Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
It *has* been starting earlier each generation and will continue to do so. For the current generation we started development well before launch but not as early as the proprietary driver. For the next generation we are more-or-less aligned with proprietary driver development.
Does the fact that you are aligned with the proprietary driver development schedule, also mean that the level of robustness and performance of the open driver is going to be similarly aligned with the proprietary driver? Keep in mind here I'm just talking about raw performance -- fill rate, FPS, ability to keep the shader pipeline busy so it doesn't stall for 1/5 second every other frame, and so on... I'm not talking about "features" like video encode/decode, OpenCL, support for newer versions of OpenGL, quad buffers / 3D (e.g. 3d bluray or OpenGL 4.x 3D), and so on and so forth. So just to get those things off the table... performance... if you start work at the same time as the proprietary driver, are you going to be able to achieve comparable performance to the proprietary driver as well?

It's an innocent question; I honestly don't know the answer. I'm not sure what your (slightly expanded) team of programmers can do if they're given that enormous amount of time to work on a chip, and IIRC you said that the next generation (HD8000) is going to be a much less radical departure from GCN than GCN was from pre-GCN. I guess a part of me is optimistic that with all the extra time and more programmers working from the very beginning of the cycle, you might have a chance to chunk out 70 or 80% of the performance of Catalyst, assuming PCI-E 2.0 support enabled and we set the GPU/VRAM clocks correctly? Or is that a pipe dream?