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Thread: Xi Graphics' Proprietary X Server, Drivers Have Faded Away

  1. #1
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    Default Xi Graphics' Proprietary X Server, Drivers Have Faded Away

    Phoronix: Xi Graphics' Proprietary X Server, Drivers Have Faded Away

    Xi Graphics, the company that once developed proprietary X Servers and graphics drivers for Linux and UNIX platforms, has faded away...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTE1MjQ

  2. #2
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    Is there a benchmark for X server overhead? If so, you could bench vesa on both, and the results would show what parts of Xorg need improvement.

  3. #3
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    http://www.xig.com/Pages/Edu/OpenSourceATI.pdf

    They were so in for money, that they did not hestate to criticize opensource projects.
    If this is the criteria of a well-designed X Window Subsystem, then the freeware-
    based Linux X servers from XFree86/X.org in combination with the "drivers" from XFree86/X.org
    and/or the graphics manufacturers fail miserably.
    Based on the following, they made majority of income selling driver for ATI cards.
    The failure of the "open source community" vehicle to provide quality X graphics software suitable
    for use in systems that require stability, good performance, and economical maintainability - often
    over long product life cycles - is not difficult to document. Just download the Linux graphics driver
    software packages from any of the major graphics chip manufacturers and examine them. Or visit
    the Linux user forums at those graphics manufacturers Web sites, although some have been
    discontinued because of the embarrassingly negative comments from users. Also one can delve
    into the Linux v2.6 kernel history. When even RedHat has moved to isolate itself from the
    machinations of the Linux kernel group, one suspects things are a bit less than optimal. Clearly
    the Linux 2.6 kernel has been a "moving target" for quite some time, and the prospects for a
    stable version seem dim.
    Using generic terms, they went on critizing idea about inkernel single driver (DRI) and network-less graphics system Wayland >:/
    The constantly changing Linux kernel coupled with the move by the XFree86/X.org "community"
    over the last few years to move parts of X out of the X server and into the kernel - "Direct
    Rendering Infrastructure" is just one (but big) example - dooms the Open Source "Linux graphics
    drivers" activity to one that has no hope of ever providing stable, high-quality, and easily
    maintained graphics software to the UNIX world. It hasn't happened in the past ten years, and it
    won't happen in the next ten. Apparently some in the open source X community have begun to
    grasp this reality, since there have been calls for X to be "dumped," to be replaced with an entirely
    new approach to graphics on UNIX. After making a hash out of X by ignoring the precepts of
    UNIX, and the specs of X, now they want to junk X. Cute.
    And they also were not looking into developing the Xorg, Kernel etc.
    They made money only by porting their existing drivers (made on the basis of opened ati documentation), to customers who paid - as proprietary solution.
    This would mean, their presence or absence does not help GNU/Linux at all.
    In other words, the X server architecture must be properly designed to support the overall goals of
    particular X applications. Then, the "driver" must efficiently harness the hardware capabilities in
    the specific graphics hardware in a manner that is compatible with the X server.
    And now, they conclude their "epicness" by saying in-kernel graphics solution is insecure, but X-only solution must be ported over and over. And they view this as "ideal"...
    When a graphics manufacturer develops a Linux/UNIX driver for a chip, the driver must be
    designed to "mate up" with the X server that is to be used. Unfortunately, if the X server is to be
    an XFree86 or X.org X server, a number of difficulties are encountered. There are many such X
    servers, and one driver will not work with the majority of them. Once a driver is working with one
    or more of these X servers, the manufacturer finds that the X servers are constantly changing.
    Thus the previously working drivers are often "broken" with a new X server release. Then, the
    Linux Group makes a kernel change, and both the X servers and drivers break. And so on.

    And, concluding, this is the reason why they went bankrupt:
    - Intel started to pay and produce opensource drivers.
    - Nvidia did own closed source drivers, but properly.
    - ATI closed documentation, provided own fglrx driver and later to reopened docs with own opensource solution. **

    They went from market because things improved and their proprietary solution to "un-suck" specific X version was not needed anymore.

    I'd say, its GOOD.


