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VIA Announces Open Source Driver Initiative

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the itching-for-source dept.

Software 134

Aron Schatz writes "VIA has announced that they will start a new site (http://linux.via.com.tw — doesn't exist yet) specifically for the development of open source drivers. From their press release: 'Over the following months, VIA will work with the community to enable 2D, 3D and video playback acceleration to ensure the best possible Open Source experience on VIA Processor Platforms. 'To further improve cooperation with the community, VIA will also adhere to a regular quarterly release schedule that is aligned with kernel changes and release of major Linux distributions. In addition, beta releases will be issued on the site as needed, and a bug report and tracking feature will also be integrated.' Nvidia should be next."

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134 comments

Already big in little markets (3, Informative)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 6 years ago | (#23005774)

For those who don't know, the Zonbu is really a rebranded VIA Artigo: http://what-is-what.com/what_is/zonbu.html [what-is-what.com] (disclosure: my site)

Can you get it at ... (5, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | about 6 years ago | (#23005876)

Can you get the Zonbu at zombo [zombo.com] ?

Re:Can you get it at ... (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 6 years ago | (#23006056)

That flash has been loading for over a minute now. Or, is that all it does? Look like it's loading?!?

Re:Can you get it at ... (1)

cronot (530669) | about 6 years ago | (#23006668)

Turn on the sound.

Then you'll know how wonderful and supreme is zombocom. Zombocom is everything.

Re:Already big in little markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23007370)

VIA sells many other Linux computers, such at the VA1500V. [newegg.com]

Not the best performance, but damn are they cheap.

Re:Already big in little markets (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23008700)

From the link:

As the 4 GB of local storage is insufficient for even simple web browsing and email usage,...

lolwut? 4 gigs is plenty for that.

Re:Already big in little markets (3, Funny)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 6 years ago | (#23009186)

Not when an 18 year old kid who's never seen a 200 meg hard drive is writing the review.

Re:Already big in little markets (1)

julesh (229690) | about 6 years ago | (#23010356)

Not when an 18 year old kid who's never seen a 200 meg hard drive is writing the review.

200? Luxury! In my day, we had an operating system imposed limit of 32, and considered ourselves lucky if we had that much.

(Sorry. The post was asking for it.)

This is good timing. (2, Interesting)

mr_mischief (456295) | about 6 years ago | (#23005814)

They've timed this to fairly well coincide with a new processor design [via.com.tw] that promises better performance than what they've had to date. Hopefully not just drivers but optimizations for their CPU will take off in maturity alongside the growth of their deployed footprint.

Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23005828)

NVidia use a whole lot of IP from other vendors, and they CAN'T make everything open source because of that. NVidia has made massive efforts in helping their products work on linux as smoothly as possible, and should be praised for their efforts, not berated.

If Via own all the IP they use, great! They'll be able to open source the lot. NVidia doesn't, so can't, so why give them a hard time after all their efforts to open source as much as possible?

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (5, Insightful)

gmack (197796) | about 6 years ago | (#23005942)

Because no one asked for their IP. All anyone wants is details on the API. They can keep their drivers.

Nvida has also not open sourced "as much as possible" They got dragged kicking and screaming every step of the way. They didn't assist with open sourced drivers for their on board chipset devices until the open source folks reverse engineered the NVidia's drivers and did a better job than NVidia did.

Intel can do it. ATI has promised to do it and now so does VIA. Why is NVidia different?

I'm about 4 months from my next video card purchase and I will be taking a hard look at who has the best Linux support. A 10 FPS difference is not worth drivers that seem to need reinstalling every reboot (thanks NVIDIA).

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (5, Informative)

pc486 (86611) | about 6 years ago | (#23006052)

> Intel can do it. ATI has promised to do it and now so does VIA. Why is NVidia different?

ATI hasn't just promised, they did:

http://ati.amd.com/developer/open_gpu_documentation.html [amd.com]
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=842&num=1 [phoronix.com]

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (2, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 6 years ago | (#23006300)

Getting closer, but still no cigar:

However, this new driver does support the Radeon HD 2000 (R600) family... Don't expect any miracles from this driver just yet. At this point, the RadeonHD driver is really targeted for developers and those wanting to use the experimental driver whether it is due to problems using the fglrx driver on the system or just wishing to test out the driver to see if it works for you. As long as AMD sticks to their word on delivering the rest of their documentation, there will not be too much (if any) reverse engineering that needs to take place for the R500 and R600 series. However, the driver is still likely a few months out from a stable point for 2D users (perhaps in time for X.Org 7.4) and then the 3D work after that.

