AMD annoucement of open drivers...
Alex Deucher and I have been working with AMD on this for about 3 months now and it's great to see it finally go public with their plans going forward. The initial code from Novell/SuSE will be appearing around XDS time, and AMD will also be attending.
Initially it will be a 2D modesetting driver, and hopefully a 3D driver will follow later. They are not stopping work on fglrx and will not be releasing any code from fglrx.
They will also be providing us with some access to engineering staff for information on older cards that we hadn't access to before, so we can properly support the current radeon driver (mainly BIOS parsing and workarounds..)
AMD, myself and Red Hat are also working through clearing me from my NDA issues so I can work on the r5xx cards.
So its all very positive and hopefully it we can all work together going forward to produce a top-notch open source driver...
If anyone has any questions on this feel free to post them here and I'll try and answer them if I can...
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Those that do not learn from the past...AMD has figured out that Linux users have learned that ATI hardware when used with open drivers is no functionally better than cheaper video cards. But this announcement is just another ATI lie of "ATI speak" that implies more than what they will really provided.
ATI has claimed for a long time to provide "specifications" to the "community." In reality, the provide part of the specification to a select few developers under NDA. The developers aren't permitted to share with others and ATI refuses to respond to queries from others for the specs since it was "already released." There is a pending request to ATI for specs that they will be "getting back to me" about sometime *AFTER 6 YEARS* have already passed.
ATI has never made it clear that by "having provided the specification" does not mean all of the specifications to support all of the marketed features of the video card. They even have claimed commitment to iDCT/MPEG decompression support for Linux with an "ATI kit" that they never followed through the commitment for. To date, there is no XVMC or similar API supported by either the open source drivers or binary drivers and the specifications to provide such support will "NEVER be released" according to ATI's own employee!
While increase in speed of CPUs has reduced the need for iDCT hardware for MPEG 480i/480p streams, for HD-DVD and BluRay playback, getting access to these specification is extremely helpful! But the bottom line is that ATI will continue with business as usual that Linux users will be charged a premium price for features that they will never get to take advantage of.
Giving AMD/ATI more undeserved marketing buzz when they continue to just imply things they won't provide just discourages people from seeking solutions which have a real commitment to the community. Each time ATI claims they will be (maybe... someday) providing something, the response from the community should be: PUT UP OR SHUT UP! In the mean time, we can't allow these announcements of misdirection to distract from a focus on a true Open Graphics Project.