Re: amd64 and video card experiences?
On Mon, Aug 16, 2004 at 12:01:39AM +0100, Hugo Mills wrote:
> I have an ATi Radeon 9600 Pro. It works (in the sense that I can
> get X running acceptably). 2D works; 3D is unsupported. There are no
> 64-bit capable drivers for the 3D parts of the card for linux yet.
> ATi are being completely uncommunicative on the subject, and I'm
> starting to regret buying the card, after having been a happy ATi
> customer for many years.
ATI treats the Linux community like crap (which is very sad, because
the Linux community used to be very supportive of ATI). Some months
ago (March maybe) someone from ATI, which I'm not allowed to name, said
a Linux driver for Opteron systems was under development, and I was led
to understand that it would be unwise to hold your breath waiting for
it to be available. This driver would be of course binary-only.
So, if you want current-generation hardware you have no choice but
NVIDIA, which is available now and works. They provide binary-only
drivers, but if you ask the right people and do it nicely, you can
get a reaction and with a bit of luck, a reply. NVIDIA does staff
and/or fund a certain number of people for doing Linux development.
They have been hit repeatedly with a cluebat and they are getting
better at it.
There _are_ commercial ATI drivers for Linux, and IIRC, not only for
i386 but Opteron, too. My experience -- with i386 -- is that these
drivers leave _a lot_ to be desired when compared against the latest
XFree86. They might be faster, that's true, but what they have in
speed, they lack in the features department.
So, either cough up US$50 for a current-but-not-so-hot ATI card, which
is supported for the most basic stuff by a free driver, or spend US$100
in a lowish-end NVIDIA card, with, dare I say, 95% of the functionality
supported (TV-in Video-out is only so-so). Be warned, you'll have to
use a binary-only kernel driver, which will taint your kernel, which
looses you brownie-points with kernel developers (without enough of
these, you don't get support).
 Hint, "nicely" somehow implies not asking them to "open source"
their drivers. It's their code, they get to do with it whatever
they please. You can try mentioning that you would have interest
in them opening up the specs for their hardware, but again,
_nicely_. If you choose to spend money in hardware which you
already know is _not_ open, it's _your_ fault, not theirs.