I don't have time to help develop a driver, which means I'm willing to hold off another year or two on actually buying a new video card, but nVidia is still going to work better until this open driver is finished.

I mean, yes, it's awesome that we have specs, but apparently, they didn't deliver source code.

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (2, Informative)

just-a-stone (766843) | about 6 years ago | (#23006512)

I am using RadeonHD for ~4-5 Months now and it works like a charm für my X1400. XRandR 1.2 is supported, its auto-detection for dualhead resolutions works better then fglrx/catalyst for me, most things seem to as they are going the "right for Xorg" way.

At the moment, it only lacks two things for me:
  • * accelerated AND zoomed video/DVD output
  • * power management


Compared to fglrx, I'm glad they delivered the specs (and AFAIK some consulting for the devs) and not their changing codebase. Fglrx had a moving year...
And the efforts at RadeonHD are pretty promising so far.

Because I'm too lazy to check myself... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 6 years ago | (#23007754)

It looks like that article is out of date.

How's the 3D acceleration? What about desktop effects and compositing (compiz)?

If there's a video decoder on the card (h.264), can you use it?

It's not fglrx I'm interested in comparing this to, it's this vs nVidia's binary drivers, and vs Windows on the same card.

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (5, Informative)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 6 years ago | (#23006082)

Intel can do it. ATI has promised to do it and now so does VIA. Why is NVidia different?
Since September, ATI is really far along, to the point where the free drivers are already improving with the published specs. ATI isn't only promising, they are delivering.

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (1)

corychristison (951993) | about 6 years ago | (#23006124)

Well, I can't say that is too terrible.

The only time I reboot is when I recompile the kernel. Which will require rebuilding/installing the nvidia-drivers package anyway.

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (1)

Cal Paterson (881180) | about 6 years ago | (#23006312)

It is a very irritating issue, especially if you don't keep every machine you own turned on all the time.

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23006880)

> Intel can do it. ATI has promised to do it and now so does VIA. Why is NVidia different?

I'll probably get suicided for telling you this, but i cant stay quiet any more.

the driver would reveil that it only has two parameter: maxfps and minpowerreq. Those parameter, on the other hand, is set from a simple jumper on the GFX-Card - the GPU isself has been the same from the first GForce almost a decade ago to the newest 9900 Models they are going to "invent" next year. All GPU's have the same Core, reverse engineered from a UFO that crashed in Fairbanks, New Mexico. They would release the new Models now, but Sam Carter is in another galaxy and is only one who has a signature-key for the Asgarth compiler. So, sorry, no opensource drivers for you! ... ... what's that humming in front of my windows....?

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (2, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | about 6 years ago | (#23007814)

A 10 FPS difference is not worth drivers that seem to need reinstalling every reboot (thanks NVIDIA).
Are you living on the bleeding edge of daily recompiled kernels or something? I checked the box in restricted-manager once, and I've never had to worry about it again. I suppose we'll see how it goes with the pending Hardy upgrade soon, but at least for close to six months now it's been a complete non-issue. I do wish the LCD TV I have on the second DVI port would work right though...

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (1)

ceifeira (1230772) | about 6 years ago | (#23008070)

Not everyone is running Ubuntu.

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 6 years ago | (#23008390)

I run Debian. The only time I have to rebuilld the nvidia kernel module is with a new kernel (or an new driver version.)

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (1)

gmack (197796) | about 6 years ago | (#23008424)

Bleeding edge.. close to it. I need KVM working as well as several modules that have only recently started working right.

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (2, Informative)

TheDugong (701481) | about 6 years ago | (#23008032)

"A 10 FPS difference is not worth drivers that seem to need reinstalling every reboot (thanks NVIDIA)." Let me guess, you use Ubuntu and have the restricted drivers installed? I haven't looked at this for 1 or 2 years, but the restricted drivers (including the nvidia drivers) are copied to a ram disk mounted somewhere in the kernel module directory tree (can't remember where) at boot time (no idea why). So, if you have the restricted drivers installed and then install the nvidia drivers from nvidia's website (from a NVIDIAxxxxxx.run file) the files will be installed to a ram disk, which of course disappears, along with the files you have installed there, on reboot. IOW, this is not nvidia's fault.

