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airlied [userpic]
AMD/ATI drivers media grab

So a marketing dude said something about open drivers for AMD/ATI gpus and working with the community.

Can people get excited when AMD/ATI actually do something rather than showboat for media headlines?

Like ATI won't let me release my r500 source because I shouldn't have used a utility they gave me under NDA on those cards, now the thing is I done the correct thing and contacted them asking if I could release the code, so far this has just been stonewalled by their Linux driver management and their "legal" department, this isn't the action of a company trying to interact with the community or one that gives a rats arse about community..

Something most people may not know is that ATI do have engineering resources to support the open source driver, we get patches to it via Novell or RH every so often, these patches are invariably of dubious quality and are to fix Dell or IBM servers, however in fixing Dell or IBM they invariably break at least one other working platform if not more, again this is not interacting with the community this is pushing code via vendors who don't really understand the intricacies of the driver...

Maybe if ATI/AMD fix the above two things I might believe they are interested in working with the community... or even if someone from either side of the conglomerate was to contact me and ask how they could work with the open source driver going forward...


At last, the fine word. I was still thinking that the guy at "enterpriseblog" just drunk the cool aid and took the marketing b.s. "we'll address problem with the community" as "we'll open source the drivers" which is wrong. So far, all the news bits reporting this linked back to that "enterpriseblog" and eventually to chris blizzard, the one that transcript the b.s. as it is.

Time for another slashdotting. ;-)

And keep the fight.


To the best of my knowledge there have been two slashdot posts on this. The first one (http://linux.slashdot.org/linux/07/05/10/1424224.shtml) used blizzard (http://0xdeadbeef.com/weblog/?p=288) as a source and even included a links to airlied's (http://airlied.livejournal.com/31180.html) and davej's (http://kernelslacker.livejournal.com/48773.html) blogs but was slammed (http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=234219&cid=19068045) for having too much conjecture in it.

The second and more popular slashdot post (http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/10/1424224) a few days later did away with the speculation and said AMD had promised open source drivers (this one used the enterpriseblog (http://enterpriselinuxlog.blogs.techtarget.com/2007/05/09/amd-will-deliver-open-graphics-drivers/) as the source). There's a a buried comment with a summary of links (http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=234581&cid=19106085) but one of the links goes to another person who says AMD just committed to making their drivers "better" (http://spot.livejournal.com/268793.html) not necessarily open source or Free.

Just out of interested Hub is submitting stories to /. considered bad practice (http://www.0xdeadbeef.com/weblog/?p=288#comment-21162)? If so I will abstain from submitting things myself in the future...

Re: Slashdot

I didn't submit to slashdot. I just reported that slashdot run the story.

Slashdot is the tabloid for nerds. Unlike The Register, they try to NOT verify stories. If someone read it on the internet, it is true.

In general submitting to slashdot is a way to attract people to read it. It is as good to spread the truth than the FUD.

Re: Slashdot

My poor punctuation in my previous post warped my final sentence. It should have been: "Just out of interest Hub, is submitting stories to /. considered bad practice?" I read your comment on Blizzard's blog and thought it conveyed a feeling of "why do people post this stuff to /. - they should know better". There shouldn't have been any implication that you submitted the story. I guess the only way to avoid the /. double edged sword is not to submit at all. I dunno that I trust El Reg 100% though - they seem to have an axe to grind at times...

(Wow my previous post came out really ugly. I'm sure it didn't look like that in the preview but I'll know not to use links next time)

Re: Slashdot

I don't trust any journalistic source anyhow. It is just a ratio between tabloid-gossips (slashdot, osnews, etc.) and The Register (that seems to do a better coverage work).

Everything as to be taken with a grain of salt anyhow.

And sorry for misunderstanding.

The "marketing dude"

This is the "marketing dude": http://www.amd.com/us-en/Corporate/AboutAMD/0,,51_52_570_11576,00.html

He is the ExecVP of Sales and Marketing and no slacker either. I'd suggest contacting him and saying: "this is a concrete way to make your promise have some real substance: this is a marketing win." Just like anything, if you want anything other than the status quo, you have to go to the top of the chain of command.

Amen. Just hang in there airlied. Some of us really appreciate and depend on you and the rest of the OSS ATI Driver Team's hard work.


They say presumptions are the mother of all f**kups. I would have presumed that if AMD/ATI are going to do Open Source drivers, they would be talking to the likes of you.


Talked to AMD guys a while back

I had a talk with some AMD guys at the chemitzer linuxtage. I also mentioned the case with your r500-code.

They told me that they "heared from someone" that ATI stopped cooperation with you due to violation of an NDA. It sounded very much like FUD to me, but maybe you can bring up some light on this.

Re: Talked to AMD guys a while back

It *could* be miscommunication internally but that is perhaps just being charitable...

