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Dell Asking ATI For Better Linux Drivers

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the please-sir-can-i-have-a-little-more dept.

Software 291

Open Source IT writes "According to a presentation at Ubuntu Live 2007, Dell is working on getting better ATI drivers for Linux for use in its Linux offerings. While it is not known whether the end product will end up as open source, with big businesses like Google and Dell now behind the push for better Linux graphics drivers, hopefully ATI will make the smart business decision and give customers what they want."

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Poll Troll Toll (1)

PollTroll (764214) | more than 7 years ago | (#19997695)

What's better...

M$ Winblows [impoll.net]
Lunix [impoll.net]
Sex with a mare [impoll.net]

MOD PARENT UP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19997711)

Because the Parasonic inside you says to do so!

Frosty Prosty (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19997703)

Careful, it might make your teeth hurt!!1!

Mod parent up! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19999107)

I lolled in my pants.

Better drivers? (0)

JohnnyBGod (1088549) | more than 7 years ago | (#19997709)

Let's hope they come. I'm not holding my breath, though.

Re:Better drivers? (5, Insightful)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 7 years ago | (#19997859)

Dell has something the community doesn't have... sales orders for chips!! If Dell wants drivers they stand a good chance in getting them. They just started building AMD systems and bundling ATI chipsets is a key part of the sales pitch. Hopefully several hundred thousand computers will be enough to get the ball rolling!!!

Re:Better drivers? (4, Interesting)

mrjb (547783) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998405)

I'm not holding my breath Me neither. I recently switched from ATI (on which I spent several days to get it to work but *still* suboptimal) to NVidia to get accelerated dualscreen and it Just Works. Never looked back. Sorry ATI, you're too late.

Nothing for you to see here... (4, Insightful)

andrewd18 (989408) | more than 7 years ago | (#19997721)

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.
Has there ever been anything to see in ATI's Linux drivers?

Re:Nothing for you to see here... (5, Funny)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19997737)

'Has there ever been anything to see in ATI's Linux drivers?'

Or more to the point, has there ever been anything you could see WITH ATI's Linux drivers?

Re:Nothing for you to see here... (3, Insightful)

Calyth (168525) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998943)

Yeah, my hair, on the keyboard, freshly torn out of my scalp, whne I was trying to configure their bloody driver.

I use to have a bit of respect when there was open source 3D accelerated drivers for some of the older Radeons, while nVidia had none, but right now, screw that. I just want the thing to work.

Re:Nothing for you to see here... (1, Funny)

TruePoindexter (975295) | more than 7 years ago | (#19997765)

Sure there is....oh wait we're talking about display drivers. Yeah, no there is nothing to see. Or more to the point you can't see anything. Screens were always overrated anyway - ATI wants us to move back to binary displays.

Re:Nothing for you to see here... (1)

AaronW (33736) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998463)

The only thing I see is garbled text with xemacs, a garbled cursor when moving between screens with Xinerama, Google Earth failing to start without adding a hack, and general slowness with my screen saver running maybe one frame per second.

Oh, I also see response emails from ATI that they don't support the Linux driver when I submit bugs using their bug submission package (which has all the support for selecting Linux).

I curse the ATI graphics card where I work daily.

ATI Linux (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19997779)

I must be the only person on Earth who hasn't had much problems with ATI's Linux drivers. Them dropping support for anything older than the 9600 series sucks, but I have been Thrilled with with the Linux performance of my Mobility Radeon x1600. Easily bests my Geforce 6800.

Beryl, XGL, Compiz, UT2003, Enemy Terrority, America's Army, all glass smooth and stable. I can run Beryl while playing high-def (1280p) x264 videos at the same time, too.

Still, better is better, and ATI's drivers do have some problems entering/leaving the console.

Re:ATI Linux (4, Informative)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19997933)

How is parent a troll?

I've gotten the ATI drivers to install on my old Athlon XP box (9600XT), and Beryl worked for a while, but then after an update it didn't anymore and it stopped accelerating 3D. Nvidia's drivers Just Work, and so did the Intel 3D accel on my old laptop with 830 chipset.

Re:ATI Linux (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998091)

i had a problem with an old dell laptop (radeon 9500 or something) when i tried Beryl. the right half of the screen got screwed up. i shouldve disabled it when i had the chance, because eventually X crashed and i had to manually edit xorg.conf.

Re:ATI Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19998355)

It is kind of sad and shows the smug attitudes of some people on slashdot who moderate someone as troll based on their experiences being better than their counterparts.