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (1)

gmack (197796) | about 6 years ago | (#23008416)

Debian, manually installed kernel and manually installed NVIDIA drivers. Works until I reboot in which case X won't start anymore and I need to rerun the installer to get it working again. Que the same thing on next reboot. It seems independent of whether I change kernel options or not.

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (2, Informative)

TheDugong (701481) | about 6 years ago | (#23009616)

nvidia module is probably not loaded at boot time. I guess the nvidia installer loads it when the driver is installed.

See:

http://wiki.debian.org/NvidiaGraphicsDrivers#head-6cb9442ef3215e7aa8e2e1a13c73a7819a9e9890

Ubuntu NVIDIA binary drivers NOT in the ramdisk (1)

Sits (117492) | about 6 years ago | (#23010158)

The Ubuntu provided NVIDIA binary drivers are NOT automatically copied into initrd/initramfs and to the best of my knowledge never have been (it is possible to manually specify to happen but why would you? This is not a driver needed to load the kernel from the harddisk). It IS true that there is a script that runs early on (but long after the ram disk has been disposed of) that often means that the Ubuntu provided driver is loaded before manually compiled ones. How to stop this happening is covered in the Ubuntu NVIDIA manual install doc [ubuntu.com] though.

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (2, Informative)

corvair2k1 (658439) | about 6 years ago | (#23008058)

It's likely that your reinstall on every boot is necessary because your distribution includes several open source replacement drivers which interfere with the one you installed. This can be fixed via adding

DISABLED_MODULES="nvidia nvidia_legacy nvidia_new"

to /etc/default/linux-restricted-modules-common , or something like it.

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (5, Interesting)

AvitarX (172628) | about 6 years ago | (#23005996)

The real meat of it for me is the video playback.

From what I can find online NOBODY has h.264 accelerated playback in Linux, and the best solution is to use a hack that loads a commercial software decoder made for Windows.

Until I read this I thought my next HTPC would be ATI if things ever came to be, but now it may be VIA.

I will build my next PC as soon as I find a fairly inexpensive card/chipset that will do HDMI out, and hardware H.264 in Linux. I don't care whether it is good closed source (like Nvidia graphics)or open source support either, Just that it works well and is fairly low power usage (pegging a fast multi-core CPU does not count).

Until Nvidia offers feature parity with Windows on Linux or enough is opened for the community to do it themselves they deserve a hard time.

If someone knows a good solution for this let me know so I can stop waiting.

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (2, Insightful)

edalytical (671270) | about 6 years ago | (#23006276)

You are aware that you can convert from DVI to HDMI with a single cable...right?

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | about 6 years ago | (#23006330)

What are you smoking??

Since when DVI started supporting audio?

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (1)

edalytical (671270) | about 6 years ago | (#23007014)

Well you're right, but why would you need HDMI at the chipset level when you can just convert DVI to HDMI? What's wrong with running separate cables for audio?

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (1)

The Vulture (248871) | about 6 years ago | (#23007118)

Audio works perfectly fine over a DVI->HDMI cable on my ASUS Radeon HD3450 card under Windows. I don't have any other sound source connected, and there's no hardware passthrough.

The video card apparently includes it's own sound chip, a Realtek model. It could be a perversion of the specs, but it works, and hasn't blown up my TV, so I'm happy.

-- Joe

Way wrong (2, Informative)

io-waiter (745875) | about 6 years ago | (#23009764)

Browse the mythtv lists and you will find many h.264 on linux users, I actually watched h.264 yesterday on my linux box.
The problem is the lack of multithreading on h.264 more than the lack of GPU offloading, the GPU offload barely works in windows I would like to add.

h.264 on Linux is core2 today, here are som examples on playback hardware
http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/HD_Playback_Reports [mythtv.org]

So please stop this myth about h.264 not being possible on linux.

Re:Nvidia have already open sourced what they can (1)

tuomoks (246421) | about 6 years ago | (#23008812)

Great and dandy (I'm in bad mood today) but hardware is different than software! You can open the interface to your hardware, no matter what IP (intellectual property - define it - in no formal definition!) they use in hardware. It is either unwillingness or they just don't understand? Or maybe they have some contracts with closed systems where they promise not to let others to play? I don't know and it is up to them but sometimes a pain. Weird - you can get the specs from IBM, SUN, NAS, TI, etc for their hardware, actually free, and much more valuable than graphics cards, so it doesn't make sense?

