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Thread: Discussion: Partial Open-Source GPU Drivers

  1. #1
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    Default Discussion: Partial Open-Source GPU Drivers

    Phoronix: Discussion: Partial Open-Source GPU Drivers

    Last week VIA re-released their Chrome 9 DRM in hopes of pushing it into the mainline Linux kernel. However, the only user of this DRM code at present is their Linux binary graphics driver and VIA Technologies has no intentions of providing an open-source Chrome 9 3D driver...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=NzM5MA

  2. #2
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    I agree with Stephane Marchesin. If a company does not support open source or free software, then I don't support them.

  3. #3
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    I tend to be a little more pragmatic than most on issues like this. If the binary driver works perfectly then honestly, I could give a rats ass if it isn't open source. I could care less about the politics - I just want things working properly.

    As far as the security risks and possibilities of future breakage: Well those are very important concerns, so I think I'll leave the debate up to the experts

  4. #4
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    While its cool that half their driver is open source, that does me about as good as half a rent check.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Sixpack View Post
    I tend to be a little more pragmatic than most on issues like this. If the binary driver works perfectly then honestly, I could give a rats ass if it isn't open source. I could care less about the politics - I just want things working properly.

    As far as the security risks and possibilities of future breakage: Well those are very important concerns, so I think I'll leave the debate up to the experts
    I couldn't agree more

  6. #6
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    I don't understand much the article (I'm no dev), but, why refusing a half open-source driver from VIA when it's accepted that Nvidia gives only a binary blob ?!?
    One could say it's better than nothing. As long as the VIA driver has no impact on stability, performance and security of linux.

    What makes more angry is seeing games editors using the linux power and stability for their server-part of their games but when it comes to the client, they forget linux. This is far more unacceptable IMO. But there is nothing the community can do against that...

  7. #7
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    I find it always (i know i am not alone with that) funny how people who use Linux or other opensource systems, donīt care about the openess of the system.

    And most funny about it is the reasoning: "If the binary driver works perfectly then honestly" show me one binary driver blob that works perfektly. It cant run perfektly in terms of portability as example. If you wanna try out a new rc of a kernel. it will work for 99.9% sure with a intel or ati opensource driver.
    If the api has chanches it will work NOT for 99.9% with a binary graphics blob. Then is the question when will the company release a driver that support this. Will you have to wait 2 weeks or 6 months.

    If you wanna use that driver on another processor you will be lost mostly too. Next itīs often a problem even with stable distro versions, you have to install it in a extra process sometimes that works good other times it givees problems.

    Next problem is Support, if you have a problem and think its a kernel problem you dont get support when you tainted your kernel (what makes sense)...

    And a firm on some day thinks oh ms sends me a little money I stop support now, then the driver is for newer linux-versions not usable or if the firm will be bought by another firm or the firm goes insolvent...

    I think thats a good philosophy to wait till the opensource driver can use it to something useful, and then only accept patches who fixes problems with this driver or generate features for it.

    Nobody forbits via this binary blob, but they can make it in userspace the kernel devs made a special interface for them.

  8. #8
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    I see no problem in that approach. If that will be accepted maybe fglrx+nvidia drivers could open the kernel part too. Mainly the kernel modules are problematic with kernel upgrades, so this would be better for maintainers. Basically closed source apps are already common and some closed source binary parts of gfx drivers usally don't hurt anybody. If somebody does not like that then he can use another gfx chip with oss driver.

  9. #9
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    I dont understand the problem. In the past the Kernel Devs say "The Kernel is GPL only and we dont care the user-space" now Via released an GPL DRM Kernel Modul and no one want it because its for the Closed Source 3D Driver.

  10. #10
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    Dec 2008
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    Default Why not

    I no expert but I too see the darkness in proprietary drivers, but how is this different from the current binary blob situation? Besides the binary blob having some GPl code sprinkled on top?

    For example the nvidia blob. It has problems with new kernels, and has to "catch up" to them. If nvidia release a new GPL sprinkled version of their blob, it would still have to catch up to stay current.

    And the blob probably has some unknown security problems too. But it seems better to have security problems in user-space, with the xserver running as user rather than root.

    Keeping proprietary drivers from working with the latest kernel functions would only make things stay the same rather than to improve a little.
    It would not make the binary blobs go away, voting with your wallet maybe can.

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