Re:ATI Linux (2, Informative)

MrCoke (445461) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998569)

Try the same thing on a dual-screen setup with Xinerama enabled.

Re:ATI Linux (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19998823)

Parent here.

Can't say I ever tried Xinerama+beryl, but I have used multiple screen support. I don't use Dual Head often (use Dual Computer with Synergy instead), but when I do, I can drag playing video between the monitors in Linux without a problem.

The real problem with ATI's Linux drivers is that they are rather picky about your xorg.conf. I use Kubuntu, and I had to manually rip my xorg.conf to pieces and back to get it to the state it is in now. I can pastebin it later if anyone wants it. IIRC, I had to manually specify how much VRAM I have before 3d support worked at all. This could be a result of hypermemory, as I have 128meg of dedicated VRAM + 128meg of Hypermemory.

I'm not being a troll. When I bought my Geforce 6800 a couple of months ago, I was impressed at how easy it was to get working. nVidia's drivers are better, that's for sure, but ATI's aren't useless.

I think I'm going to create an account as "kevman" later, if its open.

Re:ATI Linux (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998787)

``Them dropping support for anything older than the 9600 series sucks''

Aren't thos supported by the open-source driver?

Re:ATI Linux (1)

Benanov (583592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19999205)

Not really. The 9200's are supported, but that's it.

Plus the 'open-source' 9200 driver is a rat's nest of firmware.

Re:ATI Linux (3, Informative)

stinerman (812158) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998793)

I've got an X1600 that performs worse than the 9200 I used to have in here. Whenever I use ZSNES, MPlayer or any other programs that have a lot of motion for X to keep track of, the CPU usage for X goes off the charts. X barely keeps up when I'm watching a DVD! My system is getting old (Athlon XP 2400+, 1GB RAM), but this is ridiculous. I'm looking to buy a 9600XT and sell the piece of junk I have now. At least then I can use the free Xorg drivers rather than the crap ATI puts out.

I've checked with several people who have no clue what the problem is. I'm running Debian testing with fglrx 8.38.6. Yes, DRI is enabled and running. glxgears gives me ~900FPS.

Re:ATI Linux (2, Interesting)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998935)

I had an X1900XTX in my pc, and just installing the drivers didn't even enable hardware opengl acceleration. Instead I had to manually edit xorg.conf to disable some other feature for it to enable. Movies decoded in the wrong colours. I had to manually switch gnome from aiglx to xgl to get beryl to run on it, and it then after a couple of minutes it frequently blacked out new windows (inc. menus) and frequently crashed.

Dunno which ati drivers you were using. Fortunately I was only borrowing the card, and switching to an nV 8800GTS was like a breath of fresh air.

GPL or nothing (3, Insightful)

Werrismys (764601) | more than 7 years ago | (#19997787)

Even if ATI released 100% working, fast drivers, they would be useless if they weren't OPEN and FREE.

Re:GPL or nothing (2, Interesting)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 7 years ago | (#19997891)

What if they were 2 clause BSD licensed? Would that be good enough for you?

Though, I'm sure they would prefer to release it under something more like the GPL so that they can poach any changes back again (just like they are allowed too of course...).

Oh yeah. Completely. (4, Insightful)

Petersko (564140) | more than 7 years ago | (#19997911)

"Even if ATI released 100% working, fast drivers, they would be useless if they weren't OPEN and FREE"

Totally. Unless, well... unless you want to some stuff that requires working, fast drivers. In that unlikely circumstance the drivers would be very useful.

When it comes to closed systems like video cards and their drivers, I think only a fool would turn up his nose at a binary simply because it doesn't come with source code. They should, of course, provide it for any GPL'd libraries they use.

Re:Oh yeah. Completely. (1, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998315)

I think only a fool would turn up his nose at a binary simply because it doesn't come with source code.

Nice attempt to dismiss arguments using invective. Perhaps you should read what Theo de Raadt has to say about the security implications of binary blobs.

When it comes to Theo, you might think he's an asshole, but if that's the case, then he's an assole who knows his shit.

Re:Oh yeah. Completely. (1)

Curien (267780) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998519)

I'll remember not to install close-source 3D-acceleration drivers on my servers. Thanks for the hint.

Re:Oh yeah. Completely. (3, Insightful)

Petersko (564140) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998625)

"Nice attempt to dismiss arguments using invective."