Year of the Linux.... portable? (3, Informative)

lwsimon (724555) | about 6 years ago | (#23005838)

We're seeing more and more VIA CPUs in Linux-based "low-end" laptops. I think this really bode well for Linux. If we establish a presence in these internet-as-an-appliance devices, we can use it as a staging point to move into the desktop market.

Re:Year of the Linux.... portable? (4, Informative)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | about 6 years ago | (#23006040)

That's total BS. Once more, it is not the year of the Linux Desktop- OR portable.

It is the year of the rat:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_(zodiac) [wikipedia.org]

Learn your lunar calendars, Slashdot.

Re:Year of the Linux.... portable? (4, Funny)

ianare (1132971) | about 6 years ago | (#23006868)

It is the year of the rat:
So Microsoft is looking forward to massive profits.

Re:Year of the Linux.... portable? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 6 years ago | (#23007026)

No, that would be the year of, TinyLimp the beast of Redmond, ps, it has already passed.

Re:Year of the Linux.... portable? (1)

debatem1 (1087307) | about 6 years ago | (#23007928)

Usually, not listening is followed by not thinking. However, you seem to be the unusual case where not listening is followed by a wildly imaginative tour through an alternate reality in which he claimed that it was the year of the Linux desktop. A casual glance at the OP reveals that this was not the case, and in fact that the OP did nothing more than express the relatively modest and pretty reasonable idea that the increasing prevalence of Linux on low-end, low-cost machines might eventually translate into higher prevalence on the more common desktop machines.
Next time, make sure you're fighting the right strawman.

Re:Year of the Linux.... portable? (3, Informative)

Constantine XVI (880691) | about 6 years ago | (#23006888)

There's a reason (two, actually)
1: VIA chips, although they aren't known for stellar performance, are usually pretty low-power (but nowhere near ARM-based stuff)
2: VIA produced something called the Nanobook, a reference design for the subsub-notebooks. Two machines have been released under this design: the Everex Cloudbook and the Packard-Bell Easynote XS

Re:Year of the Linux.... portable? (3, Interesting)

turing_m (1030530) | about 6 years ago | (#23007546)

You are right. The rise of the low cost computer is the beginning of the end for high profit margins on Windows. The only real way they have of combatting FOSS is to release Windows for next to nothing and hope to extract some sort of money with Office. But that is a losing tactic as well. As capable computers approach the cost of a VCR, consumers will have the choice of getting something that does the job, or something that does the job and costs twice as much.

What other options do MS have? They can't kill/buy off Via or the other commodity PC manufacturers that will spring up as know-how increases. Import restrictions can't stop world trade, are not popular and take a long time to implement.

Killer apps to increase future price of computers? The average human has only so many needs that can be filled by an increasing number of instructions per second, especially when those instructions must be executed in parallel. Computers are fast enough for our senses (HD video, sound) and communications needs (bottleneck is in the networking). Most of the killer apps are already here. Any extra functionality enabled by some sort of high powered Intel machine is a small percentage of total functionality provided by the current crop of computers.

In this sort of environment, owning a computer that will do almost everything is an easy decision for $200, even if it means acquainting yourself with a different operating system. Ubuntu is easy to install, but even easier if it just comes pre-installed on your device with all drivers working. With understanding comes trust, acceptance and consideration for use in other spheres of life. If anything, the killer app is a small, very low power, solid state computer (hence silent while requiring zero maintenance) - for firewalls, NAS, HTPC, portables, general PC use and home gaming. There is no real margin in any of this (except games), and no ability to fund the survival mechanisms of an operating system and office suite monopolist. Only niche players will find the margins.

With high profit margins comes the resources to lobby, to advertise, to muscle hardware vendors. Maintaining their monopoly has not been cheap, but while there was profit to be had it was a sound business proposition. Without the money coming in, the collapse will be reminiscent of the Soviet Union - without the resources to maintain the empire, the decay will accelerate rapidly and people will be surprised at how rapidly and pervasively it actually happens.

Re:Year of the Linux.... portable? (1)

Daengbo (523424) | about 6 years ago | (#23008324)

Killer apps to increase future price of computers? The average human has only so many needs that can be filled by an increasing number of instructions per second, especially when those instructions must be executed in parallel. Computers are fast enough for our senses (HD video, sound) and communications needs (bottleneck is in the networking). Most of the killer apps are already here. Any extra functionality enabled by some sort of high powered Intel machine is a small percentage of total functionality provided by the current crop of computers.
And 640K should be enough ...

