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Thread: AMD/ATI lost another Linux customer

  1. #11
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    Cut AMD some slack. They definitely did the right thing in releasing documentation, which means that those cards will probably end up being supported virtually indefinitely.

    Open source driver development is slow, I grant you that, but AMD are even paying developers to work on the open source driver, even though they have no obligation at all to do that (after all, why should they put resources into two different drivers).

    To be honest, I have not much experience with fglrx, but it does seem to me like AMD are definitely on the right track - which can't really be said about NVidia. (Of course, Intel is still king of the hill in that respect, even if you account for the desaster that is Poulsbo.)

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhaehnle View Post
    Cut AMD some slack. They definitely did the right thing in releasing documentation, which means that those cards will probably end up being supported virtually indefinitely.

    Open source driver development is slow, I grant you that, but AMD are even paying developers to work on the open source driver, even though they have no obligation at all to do that (after all, why should they put resources into two different drivers).

    To be honest, I have not much experience with fglrx, but it does seem to me like AMD are definitely on the right track - which can't really be said about NVidia. (Of course, Intel is still king of the hill in that respect, even if you account for the desaster that is Poulsbo.)
    I'm not implying that what AMD did was in any way wrong. Quite the opposite. I think what they did is great!

    What I'm saying is that I took the risk of switch to AMD/ATI after having a pretty good experience with NVIDIA, and that backfired big time.

    What I'm also saying is that if the current trend continues, I will never be able to use a latest generation AMD card with the latest of what Linux has to offer. I CAN do that with Intel and NVIDIA (at least for the time being). It would seem that AMD is always a couple of steps behind.

    Who knows? Maybe the situation changes in the coming months (I doesn't look like it's going to), and I will be able to switch back. I sincerely hope so. As I said before, I still think that AMD's hardware it pretty good, maybe even the best.

  3. #13
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    Just curious, why do you say it doesn't look like things are going to change ? We started the open source graphics work from scratch less than two years ago, working from oldest unsupported chips to newest, and have pretty much caught up already. All shipping GPUs have open source driver support with 2D and Xv acceleration, 5xx/690 and earlier have 3D acceleration, and 3D accel for 6xx/7xx is in a public repo and getting close to being ready for use.

    On the fglrx side we started supporting consumer use cases in late 2007, and have been gradually adding consumer-oriented features and distro support since then. "Bleeding edge" distros like Fedora are only being supported with the open source drivers today -- sounds like that is your main complaint ?

    Anyways, if you look at where we were two years ago vs where we are today I think you would have to agree the situation is hardly "steady state" or "unlikely to change".
    Last edited by bridgman; 07-31-2009 at 01:57 PM.

  4. #14
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    Have to agree with one thing. It's taking a way too long! "New" catalyst driver was released almost 2 years a ago and it still can't handle something as "usual" as video playback properly (GL slow and crashy. XV washed out colors and tearing like hell). Also what the hell are those lockups introduced by 9.6?

    Free drivers 1st release was too almost 2 years ago and still it hardly supports OpenGL 1.3 with up to r500 and r600+ support second to useless if you consider the amount of money one puts to those cards and it's still going to take at least a year for any proper OpenGL 2 support through gallium.

    Quoting billoreilly "******* thing sucks"

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    Just curious, why do you say it doesn't look like things are going to change ? We started the open source graphics work from scratch less than two years ago, working from oldest unsupported chips to newest, and have pretty much caught up already. All shipping GPUs have open source driver support with 2D and Xv acceleration, 5xx/690 and earlier have 3D acceleration, and 3D accel for 6xx/7xx is in a public repo and getting close to being ready for use.

    On the fglrx side we started supporting consumer use cases in late 2007, and have been gradually adding consumer-oriented features and distro support since then. "Bleeding edge" distros like Fedora are only being supported with the open source drivers today -- sounds like that is your main complaint ?

    Anyways, if you look at where we were two years ago vs where we are today I think you would have to agree the situation is hardly "steady state" or "unlikely to change".
    I said that it doesn't look like it's going to change because:

    a) The software keeps changing (kernel, mesa, X, etc.),
    b) New hardware is being released

    If you start working from the oldest architecture to the newest, what you do is making the new customers pay for the support of the old ones. Kinda like a Ponzi scheme

    The support for distros like Fedora is my main concern. If none of the hardware manufacturer provided "support" for it, I would have kept my mouth shut. But this isn't the case. The latest Intel cards are supported, the latest NVIDIA cards are supported. My 1 year old HD4850 isn't. I don't mean official support from the manufacturer. I would settle for decent set of features, even if the driver is provided with an as-is disclaimer.

    I thought about where was I two years ago and I realized that I had a working NVIDIA card back then.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by m4rgin4l View Post
    I said that it doesn't look like it's going to change because:

    a) The software keeps changing (kernel, mesa, X, etc.),
    b) New hardware is being released
    That's what I don't understand. We've been dealing with those issues all this time, and in the last ~20 months have pretty much caught up after being out of open source graphics for ~7 years. Open source drivers don't get hit by changes in the underlying software because the developers making those changes can and do update the drivers at the same time - and keeping pace with new hardware introductions is much easier than catching up in the first place.