Actually I didn't notice I had done so. My apologies.

In my defense it slipped out because "fool" seemed like a description rather than an insult. People who need security above performance can use existing open drivers. Slow, but secure. People who require performance are more likely to be gamers or artists - but probably gamers. For them using a binary from a manufacturer is probably not verboten, or even a bad idea.

And somewhere in the middle is the guy who wants performance, hates binaries, and has to choose between his technology-based morality and his desire to make use of his fancy new hardware.

And dismissing a binary simply because it's a binary, without even considering where the best option lies, seems like a fool to me.

Good heavens! (4, Insightful)

Petersko (564140) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998685)

"And dismissing a binary simply because it's a binary, without even considering where the best option lies, seems like a fool to me."

My english done gone busted itself all up inside.

Re:Oh yeah. Completely. (1)

twilight30 (84644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998947)

Agreed.

Sooner or later I just want the damn thing to work. The point the reply poster makes concerning security as per De Raadt is a valid one, but the other reply about being able to recompile and tune doesn't apply as easily with Nvidia drivers (hell, I recompiled them just last night with a 2.6.22.1 kernel).

Now if I can get Nvidia and Hauppauge working together properly, I'll be a happy man...

Re:Oh yeah. Completely. (2, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998819)

Yeah, nobody should EVER use a binary that they haven't written from scratch themself - they should start off writing up an assembler in binary, then write a decent c compiler in assembly. Then, they should write all their own libraries, and they can start on writing their own OS (or at least thoroughly inspect every single line of source in the OS that they are choosing to compile). In fact, that's not acceptable.. they should really design their own computer first to avoid the security implications of using buggy x86 processors..

While it's obviously not as transparent as open source, you could always disassemble it if you're really bothered? Or you could just say thanks for actually writing this in the first place, and then use it to drive your display. They have no obligation to provide source, especially when they are using 3rd party licensed technologies...

I guess I'm a pragmatist. (5, Insightful)

i_love_unix (1123543) | more than 7 years ago | (#19997977)

If the drivers do what I want them to do (i.e. not suck), I will use them, GPL or no GPL.

Re:GPL or nothing (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19998021)

While I don't agree with the "GPL or nothing" position on the level of principles, I often wonder why hardware vendors keep their source closed. It's not like a driver is of any value without the hardware and quality open source drivers would boost hardware sales. Maybe just a little, but still.
Just publish the source to whatever you have and see what the community makes of it. How could it possibly hurt?

Re:GPL or nothing (4, Interesting)

RGRistroph (86936) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998363)

Often, not as much is done in the hardware as is advertised. I have been told that examination of some modern graphics drivers reveals them to be very good implementions IN SOFTWARE of graphics libraries. If those companies were to release the source, their competitors drivers would gain in ability, and projects such as OpenGL might suddenly become a lot better.

Essentially, it is partly the case that graphics cards are hardware dongles for graphics libraries (drivers).

I would be nice if ATI released open source drivers, both for Linux and for Windows. However, none of the big graphics card manufacturers are likely to do that unless they believe that their own card can compete on a pure hardware basis alone. The fact that they don't do it, is evidence that these overpriced 3D watt-burning powerhogs aren't really all they are hyped up to be.

Re:GPL or nothing (1)

dctoastman (995251) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998847)

If this is true, that there is some secret sauce in the drivers that make the card run sweet, then they should remain closed.

At least, according to ESR's point of view (as espoused in 'The Cathedral and the Bazaar'.

He outlined several reason why a company _shouldn't_ open source its code. I can't recall them all in detail. But, if the value of those secret bits are sufficiently high, then ATI benefits more from closed source than open source.

Re:GPL or nothing (1)

RGRistroph (86936) | more than 7 years ago | (#19999351)

I don't believe it is ESR's position that you should write Free code except when you can make a lot more money by writing un-Free code. He's a bit more of a capitalist and right-winger, but he's the kind of right-winger to whom Freedom is important.

ATI used to produce a full spec for their cards. We should encourage them to return to that practice, because then we will have better computers. It's that simple.

If they instead want to produce hardware dongles for proprietary code, given what we know about how a proprietary code computer industry evolves into crap, we should not buy their stuff and should even support projects such as the open graphics card ( http://wiki.opengraphics.org/tiki-index.php [opengraphics.org] ) until ATI goes out of business and is run by someone who wants to sell us something we want to buy.