Re:Year of the Linux.... portable? (1)

turing_m (1030530) | about 6 years ago | (#23009484)

640k should be enough... meh. At some point, businesses approach diminishing returns with technology for the mass market. e.g. typical passenger jet versus Concorde. Another example, the AK-47 should be good enough for everyone, and was built in, you guessed it, 1947.

My daily needs have been well and truly provided for since the P4. In fact, I don't own a faster computer than a P4. This has been the case for something like 4 years now. I'm at the point where a typical consumer in the classic Moore's Law years (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strong_AI

The last two computers I bought were under 300 Mhz and under $400. Neither has a video card, both completely solid state, completely silent, and fit in a coat pocket (not that they are portable of course). Both consume less than 10W. I don't anticipate buying another personal computer without similar characteristics.

Re:Year of the Linux.... portable? (1)

turing_m (1030530) | about 6 years ago | (#23009670)

(My comment got mangled before, this is a shorter paraphrasing.)

640k should be enough... meh. At some point, businesses approach diminishing returns with technology for the mass market. e.g. typical passenger jet versus Concorde. Another example, the AK-47 should be good enough for everyone, and was built in, you guessed it, 1947.

My daily needs have been well and truly provided for since the P4. In fact, I don't own a faster computer than a P4. This has been the case for something like 4 years now. I'm at the point where a typical consumer in the classic Moore's Law years would have upgraded. I don't see any need to.

Office suite, music, video, internet, games. That's a superset of the average requirements for a computer. For a large number of cores, what possible benefit would you gain? I'm a long-term computer addict, so I'm an early adopter for most uses, and anticipate others. More cores could be useful for a limited number of applications suited to the average computer user.

Any replacement is about reducing the quibbles, not gaining functionality. I want something with the same capabilities as has been on the market for the last 4 years or so. I want it cheap to purchase, small, passively cooled, very low power (i.e. 20W or less), solid state. Hence it will be silent, no maintenance, cheap to run, unintrusive.

The last two computers I bought were under 300 Mhz and under $400. Neither has a video card, both completely solid state, completely silent, and fit in a coat pocket (not that they are portable of course). Both consume less than 10W. I don't anticipate buying another personal computer without similar characteristics.

Quotes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23005846)

The quote syntax made me think VIA said that about NVIDIA in their press release. :(

nVidia next? (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about 6 years ago | (#23005856)

I think that would be terrific, but the announcement/article didn't say that... this is wild speculation as far as I can see.

ATI pissed me off too often where I had ATI in my Dell laptop for quite a while. I watched friends with nVidia in their machines do all sorts of nice things under Linux that I couldn't do with ATI. It was annoying, so eventually I bought an nVidia card for my laptop to replace the ATI and I too was doing nice things under Linux that I couldn't do with ATI... then ATI announced they were going strong on releasing their hardware specs and stuff like that opening the door for completely OSS drivers for ATI hardware. (I haven't seen anything yet, but I haven't been watching since I switched to nVidia.)

And now here I sit with nVidia hardware in my laptop... waiting for driver updates, features and bugs to be added... same-ole-same-ole. I'd love for the speculation that nVidia will essentially fold under the pressure, but at the moment, I don't see that they are showing any signs of pressure.

Re:nVidia next? (4, Interesting)

Mike Zilva (785109) | about 6 years ago | (#23006080)

I've got an intel G35 (integrated graphics) based board from Asus (P5E-VM HDMI) and im'm prety happy with 3D at 1600x1200 on ubuntu 8.04beta. I usualy don't like integrated devices, but I choose this board just bacause intel released open source drivers/specs and they deserve this choice.

Re:nVidia next? (2, Interesting)

garvon (32299) | about 6 years ago | (#23006866)

I did the same thing last week. For the same reason.
So I guess this is a "Me Too!".
Nvidia has gotten the last of my money. If they can't release the specs for their I will no longer give them my money. Vote with my wallet.

Re:nVidia next? (3, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | about 6 years ago | (#23006216)

then ATI announced they were going strong on releasing their hardware specs and stuff like that opening the door for completely OSS drivers for ATI hardware. (I haven't seen anything yet, but I haven't been watching since I switched to nVidia.)
Released:
2D specs for R300-R500, R600
3D specs for R300-R500
Not released:
3D specs for R600
TCore (graphics card simulation)
Might be released:
Low-end code from the fglrx driver

In short, they still haven't released the specs on their latest generation and R700 is expected sometime this year. Yes, it's a promising development but if you want the latest and greatest, it's closed source whether you go with ATI or nVidia...