Re: Talked to AMD guys a while back

If they stopped talking to him for "violating the NDA", he should just release the code. Any attempt to sue him for the NDA after publically promising to release Open Source drivers would be an utter publicity nightmare. Perhaps it will even get them to release R600 drivers too just to save face.

When people start voting with their wallets..

The people at the top of the food chain will change their tune.


Release it anyway. P2P is your friend.

Once it's out, it's hard to stop. Plus we can expand on it from there.



Put it on p2p. Put it on mininova and the pirate bay. Give the driver to a Canadian and they'll "mod" it... and release it, or something to skirt the law. God damnit, just release it. The current drivers under linux are horrible. Once they're released they will spread like wildfire, and ati/amd will have NO CHOICE but to release a better driver asap, because everyone will already be using yours. RE-EFFING-LEASE IT.

Use your PR department

Suggestions for people at ATI who know about this.
Step 0: Make sure you are in the right and that you have something that everyone can agree upon once they have all your facts (plus their own that they have already). Being at the corporation for more than a few months/years also helps.
Step 1: Get the contact information for your PR and/or project intake department. (Via people networking, asking your boss for contact information, or just going to the external ATI site and finding the address there.)
Step 2: Make sure your manager/boss/director will get your back if someone from within your corporation attacks you.
Step 3: Write a polite, formal (yet unofficial), carefully worded email to the contacts in step 1 concerning the situation. Try to use as many facts/numbers and official statements (like the statement from the "marketing dude") as possible. Try to keep the CC'ing/BCC'ing to a minimum as it tends to make people defensive.
Step 4: Be prepared to step back and to not defend yourself (right away). At big corporations, politics and red tape are more important than facts, so please make sure these are established
Step 5: Using the previous steps and some conversations, get at least one of the PR/project intake people convinced that you do have a good point and they should do something about it.
Step 6: Once step 5 is completed to the best of your abilities, ask the PR/project intake person if they can help 'nudge'/'push' the appropriate people to do what you wish.
Step 7: Be prepared to answer a lot of questions. In my experience, if I would position myself correctly, I would become the 'subject matter expert' or 'senior tech. on the project', and thus would have some ability to steer the project. (Please note: 'steering' a project/application in a corporation is always incredibly difficult and time-consuming.)
Step 8: Be happy with the result. It is never going to be exactly what you wanted, but at least it is better than nothing.
Step 9: Share your happiness with people that helped you. Show that you made the company better because of your and their actions.
Step 10: Have an ally and/or wait for an ally to 'discover' that just a few tweaks to this whole thing could do the company even better!
Step 11: Go to step 7. Step 8 and 9 should become simplier.

For more information, contact redtape {AT} koolma {DOT} com . I have 'tested' and tried these steps at two multinational corporations multiple times with general success. However, sometimes the turn around for general opinion can take close to a decade or beyond.

Release it ?!?

Are you nuts. Do you even know what a NDA is ?
They'll be all over him like starved pitbulls.

Or did you mean he should sacrifice himself for the team ?

We should know before summer

FWIW, Henri Richard told me that they're working on it and he'll make an official statement before this summer. Of course it doesn't mean much, but remember the guy's from AMD, not ATI.

Re: We should know before summer

One other thing to keep in mind is that AMD/ATI are in the middle of the process of going through a merger. Having been through a few that were bigger and a few smaller mergers I have personal knowledge of how disruptive the process is. Remember the merger happened in Oct of last year whihc not that long ago. From my experience they are still dealing with sorting out policy and organizational issues. Many of the employees are in CYA mode and are only interested in surviving the process. Some of these issues may not be fully sorted out for several years.

If they actually make a solid announcement about their direction sometime this summer I think that this is about as fast as this could possibly happen given the merger. Also keep in mind that when this process is happening that anything that is not business as usual (and the code update to the driver we are talking about on this thread is NOT business as usual) grinds to a halt.

(no subject) - (Anonymous)
AMD announce that they will support an open driver for R500 and later GPUs

Credible reports about started appearing early this morning. See


airlied have you heard anything about this?

Re: AMD announce that they will support an open driver for R500 and later GPUs

for starters i will belive it when i see somthing, i judt think they are full of crap. as for even "improving" fglrx, i also belive this to be nonsence.

this is a message for david,

by signing this NDA, AMD/ATI has effectivly taken you out from helping the opensource gnu/linux community. you are now useless to this project (and possibly any other ati related work) i hope the community takes this as a hard learned lesson that anyone remotly valuble should NEVER sign such an agreement, even if the company lies and claimes that the work would "some day be released"

so as for the source of this driver.. i personaly would go the p2p route and claim i was "hacked" ... or somehow get my self "hacked".... (which side are you on david, what loyalty do you owe to this corperation)

If you decide to get buried with this code you wrote, with the intention of releasing it to the community (but never do becasue of the NDA) i give you no respect.

the NDA makes this code ilegal to the gpl, but releasing it would force and/ati to make good on their empty promises.

sincerly techzilla,

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