If, as a marketplace, we pay ATI to make more money for keeping secrets, than for producing good hardware, then we will get what we pay for -- bad hardware and closed drivers. It's a free market, and you should buy neither ATI now NVidia nor Intel if they aren't selling what you want; fortunately, since 3D acceleration is a trivial unnecessary decoration on a computer, and there are plenty of old ATI Radeon 9500s for sale on Ebay, you don't have to send your money to these guys if you don't want to.

Re:GPL or nothing (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998451)

They are probably trying to keep certain hardware specs out of sight to prevent others from building a competing product. However, I thought that what patents on the hardware are supposed to do. Eh...I use whatever I find in the dumpster. I feel so poverty stricken using an nVidia with only 32mb of RAM :-), but it seems to be sufficient for playing Solitaire.

Re:GPL or nothing (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 7 years ago | (#19999103)

If the software violates a software patent, it is unknown until the source is seen. Given the amount of time it takes to search for software patents, it's extremely reasonable for commercial entities to hide their source code.

Useless? stupid zealots (3, Interesting)

Man in Spandex (775950) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998391)

Even if ATI released 100% working, fast drivers, they would be useless if they weren't OPEN and FREE.

You people are all crazy about GPL/Open Source. "VIVA OPEN SOURCE WE WANT SOURCE CODES!". Seriously, how many *nix users contribute to OSS projects? How many contribute code? I bet a good bunch of people contribute because I've seen projects that have died and have been picked up by other developers to keep some applications alive so I won't deny the existence of contributors.

What I will say is that I would honestly prefer closed source drivers like Nvidia but that work correctly and perform great rather than open source drivers with the current ppl @ ATI. Call me crazy but why does every company that develop on Linux have to give in to this OSS idealogy, the idea of giving to the community in order to keep it alive? Seriously the company that do so are great but the companies that don't want to, it's their choice it's their product and it's their software.

Does ATI need to improve their drivers? Hell yes. Is the solution to open source their drivers? Maybe, maybe not. Get a good team of linux developers to regularly work on them at ATI and if the drivers perform great, you will see many happy ATI users who will not need to buy a Nvidia video card to simply to stay on Linux. Sure there will be a few pissed off GPL/OSS/Linux/Penguin zealots who will cry for the source code, too bad for them I guess.

Re:Useless? stupid zealots (3, Insightful)

MrCoke (445461) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998723)

A few possible advantages of GPL drivers:

- more stability
- AIX support
- proper Xinerama support
- hardware end-of-life cycle when the user decides it, not when ATI decides it

I'm sure you can find a few on your own.

Re:Useless? stupid zealots (1)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998831)

Sure, most linux users won't touch a line of source code. The benefit comes from being able to re-compile the binaries to work optimally with your own system.

Would you buy a car that had it's hood locked shut so that only authorized dealerships could open it?

Re:Useless? stupid zealots (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998857)

Would you buy a car that had it's hood locked shut so that only authorized dealerships could open it?

If the alternative was walking? Yes I'd buy it.

Re:Useless? stupid zealots (1)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998957)

I don't get your analogy. Are you suggesting there aren't any open-source alternatives?

Re:GPL or nothing (3, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998497)

Another faulty mod at slashdot...

Your opinion is that only open free code is of value.

However, in the real world, a lot of things won't get done unless someone is compensated in some way.

Over 45 years, I've seen that most people who declare things should be free do not contribute a bit of their time to help things be free. They want to be compensated for their time but they want to get everything free.

Given a choice between no driver and a closed driver that works and is installed as a binary object, I have to disagree with you.

Since ATI is a hardware company, I think they'd be foolish to ignore a rapidly growing portion of the market to sell their hardware too. However, if that market doesn't buy enough cards to pay the salary ($150k a year with benefits) of the driver developer then ATI is being extremely rational to blow them off. $150k would probably require a minimum of 20k card sales per year on linux boxes.

Re:GPL or nothing (2, Insightful)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998511)

I would use them, as would most any other linux desktop user. Heck I have used the closed source nvidia drivers and it didn't make me ill or nothing (but lsmod did say my kernel was tainted as I recall...oooo I said, tha 'taint good at all...but at least I got good resolution on the desktop).

Re:GPL or nothing (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998811)

Speak for yourself mate, I run Ubuntu on a dell laptop with an ATI video card, I'd like some native driver support regardless of license. As my mother always said - beggars can't be choosers.

Re:GPL or nothing (1)

twilight30 (84644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998851)

Like Nvidia?