Re:nVidia next? (1)

incripshin (580256) | about 6 years ago | (#23006720)

I hope nVidia continues to be a bastard. ATI and AMD seem to always have better technology than nVidia and Intel, but they get tramped on. If ATI can have an advantage somewhere, I hope it stays that way.

Re:nVidia next? (1)

Z34107 (925136) | about 6 years ago | (#23007356)

I hope nVidia continues to be a bastard. ATI and AMD seem to always have better technology than nVidia and Intel, but they get tramped on.

They get tramped on because they don't have better hardware - not since nVidia bought Voodoo, anyway. Their Phenom chips can't even best the low-end Intel chips, and that was pre-Nehalem.

They're playing with the whole "spider" platform for a reason - hoping that a bunch of parallelized, crappy hardware is the same as one good, expensive piece of hardware. (Generally, it's not - e.g., CrossFire and SLI generally don't double performance.)

Re:nVidia next? (2, Insightful)

incripshin (580256) | about 6 years ago | (#23007778)

I don't want to get off topic, but crossfire is a much better technology than SLI. It distributes load far more effectively than SLI. Crossfire will continue to improve while SLI starts to look more and more like Crossfire. AMD processors have been performing better than Intel chips at lower cost for as long as I can remember. When it all comes down to it, most people are not choosing products based on technology or value. They choose based on name recognition, and it annoys me. I cheer for the underdog and for competition, but you don't see things that way.

Re:nVidia next? (1)

evanjfraser (1007315) | about 6 years ago | (#23010186)

Some references/explanations would be nice. How does Crossfire distribute load far more effectively than SLI for example.

LOL (1, Funny)

daveime (1253762) | about 6 years ago | (#23005858)

Nvidia should be next

Yes, just as soon as they get the Vista Drivers sorted out ... some time in 2087.

kudos (4, Insightful)

immerohnegott (949338) | about 6 years ago | (#23005884)

While not exactly a major powerhouse by my estimate, VIA still holds a pretty decent hunk of marketshare. Nice to see one more (relatively) large player see Linux as a valid enough market to make this kind of effort.

Re:kudos (2, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | about 6 years ago | (#23005950)

they're not a force in the desktop, but unless i'm mistaken, they're pretty big in the embedded sector.

I'll believe it when I see it working.... (4, Insightful)

questro (802656) | about 6 years ago | (#23005898)

I'll believe it when I see the drivers working on my Ubuntu system with desktop effects active. I've tried the OpenChrome drivers and other things and nothing works with the UniChrome Pro CN400/PM880 video card that I have. Via has been very disappointing so far.

Re:I'll believe it when I see it working.... (3, Insightful)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 6 years ago | (#23006070)

I was also thinking this is too little, too late. After a few years of playing around with VIA systems, I've moved to Intel boards where opensource drivers just work.

Nevertheless, it would be nice to see this work for real. Competition is always welcome. Frankly, it's weird that VIA hardware is geared towards embedded/mobile use, while providing drivers mainly for the most power-hungry OS on the planet.

Re:I'll believe it when I see it working.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23006582)

Same here. I've moved on and I now avoid VIA chipsets if at all possible. I used to have the VIA 686B for my southbridge on a Gigabyte GA-7DX. The VIA drivers were fast but caused massive data corruption. This was mainly only detectable when rebooting the system to find that the registry was corrupted and windows would not boot. Anyone know if their windows drivers, or chipsets, are any better these days?

As the the linux driver initiative, it's comforting to see them willing to cooperate with the open source community. But after my past experience with their products they'll have produce something truly amazing to regain my confidence.

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

julesh (229690) | about 6 years ago | (#23010348)

I'll believe it when I see the drivers working on my Ubuntu system with desktop effects active. I've tried the OpenChrome drivers and other things and nothing works with the UniChrome Pro CN400/PM880 video card that I have. Via has been very disappointing so far.

The amusing thing is, I bought a "Linux PC" with Ubuntu preinstalled not long ago, which came with one of these cards. Couldn't get the damned thing to run in more than 800x600, and had to go out and buy an nvidia card in the end...!

I like VIA's strategy (5, Informative)

$random_var (919061) | about 6 years ago | (#23005966)

They go out of their way to encourage the growth of an ecosystem in which their products can compete. Not too long ago I hadn't heard of any PC/laptop processors besides AMD/Intel, but thanks to VIA's encouragement of the Ultra-mobile PC market (or 'netbooks' as Intel likes to call them) they have suddenly become a player.