    Progress on the drivers has been pretty much what we said users should expect -- are you saying that you expected the release of specs to result in better, faster drivers "almost immediately" ? If so, I'm sorry but I don't believe that either we or the development community every said anything like that.

    If you're saying "I bought an ATI product a year ago because of the announcement about releasing programming specs, but I'm having trouble living with that decision because I really need full-featured 3D support on Fedora" that's a perfectly reasonable statement -- but that isn't how the thread started.

    Your original post said "What drove me to buy an ATI card was the news that they were going to publish the specifications and I thought that maybe for once a manufacturer understood how to interact with the community and that they were actually going to make some positive change in the Linux driver scene."

    Where do you think we have failed in that regard ?
    Last edited by bridgman; 07-31-2009 at 02:45 PM.

  7. #17

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    This thread makes me sad. Believe me though that I've seen equally as many people switch from Nvidia to ATI/AMD (I'm one of them) because Nvidia isn't as great as you make it seem.

    A few examples:
    The 71xx series of drivers is not receiving support anymore. That means users of everything Geforce2 and older are SOL when it comes to a stable driver. Nouveau crashes all the time and doesn't support any 3D.

    The 96xx series took 6 months to get support for Xserver 1.6. It's also likely getting too expensive to support and will be relegated to the waste bin.

    In a few years, the same thing will happen to the newer generation of cards.

    2D performance is much higher on the ATI/AMD OSS drivers. It's stable, doesn't crash, suspends properly, and offers tear-free Xv. KMS and DRI2 are here already, and Gallium3D will be here by next summer.

    Now, those features probably aren't foremost on your needs list, which means that you should've evaluated what the card and driver are capable of before purchasing. I'm as happy as a clam now on my R500 card which I bought one year ago. Tell me, what is it about fglrx that makes it unusable? I was on that driver before I transitioned to the OSS drivers once the support matured.

    As bridgman said, the driver team started from scratch on all the cards and have caught up now in all but the 3D for the R6xx/R7xx cards. In the next official release, they will be up to the previous gen level of support. The rate of progress now is fast enough that future generations of cards will be supported much faster than the R6xx/R7xx series is.
    Last edited by crumja; 07-31-2009 at 02:42 PM.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    OK, although I still don't understand the premise of the thread. Your original post said "What drove me to buy an ATI card was the news that they were going to publish the specifications and I thought that maybe for once a manufacturer understood how to interact with the community and that they were actually going to make some positive change in the Linux driver scene."

    What do you think we have failed to do in terms of interacting with the community etc.. ? Progress on the drivers has been pretty much in line with what we said users should expect -- are you saying that you expected the release of specs to result in better, faster drivers in a shorter period of time ? If so, I don't think any of the developers would have supported that view even 2 years ago.
    AMD hasn't failed at all. In terms of interaction with the community AMD did everything right (which is still surprising). The thing is that, at least for me, nothing have changed in the last year, I'm still dealing with a feature-less OSS driver and a non-working proprietary one.

    Anyway, I think there's no point in continuing arguing about this. This isn't helpful for anyone. Perhaps the only valuable piece of information that can be extracted from this thread is that Fedora users should stay away from the latest generation AMD cards, a fact that should be obvious for anyone willing to search through the forum.

    PS: Please refrain yourselves from suggesting that I should apply any of the patches that are publicly available to the Catalyst driver. Applying those patches is the manufacturer's job, not mine

  9. #19
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    no, patching is the distris job. If your distri can't do it, look for one that does.

    gentoo is even more 'moving' than fedora - and there fglrx is not really a problem. The ebuilds include all patches needed. Sure, sometimes you have to get it from bugzilla - or do it yourself in the first days after a release - but it is easily done.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by crumja View Post
    This thread makes me sad. Believe me though that I've seen equally as many people switch from Nvidia to ATI/AMD (I'm one of them) because Nvidia isn't as great as you make it seem.

    A few examples:
    The 71xx series of drivers is not receiving support anymore. That means users of everything Geforce2 and older are SOL when it comes to a stable driver. Nouveau crashes all the time and doesn't support any 3D.

    The 96xx series took 6 months to get support for Xserver 1.6. It's also likely getting too expensive to support and will be relegated to the waste bin.

    In a few years, the same thing will happen to the newer generation of cards.

    2D performance is much higher on the ATI/AMD OSS drivers. It's stable, doesn't crash, suspends properly, and offers tear-free Xv. KMS and DRI2 are here already, and Gallium3D will be here by next summer.

    Now, those features probably aren't foremost on your needs list, which means that you should've evaluated what the card and driver are capable of before purchasing. I'm as happy as a clam now on my R500 card which I bought one year ago. Tell me, what is it about fglrx that makes it unusable? I was on that driver before I transitioned to the OSS drivers once the support matured.

    As bridgman said, the driver team started from scratch on all the cards and have caught up now in all but the 3D for the R6xx/R7xx cards. In the next official release, they will be up to the previous gen level of support. The rate of progress now is fast enough that future generations of cards will be supported much faster than the R6xx/R7xx series is.
    CRAP! So I'm screwed either way

    Anyway, I think you made a very good point. Maybe the next gen cards will be supported faster. In the meantime I have to stick with whatever works NOW.

    Thanks for the info.

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