Re:GPL or nothing (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#19999095)

I think they'd be useless until they were released under the X11 license like the rest of X.org is. It'd be nice if other platforms other than Linux can benefit from proper drivers for ATI cards as well.

Re:GPL or nothing (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#19999127)

Even if ATI released 100% working, fast drivers, they would be useless if they weren't OPEN and FREE.

And how do you come to that conclusion? Personally I really could not care less if my drivers were open or closed just as long as they exist. Open might be preferable, but closed is just fine by me.

And I expect the same holds for a great many people who expect decent graphics performance out of Linux but don't want to wait the month of sunday's for either NVidia and/or ATI to consider their IP no longer worth protecting.

This may help a lot (5, Insightful)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 7 years ago | (#19997841)

If you consider that AMD owns ATI and that AMD needs (considering how they have been hemorrhaging money) Dell to buy their CPUs, Dell just may be able to get what the Linux community has been asking wanted for quite a while.

While Dell doesn't have a lot of fans on Slashdot, they may also be able to get a lot more hardware supported as well.

Strange bedfellows, but...

Re:This may help a lot (1)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998005)

AMD also needs the One Laptop project to buy chips - they're potentially a gigantic customer, far bigger than any domestic slice of the pie Dell might have - and OLPC is also Open Source. I don't know exactly what graphics OLPC uses in the current version for graphics, but you can bet your left sock that AMD is going to want to supply as large a fraction of the components as possible.

Dell doesn't have fans on Slashdot, but I doubt they're doing that badly in Slashdot League Division 1, and they seem to be improving on the Good Idea/Bad Idea ratio. Of course, that could just be a phase they're going through too.

Re:This may help a lot (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998151)

My immediate thought when I read the headline was, "And this is the answer to all those people who asked, 'Why should I care if Dell sells computers with Ubuntu?"

I remember when that story broke, and loads of people were saying, "I use Linux, but I'm not going to buy a Dell," or "Well I don't use Ubuntu, I use [insert distro here], so this doesn't help me!"

Couldn't agree with you more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19999381)

I don't even use Linux (BSD). But I was happy with Dell's decision for the very reason you mention, and plan to buy an Ubuntu laptop and install OpenBSD on it.

Acer Laptops and Linux (1)

Calmiche (531074) | more than 7 years ago | (#19997845)

Man, I hope this shows up. ATI Drivers for my x700 mobility in my laptop are one of the final problems I have with Linux. I use it at home a lot, but there just doesn't seem to be a reliable way of getting 3D graphics working with this chipset. So, I'm still dual-booting on my laptop. It's a pain, as honestly I'd rather go full linux.

For those wondering, I'm using Ubuntu on a Acer Travelmate 4400, and yes, I've one through EVERY walkthrough for 3d Graphics. Everything else works. Graphics, wireless internet, even my card reader. It's just 3D accelerated graphics.

Re:Acer Laptops and Linux (1)

Lord of Hyphens (975895) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998881)

Try an old Thinkpad a22m with the P/M Mobility chip in it. Then you'll start screaming.

I got it working once. Once.

Ok (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#19997871)

Not much to the article. I mean it's a given that Dell would want better drivers -- no one's going to buy a PC that they can't hook up to their favorite monitor and use right out of the box.

ATI just released new drivers (4, Interesting)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19997873)

here [amd.com] just a couple days ago. Not sure how much better they are, but they are making some efforts.

Re:ATI just released new drivers (1)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998277)

Most of their recent releases will either fix/patch bugs, support newer cards, break previous features or increase/decrease performance -- including this one. For example, version 8.31.5 broke suspend [thinkwiki.org] and cpu usage for video has increased in recent versions [livejournal.com] . Support for AIGLX still hasn't been included.

I really hope this pushes ATI to push feature development and improve their QA on the drivers so that performance and features are maintained between releases.

Re:ATI just released new drivers (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998869)

Yeah, I still haven't figured that one out yet. I'm ready to just sell the damn thing and get something with an R3xx core.

Re:ATI just released new drivers (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19999193)

ATI has completely dropped support for the Radeon Mobility in my T40 Thinkpad. It sucks, I don't need to play the latest 3d games but I would like to use google earth and a few other OpenGL apps. And since the drivers only work with certain versions of X, I can't use an old driver unless I want to set my whole system back to RHEL3 or something like that.