VIA created the nanobook [via.com.tw] reference design for mini-laptops that use their low-cost, low-power chips. Already the CloudBook [wikipedia.org] has come out based on that design, and in other countries various similar laptops have been released from different distributors. Now they're stimulating essential linux development, which will continue to increase the value of their low-cost platform. This has "win" written all over it; we're all going to come out ahead thanks to their strategy.

Re:I like VIA's strategy (1)

Erikderzweite (1146485) | about 6 years ago | (#23010220)

This has "lin" written all over it; we're all going to come out ahead thanks to their strategy.
Here, fixed it for you.

Let's be honest here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23005980)

Who else typed in "linux.via.com.tw" anyway?

Re:Let's be honest here. (1)

HeroreV (869368) | about 6 years ago | (#23007580)

I selected the text and dragged it to the URL bar, since I already had my right hand on my mouse.

Extend It To Crypto (4, Informative)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | about 6 years ago | (#23006014)

I hope they consider extending it to their crypto accelerator. Even low end Via boards (like the C3 I bought two years ago for $60 from newegg) include a hardware RNG and low level AES routines, and it would be cool to get some proper support. I've used Sun's crypto accelerators on their T2000's and the difference on certain algorithms is stunning.

Re:Extend It To Crypto (1)

bersl2 (689221) | about 6 years ago | (#23006110)

Support exists already. Run a version of make config on the kernel sources, and maybe you'll see this.

Re:Extend It To Crypto (4, Insightful)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 6 years ago | (#23006118)

Umm, this has been in the vanilla Linux kernel for a while. I've tried it with the C7 with great success, too bad the rest of the motherboard wasn't particularly good with Linux.

Re:Extend It To Crypto - already done (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23006144)

The Via H/W random generator is used as a /dev/[u]random driver in current kernels, and the AES engine is available as an openssl 'engine', so I'm not sure what else you need.

Via really stuffed up, however, when they made repeated half-baked attempts at 'semi-binary' drivers which worked only on ancient versions like Redhat 9 and wouldn't provide any support or information on the MPEG decoding chip (in the CLE266 and above) which was essential to getting working DVD and DVB playback on the low power boards like the Nemiah.

I won't hold my breath...

Re:Extend It To Crypto - already done (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 6 years ago | (#23006188)

Via really stuffed up, however, when they made repeated half-baked attempts at 'semi-binary' drivers which worked only on ancient versions like Redhat 9 and wouldn't provide any support or information on the MPEG decoding chip (in the CLE266 and above) which was essential to getting working DVD and DVB playback on the low power boards like the Nemiah.

I agree with the general sentiments on the VIA-Linux relationship. However, my old system with a 1 GHz Nehemiah [sic] and CLE266 played DVDs just fine without MPEG2 acceleration, using MPlayer.

Re:Extend It To Crypto - already done (1)

andy_t_roo (912592) | about 6 years ago | (#23009236)

"There are 10 people in the world: those who know about number systems with sufficiently large bases."
and what about the other 11?

Cool (3, Interesting)

markov_chain (202465) | about 6 years ago | (#23006042)

Hopefully they will officially GPL their wireless drivers too. They have source code for a nice, hackable, soft-MAC driver right now but no license.

Re:Cool (2, Interesting)

incripshin (580256) | about 6 years ago | (#23006586)

Hopefully they don't. I don't understand why the hell is so necessary about that five page document. If they used BSD or MIT license, then the BSDs could use it. Linux people have seen so much GPL software that they think it must be a good thing. I used to be one of them.

VIA... open... 3d.... driver..... (1)

downix (84795) | about 6 years ago | (#23006078)

VIA opened up their drivers? Is that a flying Porcine I witnessed this afternoon on the way home from work?

Am I The Only One... (-1, Offtopic)

sexconker (1179573) | about 6 years ago | (#23006166)

Am I the only one who is sick of typing in .com.tw ?
Seriously.

Are they ashamed of .tw ?
Do they think .com magically makes them more professional?

Why not just have a .com ?

Re:Am I The Only One... (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | about 6 years ago | (#23006394)

.com.xx are pretty standard domains around the world.

.com.xx are generally used for commercial companies by national registrars as to not to flood second level domain system with bunch of quickly changing names. Not everybody has millions to dump into support of top level domains.

