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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Re: Hooks for binary only parts?We don't know. They might. It depends.
The obvious example is copy protection. The MPAA is under this hilarious delusion that they can protect the bits all the way from the DVD to the screen. Part of that is setting up HDCP on the video cable. ATI probably can't tell us how that works, because if they did, we could just turn it off, and then OMG PIRACY. So what will likely happen there is the driver will just not do HDCP normally, and if you want to sell a fully licensed DVD player that runs linux, you'll just add that as a plugin.
You can either do this by maintaining the hooks in the open code, or by maintaining your own internal branch of the code that you only give to people who pay for it (ie, people building an appliance). Or maintain that in fglrx, I suppose. And, yeah, if the open source community decides they don't want that kind of closed hook in the open code, there's not a lot AMD can do about that, so option 1 might not be an option at all.
Again, the intention here is not to cripple the open drivers, or to require some magic closed blob to make things 30% faster. That doesn't help anyone, AMD included. They really do want to enable as much as they can in the open drivers to make their hardware look good. And, let's face it, copy protection makes their hardware - any hardware - look bad.