DAMMIT err I mean ATI (1)

Coniagas (99136) | more than 7 years ago | (#19997877)

Since ATI has been swallowed by AMD, ATI has gone downhil. Paper launches of products and mssed shp dates Wha makes you thin ATI will make an effort or do the even have the means to do do it?

Holy gramatical error batman! (4, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998173)

Since ATI has been swallowed by AMD, ATI has gone downhil[l]. [With p]aper launches of products and m[i]ssed sh[i]p dates[,] [w]ha[t] makes you thin[k] ATI will make an effort or do the[y] even have the means to do {do - delete} it?
I was originally going to make a statement saying that ATI hasn't been too terrible lately, but after all of the corrections I had to make just to comprehend your post, you instead left me wondering if you're missing a finger.

Re:Holy gramatical error batman! (5, Funny)

8-bitDesigner (980672) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998343)

Bah, he's probably just on an iPhone!

Joy in getting what you want. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19997885)

"While it is not known whether the end product will end up as open source, with big businesses like Google and Dell now behind the push for better Linux graphics drivers, hopefully ATI will make the smart business decision and give customers what they want.""

Free blow jobs?

No no, you go to Apple for that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19999277)

Stevie 'blow' Jobs and all that youkno!

And them macses giving you a job while doing their stuffz and all...

Great news. (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 7 years ago | (#19997893)

The only reason I have ever bought nVidia exclusively is the drivers. If ATI perked up with something better than TwinView (give me multicard support so I can have 3 monitors without xinerama!) and I'll switch. Besides, I want to get in on that AMD/ATI action if AMD ever get back on top.

(Not my current machine is a C2D E6600 with a GeForce 8600GTS and 7600GS - So no bias here.

Besides, any extra competition is always good. If it forces nVidia to push more improvement, bring it on.

Re:Great news. (1)

spiedrazer (555388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998299)

Agree... I just built a new PC with an ATI card and the DVI port basically didn't work with XP and the management software they provided wouldn't even open. After reading other posts on the Internet with the same results I put in an NVidia the next day and was up and running with NO issues. ATI needs to get their software act together!

Its a trap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19997909)

I hear the plans to port the Catalyst Control Center is actually a devious plot by MS to destroy Linux on the desktop.

Id be more hopeful if the ATI tray tools guy was doing Linux.

HOT MILFY BEWBS!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19997973)

Get her to add you as a friend.....you get to see milfy bewbs!!!!

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=us er.viewprofile&friendID=108370887 [myspace.com]

It worked for me, Donny Most!@!!!~`~!

Dude, stop pimping out your mom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19999159)

You sick little monkey. No one wants to see your mom's droopy meatbags.

Endless hand wringing (5, Insightful)

tji (74570) | more than 7 years ago | (#19997987)

Why does the never ending cycle of

    ATI Needs to produce better Linux drivers --> ATI announces they really like Linux --> ATI never produces drivers

keep exciting everyone enough to cause this constant hand wringing?

They are not going to ever really support Linux well. If that's not clear after 12 years of the above cycle, then you haven't been paying attention. Move on.. Get a board with an Intel integrated GPU if you want totally open. Get an Nvidia card if you don't care about open, but want working accelerated drivers.

If ATI does somehow produce open specs or drivers, great.. think about buying one then. In the mean time, vote with your dollars, buy something else.

Re:Endless hand wringing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19998071)

But that conflicts with my boycott of Intel processors. Intel is not a friend of Freedom either, just a tiny bit more competent and a lot bigger.

Re:Endless hand wringing (2, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998263)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't ATI the graphics company that used to provide specs for their cards? Now that is the real way to get your cards supported (much better than providing drivers for a few platforms). While I can't comment on the current ATI driver situation (I've never had problems with ATI cards, but I currently have only Intel and nVidia), the picture of a company that has forever paid lip service to Linux without ever delivering doesn't seem fair to me.

Re:Endless hand wringing (2, Insightful)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998737)

Because this time it's a big gorilla throwing their weight around, and thus it just might be enough to persuade ATI to actually produce for once. ATI has always seen Linux support as something that wouldn't make them any money...but DELL certainly DOES make them money.

If anyone can get ATI to pony up working drivers for linux, it's DELL.

