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Re: VGA cards

On Tue, 15 Dec 2009 15:28:19 -0800, Kelly Clowers wrote:

> On Tue, Dec 15, 2009 at 14:39, Camaleón wrote:

>> That "100 people" was just a "supposition", sir :-)
> Hmmm, then that sentence needs some qualifiers or something:
> "so even *if we had* 100 dedicated engineers working on ATI drivers, we
> *would* still have an incomplete open source driver."
> Which probably isn't true anyway, with that much in the way of
> resources, you could reverse engineer it in short enough order.

"Reverse engineering" is not legal in some countries and it's not a fair 
approach when we are speaking about a company (AMD/ATI) that you are 
naming it as "linux-friendly".

Hey, we have the docs and specs, why should we need reverse engineer it 
at all? >:-)

>> Just 3 or 4 people should be enough if they could get access to the
>> full specs for the hardware. But that is not the case.
> 3 or 4 people, if they had enough time (where enough = lots). Writing 3D
> drivers is no trivial task even with full documentation, which they have
> (or really close to full at least).

I think we differ in what a "linux-friendly" company should be.

My understanding is that a company having any really interest in the 
linux world and open source code it just develops (by their means) the 
drivers and releases them with any of the open licences available.

Like Intel is currently doing. Nor ATI nor Nvidia.

>>> The only thing
>>> I know of that has actually been held back is some of the MPEG
>>> acceleration stuff, since ATI implements it by licensing patents from
>>> MPEG-LA . AFAIK, anything else that has not been released is due to
>>> the docs not actually existing in a coherent form, or they are still
>>> being cleared by the legal department.
>> And do you find that a "linux-friendly" approach?
> Yes.

Maybe I am a bit more exigent on that matter :-)

>> The status of the supported capabilities by "radeon" and "radeonhd"
>> drivers is as follows:
>> http://xorg.freedesktop.org/wiki/RadeonFeature
>> http://xorg.freedesktop.org/wiki/radeonhd%3Afeature
>> Does not look so good.
> I am very familiar with those pages. There is still more work to do of
> course, but all in all, it looks like very good progress.

And you don't bother why AMD/ATI (being a "linux-friendy" company) does 
not provides these drivers?

If I were AMD/ATI, I will like to see at the same level of quality and 
performance *any* of the drivers I am providing to my users, being 
windows, linux, *bsd or solaris users.

>>> Yes and no? What is this, a quantum superposition?
>> I agree that Xorg people have done a very good job (by their own) with
>> radeon/radeonhd drivers.
> I wasn't speaking of the independent xorg devs (although they also do a
> good job), I was saying AMD is doing a very good job.

In what way is doing a very good job? A good job could be if they 
collaborate a bit for the development of their drivers, not just by 
providing "some" specs and letting other doing its job.
>> But I have to disagree in regards AMD/ATI. It's not a linux-friendly
>> company and has not released the full specs for their vga cards. Just
>> some papers. In these days, that's not enough.
> Just some papers? What else would they release? What specifically do you
> think they need to release?

They need to release the drivers. They need to open source the full 
drivers to their users. By "they" I mean AMD/ATI, of course, not X.org.
> Look at the r600 docs for example: a 342 page Instruction Set
> Architecture guide, a 43 page 3D acceleration guide, a 166 page 3D
> register guide and sample code for manipulating the atom command
> processor.

Look at its current status:


"(...) The 6xx/7xx 3D driver is starting to do useful things again after 
moving over to the radeon-rewrite mesa code base. As of last night, it 
seems to be behaving properly on 14 of the 63 tests in progs/redbook, 
drawing incorrectly on 24, and either not drawing or crashing on the 
remaining 25. Cooper found that the following tests rendered correctly :"

Get real. People expect more for their vga card than just "starts to do 
useful things" and "behaving properly on 14 of the 63 tests". They need a 
card does works 100% :-)

> Further, every time I read a blog from an xorg dev or an interview with
> one, they have nothing but praise for what AMD has done.

And I also thank AMD/ATI for their "effort". But also think it could do a 
bit more better, if the pretend to be a good alternative for Linux users.



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