070547)

Short answer: no.

Long answer: No. X11+GLX is very different from GDI+DirectX. In almost all cases, it would be easier to reverse-engineer the hardware, rather than wrap the driver api. Also, it would probably be impossible to use windows graphics drivers in a secure manner. And the extra translation layer would kill performance. If you are going to reverse-engineer the drivers, you might as well look at the hardware info, and not the software api.

Note that in some cases, it is possible to use Windows drivers on a *nix operating system. The NDIS network card driver api is well documented, and is supported by projects for Linux and FreeBSD.

My experience with ATI Radeon Cards (1)

zukinux (1094199) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069385)

My recommendation is : BUY NVIDIA if you're a linux user like I am.
Their support is just so much better and the seems to actually care for their linux users.
As ATI user you'll have to invest hours in configuring your /etc/X11/xorg.conf files to fit your ATI card, and in the end it wouldn't work the way you expected. With NVIDIA card, these stuff are just much easier (including configuring your TV OUT or any other stuff).

If you're a Windows user, buy whatever you think of, if you're Linux user, do yourself a favour, buy NVIDIA.

Again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19069425)

They promise this every 18 months or so. I fell for it once.

HTPC use *better* get them motivated (2, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069455)

right now, as much as I dislike it - nvidia IS the linux owner for HTPC use.

all the howtos talk about the nvidia binary (sigh) driver and how it helps (but isn't a full solution) to mpeg motion accel. in hardware.

but with ati, there IS no solution. "don't use ATI" if you use linux and want fast video for home theater use.

I bought an ati card for the windows side of my htpc design - but I won't be buying them again until they show an xvmc driver for linux.

its just a shame they ignore unix like that; especially in the days when HTPC building is really starting to get popular.

Thanks ATI (2, Interesting)

MetricT (128876) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069565)

While everyone is harping about ATI's past sins, I'd like to thank ATI for committing to fixing those problems. We should commend (and purchase from) companies that make our lives easier (I'm looking at you, Broadcom...)

Fuck ATI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19069713)

All that matters is their current "sins".

and FUCK broadcom too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19070067)

I even own one of their damn cards.

To all the ATI complainers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19069637)

Why are you using an ATI card in linux? Everyone knows the ATI support under linux sucks, so you buying ATI and then complaining doesn't let ATI know that they suck. I love my nvidia card under linux. Sure, they're binary only, but everything works well (including xinerama mult-monitor).

not that ATI Cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19069687)

I also purchased a intel/nvidia notebook because of ATI linux driver issues that I had experienced. Not that ATI is reading this form but if they are... its time to open source your drivers (or at least provide specs) ~ your losing more and more customers to intel/nvidia with your closed broken proprietary drivers. My next graphics card is going to be nvidia and I am recommending Intel integrated for all the low end systems that people ask me about buying so when I install ubuntu for their web surfing (to remove the spy-ware) the graphics are responsive and not corrupted. ...

If I know ATI at all (1)

towsonu2003 (928663) | more than 7 years ago | (#19069869)

Or is ATI only concerned with fixes to its binary driver to maintain feature parity with competitors?
Yes, they do NOT care about the open source stuff.

Put on the cheerleader uniform (2, Insightful)

fo0bar (261207) | more than 7 years ago | (#19070069)

I attended the Red Hat summit last year. Lots of good information (there were a ton of talks about Xen, a good one about the finer points of LVM, etc), but the price wasn't worth making it a yearly thing.

That being said, I think the conference has the potential to quickly degrade to LinuxWorld-level, and this announcement doesn't surprise me. Companies will come out of the woodwork and start screaming "Yaaa, we like Linux! Hooray for open source!" for a week, but then not do anything until the next conference/expo rolls around.

(On a related note, the last notebook I bought came with Intel graphics. I specifically chose this because I didn't want to deal with the headache of ATI and Nvidia's binary drivers. Intel is no saint, but at least having full 3D drivers in Xorg is nice.)

Open? Does not play with DRM, so forget it. (5, Informative)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 7 years ago | (#19070139)

Ever heard of, "Certified Output Protection Protocol (COPP), Protected Video Path Output Protection Management (PVP-OPM),
Protected Video Path User Accessible Bus (PVP-UAB) and Protected Broadcast Driver Architecture (PBDA..."

All lovely things that Microsoft and ATI (will/do) use to piss you off, and make connecting all of your expensive new PC & AV kit virtually impossible.

Better binary drivers? Maybe.

Genuinely 'open' architecture that would enable the OSS community to bypass (more easily) current and future DRM, while still being able to view the result on the lastest hardware? No way.

BS (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19070513)

I had an Ati Radeon Moblility 7500 which I used on Ubuntu Edgy Eft. I used the open-source drivers and it worked fine. 3D support was kinda iffy in some places, but it worked all right. That being said, I now own an nVidia Geforce Go 7300 and using the restricted drivers, it works like a champ. I don't give a rat's ass if the thing is closed or open, if nVidia is committed to releasing a high quality driver for Linux, I'm going to side with them. I can't speak for the Ati binary driver, but given that my old video card wasn't even supported by the binary driver, I'd have to say to hell with Ati...

ATI? Who F**cking cares ATI. (2, Insightful)

Delifisek (190943) | more than 7 years ago | (#19070623)

They don't give any f**ck to Linux drivers. More than 5 years, oss people begging them to do something for Linux drivers.

So ? DONT BUY.

Thats simple.

Re:ATI? Who F**cking cares ATI. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19070801)

Some people don't have a choice. When the IT department at work buys you a laptop with an ATI chipset in it, if you want to run Linux on it, what are you going to do? Suck it up and deal with it, that's what.

ATI?? (1)

snotrash (954291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19070985)

Haha, ATI ceased to exist a long time ago. They changed their name to AMD.

Marketspeak = bullshit (1)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 7 years ago | (#19071021)

Tons of companies say they're committed to lots of things. It doesn't mean anything.

Wait until they produce something that fixes the problem.
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