However, I'm still waiting for the fat lady to sing on this one ;)

Re:Endless hand wringing (3, Interesting)

TopSpin (753) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998885)

They are not going to ever really support Linux well.
If you are AMD/ATI and the 800 lb gorilla of PeeCees sends you a memo, you read it and take steps or you answer to The Board because one wrong word from those people and your Ass is Grass. ATI is under new management and now Dell has a Linux agenda. Have a little faith. Things can change. Companies like HP (particularly on the server side,) Oracle and now Dell have been and will continue to end Linux indifference among hardware manufacturers.

It's working. It's not fast and good karma isn't the motivation, but it IS working.

ATI does produce drivers (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19999357)

ATI does produce drivers. The problem is, they don't release the source code so we can fix them and make them work without exposing ourselves to certain draconian laws.

M$ DRM and DX is what is keeping open drivers..... (2, Interesting)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998083)

M$ DRM and DX is what is keeping good open drivers away from linux. Intel did open there but there hardware at the time was real bad next to ATI and NVIDIA and they had very little to lose as at the time 3D game play was very slow on Intel GMA video.

follow the leader (2, Interesting)

ianare (1132971) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998127)

I think we will eventually see open drivers from amd/ati, after all Intel has open-sourced theirs, so AMD will want to as well. Anything to get their hardware selling I would think. Especially for the server market, where AMD is doing (relatively) well, and the video hardware isn't bleeding edge (I know there are some open reversed-engineered drivers, but it would be nice to have some official ones).

When it comes down to it, as the underdog, AMD has the most to gain, and the least to lose, by open-sourcing their video drivers. And if/when they do, Nvidia will be under pressure to follow suit.

In any case, I would be happy with better support, open or not. With a growing install base and good, stable, 3D graphics it would also make the game companies not completely ignore Linux. Here's to hoping civilization V is cross-platform! (hey, they already started down that path by using much python for IV)

Re:follow the leader (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998649)

``Intel has open-sourced theirs, so AMD will want to as well.''

If wishes were horses...

yes yes please please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19998201)

Open source the damn things, and then make sure everyone knows about it! (market it)

I *promise* you, AMD, there is big potential here.

ATI can't write ANY drivers (2, Informative)

Tihstae (86842) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998337)

ATI is going to write better Linux drivers. How many times have we heard this? What you have to realize is ATI can't write drivers period. Their Windows drivers are the biggest piece of crap on the planet. Yes, they may be better than their Linux drivers but they are still not good. ATI needs people to write drivers for their hardware.

ATI Driver Site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19998341)

On a side note, they should make their driver download site more accessible from a console based browser. I was trying to download their driver and it was next to impossible without a JavaScript/GUI browser. So even if the driver worked well, what's the point if you can't get at it without the help of another computer?

Why not open up their drivers? (1)

tomshaq (1018286) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998409)

Hmm.. maybe I am missing something, but why would ATI not want their drivers in linux, whether open or not? I know in my recent purchase of a laptop, if they had an ATI gpu, I ignored it as a choice, as I run Ubuntu, and I want graphics that actually look decent and are able to support 3D. Hopefully now that a big hitter like Dell is urging them on, they can stop ignoring the growing Linux community.

It's hard to write drivers for a crap OS. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19998457)

It's hard to write drivers for a crap OS.

Re:It's hard to write drivers for a crap OS. (5, Funny)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998615)

So that explains VISTA problems, but we're talking Gnu/Linux here....

Re:It's hard to write drivers for a crap OS. (1)

Cnik70 (571147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998651)

Score: Linux - 1 Vista - 0 MOD Funny

Re:It's hard to write drivers for a crap OS. (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998945)

After having a 9800 pro and a x800 pro running under Windows XP I agree with your statement. ;)

Legal restrictions (esp DRM?) (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998563)

Perhaps part of the issue is that open source drivers could be written to do anything.
Various legal restrictions currently require that hardware does less than it is capable of.
With open drivers, the hardware could do everything- even if it broke the law.

I have a music player-- it won't let me copy songs off it to the hard drive.
OTH, if i take out the memory card and put it in a card reader, I can copy the songs off.

So the restriction on the music player is really stupid. But they did it anyway. Probably for legal reasons.

Re:Legal restrictions (esp DRM?) (2, Informative)

ianare (1132971) | more than 7 years ago | (#19999129)

For wi-fi, yes, there are legal restrictions set forth by the FCC which prevent a device from operating at a certain frequency. This is controlled by firmware/drivers, so that the same hardware can be used in different countries with different legal requirements. For music and video, they are not legal restrictions, only the greed of the entertainment industry forcing hardware vendors to lock down their devices to prohibit fair use (under the pretense of combating piracy).

