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July 2014
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AMD hand me specs on a CD

So about 30 minutes ago AMD's Matthew Tippett and John Bridgman handed me a CD containing the initial 2D specs for M56 and rv630 without any NDA. They then gave CDs to anyone else in the room and they are now available at

This is a great initial step forward in the open source graphics driver story, since AMD rang me about 3 months and asked me to help out on setting a direction for this project I've been looking forward to this day.

Novell/SuSE are working on a driver based on these docs which should be available in the next week or so.

Big thanks to AMD for reopening dealings with the open source community, and I hope to be able to bring the good news as it happens here.

Thank you AMD et al!

Big thanks to AMD and everyone else involved in this great moment for free and open source software community. Can't wait to see the improved free drivers with working 3D for my laptop with integrated ATI graphics.

that's pretty sweet. keep up the good work.

woot! It's good to see some specs at last. I look forward to my laptop being able to run my TV output soon :-)

One question how useful will these specs be for the older cards like my rv350 based one? A quick glance doesn't seem to show any history of "been here since..." variety.

i'm not up on the ATI architecture since the last time I touched this stuff was when 3Dfx first released specs (I actually saw them a couple of months before the public release) - but it seems to me that all manner of opcode and command stuff is missing from the two files that went up.

Yeah, it's just the output setup stuff at the moment. 2D and 3D are coming soon.

it's just the

it's just the output setup stuff at the moment.
No TV-out, of course?
2D and 3D are coming soon.
Is it "No 2D" or "no 2D acceleration/gpu assisted"?

Many thanks to Xorg and freedom hackers who got all this this far!! Please don't stop. :)

Re: it's just the

it's just the output setup stuff at the moment.
No TV-out, of course?
Oh, i see: "TV out is not yet on the plate".
"processes had to be created, legal issues had to be resolved"...
Macromedia patents, i guess...

Good news

I really appreciate this step from AMD. There are two GPU-specific documents available at the moment; but in how far do the information in them apply to other GPUs?

And (when) will further documentation be released to the public, espacially those containing 3D registers/commands?

Re: Good news

3D stuff will be released in the next couple of months or so. Each doc requires individual signoff, and rather than batch them as one big drop later on, ATI/AMD are releasing each doc as soon as they can: we got the CDs literally 45 seconds after John got final approval from AMD management.

At least I'm glad to see that they are dealing with people that have a clue (like you) on what the problem are and what is needed.

I had doubt about the announcement, reading it as PR FUD, but now I feel reassured.

Yay, it

I also assumed this was spin, very happy it's not, at last I can build a new computer in the knowledge that soon I'll have good OS graphics drivers. Yay.

Re: Yay, it


Looks like a good bit of light reading. The rv630 is 434 pages, the M56 460!

Looks to be the real deal, though. None of this "return the documents when AMD says so" bullhockey either.

This is good news. Interesting...

Thank you, AMD!

You are really setting a noticable mark here - ATI refused to publish chip specs, but you do. Makes me feel that the merger was a good thing and AMD cares about us OpenSource community.

Thank you!

Processing with the GPU, speculation & questions.

What are the chances of the specks enabling us to use the GPU for more general purpose processing? I frequently backup and compress whole harddrives of data, or transcode MPEG2 video captured from my PVR-150 to Xvid, (soon H.264) is it going to be possible to use the GPU for some/which appropriate tasks?

The Folding@Home people only support R500 series GPUs because "The X1K boards were the first to support 32-bit precision and branching/looping on the ATI/AMD side of the world" and they strongly recommend the R580 / X1900 series, as it has 48 pixel shaders, presumably the same will be true of any future GPGPU efforts?

What are the chances of H264 playback assistance, or a more general video decompression framework, on older (R300) hardware? Presumably this wouldn't require branching/looping and may well enable thousands of older PC's to perform as HD MythTV frontends.

I realise these questions are way ahead of them selves, and there's a LOT of work to do before we get to this point, but I'm just very excited (how sad is that) at the prospect.

Thank you for you tireless effort on behalf of the FOSS community

3D specs?

What is the release status of the 3D programming specs?
Any ETA?

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