Re:Am I The Only One... (0, Offtopic)

sexconker (1179573) | about 6 years ago | (#23006986)

Common yes, standard, no.
And I've ONLY ever seen it for .tw .

Millions to dump into support of top level domains? What?

Any bum can have a dot com.

Take MSI.
They own www.msicomputer.com and www.msi.com.tw .
They don't own www.msi.com .

I should be able to type in company.com, and if necessary, get redirected to company.tw .
No reason to have company.com.tw , and no reason to not just have company.com . Millions? What?

Re:Am I The Only One... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23006638)

ashamed
I don't think that word means what you think it means.

VIA Envy24 Audio Chipsets (2, Interesting)

nbritton (823086) | about 6 years ago | (#23006432)

What about the Envy24 audio chipsets? These chipsets are sweet but the documentation is locked up.

Open Source Drivers? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23006478)

Finally, I won't have to bring my proprietary clubs to the golf course!

will work with the community eh? (2, Insightful)

rastoboy29 (807168) | about 6 years ago | (#23006680)

Methinks "VIA will work with the community" translates to "VIA would really like the community to do all the work, and will be good enough to host it on their website", perhaps?

Re:will work with the community eh? (1)

ianare (1132971) | about 6 years ago | (#23006944)

As opposed to not releasing anything and having the community reinvent the wheel by reverse engineering everything?

Re:will work with the community eh? (2, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 6 years ago | (#23007600)

Methinks "VIA will work with the community" translates to "VIA would really like the community to do all the work,

If they just publish the specs and stand back, I'm fine with that.

If they also release some of their current code under a free license it's a nice bonus. ... and will be good enough to host it on their website", perhaps?

ANOTHER bonus!

Re:will work with the community eh? (1)

Zoxed (676559) | about 6 years ago | (#23010456)

Whilst agreeing with your basic cynicism (!!) if they also publish how their hardware *works*, sufficient to write drivers, then it is still a big step !!

linux.via.com.tw -- no such host (3, Insightful)

Big Jojo (50231) | about 6 years ago | (#23006962)

Their press announcement arrived before any content, sigh.

The PR says the website will start with: drivers, technical documentation, source code, and information regarding the VIA CN700, CX700/M, CN896 and the new VIA VX800 chipsets. It'd be good to see docs on their more widely used chipsets, like vt8235 and vt8237 ... detailed ones, including errata. I mean, currently they piss off almost everyone who uses their chipsets, so why would anyone want to buy NEW hardware with VIA chips if it's not even clear the current stuff can be made to work well?

It's a nice idea, years overdue. But even at that, pre-announced.

What about releasing documentation on their chips? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23007030)

Instead of just releasing source code, why can't they also release documentation for developers to write the drivers for other non-linux OS'?

Having linux-specific source code drivers does not benefit the open-source community as a whole, it means that we are reliant on one vendor to maintain and fix bugs in the driver, rather than giving the power to the community, which is what open-source is about...

What license? (1)

Progman3K (515744) | about 6 years ago | (#23008490)

If it's GPL3, does that mean Microsoft may NOT re-use the code?
It would be interesting if all vendors did the same.
Anyhow, good news, everyone!

meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23009104)

So, I have to buy a new laptop to get linux drivers for it... yippee. I'm glad to see finally some linux support, but drivers on laptops have been an issue for quite some time now. I hope they release drivers for old stuff too.

I can't but help think I had a hand in this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23009234)

A few months ago while working on an embedded GNU/Linux system running on VIA hardware I found that many of the VIA kernel modules were labeled as GPL in modinfo. I e-mailed a contact I had at VIA asking for the source but was told that VIA only set the license to GPL so they would compile(meaning they used GPL only symbols). I went back and forth with them for a couple of weeks about how this was illegal until my boss and I escalated it to legal. Legal finally told via that my company(a very large hardware manufacture) would not use any VIA hardware that we felt violated the GPL. We were told that they were working on a solution and would get back to us before launch. Today VIA sent us this.

Linux Driver Project headed by Greg K-H exists... (1)

Karellen (104380) | about 6 years ago | (#23010280)

...so why are VIA trying to split open source driver development resources instead of partnering with/providing support for the existing project that is already being run by a Linux kernel developer [linuxdriverproject.org] . IMO that would do more to actually help the state of open-source drivers, instead of sounding more like a grab for headlines.

This seems especially stupidly timed the LDP's recent status report [linuxdriverproject.org] .
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