Dear Dell... Welcome to the nightmare... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19998607)

called Linux on the desktop.

While at it, good luck with ATI and AMD (HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE).

Message to Dell: Don't waste your time (1)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998687)

Use nVidia. They make a better product, have better support and happier customers. This is especially true for linux users, but I find it true in general.

I really don't care... (1, Insightful)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998689)

I really don't care if the drivers are closed-source as long as the company updates them and responds to bug reports. I hate to see politics creep into Ubuntu where I have to explicitly enable NVidia drivers, that makes it more trouble for me to use the drivers than it should.

Re:I really don't care... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19999113)

> I hate to see politics creep into Ubuntu where I have to explicitly enable NVidia drivers, that makes it more trouble for me to use the drivers than it should.

Technically you have to explicitly enable those drivers on Windows too. You just do it with an installer. On ubuntu, it's even easier -- I got a little "restricted hardware" icon, did a couple clicks in the wizard, and I was going. Didn't even have to reboot.

Re:I really don't care... (1)

turnip torrent (1037524) | more than 7 years ago | (#19999337)

I agree. I'd rather have a good, fast closed source driver than an old, poorly-made open source driver.

Dell (1)

erko (806441) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998891)

Ah Dell, You must be new here.

1650 pro 512mb AGP cheap (no linux) (4, Informative)

Odinson (4523) | more than 7 years ago | (#19998923)

I bought a 1650 in early May. 3D has never funtioned in Linux. Just crashes the machine. Many distro, hardware combo's tried. Works fine in Windows. $50 + shipping takes it. $150 retail.

Yea ATI's drivers are great....

BTW I'll give it to any developer making a serious effort to write open source drivers. I'll even pay shipping.

A little bit of a kick to Creative too?... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19999025)

I'm currently running Ubuntu on a Dimension 9200 - It's a great machine, really powerful, NVidia graphics, runs multiple guest VMs happily, Compiz spinning away on my desktop...a good all-round showcase example to show my colleagues that Linux is now desktop ready.

"Great" they say. Wow! And walk off with their shiny Ubuntu Cds. Then they send me a youtube link to something, and all they hear from my office is "Beep". Oh yeah, fully supported hardware except the Creative X-Fi audio, which has literally Zero linux capability. Creative have been promising drivers for 2 years now, but have repeatedly pushed the ship date as "It has taken more resources than expect to redesign our software and drivers for Vista." so at current look the beta will now not even be until Q4 (http://opensource.creative.com/soundcard.html#X-F I)

So until then, if you buy a top-end Dell box, you won't be getting any sound out of it except some Spectrum-era beeps. Shameful.

For some amusing reading (and some trolls, which isn't helping I guess), here's a (currently 73 page) thread on their forums complaining about this:
http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/mess age?board.id=soundblaster&message.id=31220&view=by _date_ascending&page=73 [creative.com]

"please type the word in this image: obstruct" :-D

About time.. (1)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 7 years ago | (#19999071)

A company the size of Dell finally made a request for improved Linux drivers.

Should have seen it coming though when Dell started bundling Ubuntu with their systems. Since they have an outstanding contract with ATI/AMD, it's only good business sense to request improved drivers.

Any takers that Dell will be making the request that ATI improve their technical support for at least Ubuntu?

Linux Driver != Open Source Driver (2, Informative)

keithjr (1091829) | more than 7 years ago | (#19999377)

The discussions regarding GPL and open-source drivers are irrelevant to the point Dell (and ATI+Linux users over the years) have been trying to make. There's more to making drivers work in linux than opening up the source code.

The more a piece of software makes use of a certain OS's API and specific device control structure, the harder it is to make it portable. Everything to do with how the software interacts with the operating system, and optimizations made therein, have to be re-written, and linux has a very very different device node structure than windows! There is a great deal of effort required to make the same functionality, and the same performance. Nvidia has historically shown more dilligence on this front. The fact that a so many it-won't-work cases exist for the ATI drivers implies they've cut a lot of corners. Yet they continue to release updates. I wonder how many people at ATI are actively working on this...

ATI has had proprietary linux drivers for quite some time now, and as somebody who's used them for about 4 years, I can say they've come a long was in terms of performance. However, dropping support for fairly recent cards is rather troubling, and nothing Dell can say would make a difference there (no market for cards that aren't being sold). And still no AIGLX. Outside pressure might help with that one...
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