    **
    http://www.xig.com/Pages/CardsChips/...I-GENERAL.html
    Support for the R300 and later chips has been restricted somewhat by a new ATI Management Decision to withhold certain register documentation from Third Parties, information necessary for full support of some cards using these chips.

  4. #4
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    Site updated 26 Oct, 2011
    The site design may be outdated, but the info is not.

  5. #5
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    Do they even have any patents they could use against X.org or Linux in general? If so, they may be rather weak patents that have had prior art.

    I remember reading about Xi Graphics in the late '90s and while they had a decent server then (I played with a trial version), certainly now native Xorg is much better than Xi.

    So yet another proprietary maker bites the dust.

  6. #6
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    You know the recent security vulnerability in the closed-source NVidia drivers - the one where you could get root by reprogramming the GPU registers in a clever way? From what I could tell from their website at the time, Accelerated-X doesn't even try and protect against this kind of attack - their architecture is based on a kernel module that gives arbitrary user-space applications unrestricted access to the entire GPU. In fact, they even advertise this as a feature!

  7. #7
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    Today is the first time I head of them and for some reason to me they don't seem to have been very professional anyway.

    Just look at those two pdfs about the linux drivers.
    http://www.xig.com/Pages/Edu/OpenSourceATI.pdf
    http://www.xig.com/Pages/Edu/LinuxGraphicsProblems.pdf

    Note that at least the first one is written in 2006 (but created in 2009) so they probably have a point about the problems. But still

    The failure of the "open source community" vehicle to provide quality X graphics software suitable
    for use in systems that require stability, good performance, and economical maintainability - often
    over long product life cycles - is not difficult to document. Just download the Linux graphics driver
    software packages from any of the major graphics chip manufacturers and examine them. Or visit
    the Linux user forums at those graphics manufacturers Web sites, although some have been
    discontinued because of the embarrassingly negative comments from users. Also one can delve
    into the Linux v2.6 kernel history. When even RedHat has moved to isolate itself from the
    machinations of the Linux kernel group, one suspects things are a bit less than optimal. Clearly
    I don't like the way they keep putting terms in quotes like "open source community". What's wrong with open source community?
    I'm not sure if this is intentionally subtly derogatory but I do read it that way.

    The constantly changing Linux kernel coupled with the move by the XFree86/X.org "community"
    over the last few years to move parts of X out of the X server and into the kernel - "Direct
    Rendering Infrastructure" is just one (but big) example - dooms the Open Source "Linux graphics
    drivers" activity to one that has no hope of ever providing stable, high-quality, and easily
    maintained graphics software to the UNIX world. It hasn't happened in the past ten years, and it
    won't happen in the next ten. Apparently some in the open source X community have begun to
    grasp this reality, since there have been calls for X to be "dumped," to be replaced with an entirely
    new approach to graphics on UNIX. After making a hash out of X by ignoring the precepts of
    UNIX, and the specs of X, now they want to junk X. Cute.
    "community".
    Seriously, get a blog and don't try to write such stuff as official word of your company. Especially for unfounded predictions like those.
    Maybe we should contact him and ask him about how he feels about the irony.
    Maybe he thinks it's "cute"?

    It is true that Xi Graphics software is not free. But in reality, neither is the freeware open source
    Linux graphics driver software free. Not if one has to account for the time spent getting it to work,
    the poor performance, and the downtime because of lack of support available for maintaining it.
    Many ex-freeware Linux graphics driver users in commercial/industrial environments have
    commented on the high cost of such "free" software.
    If you don't understand why it is called free software, please refrain from talking about it.

    And from the second pdf
    We have been doing it for over
    ten years, and have licensed the software to countless individuals and organization for use in
    applications that cover the spectrum. All the while competing with that "free software." How do
    we do it, you ask? Well, Xi Graphics exists because some folks have learned that "free software"
    can be very costly. And others have learned that "expensive, licensed proprietary software" is
    actually very economical software when one puts a value on easy installation, stable operation,
    speedy performance, free customer support, lack of stalled production lines caused by obscure
    graphics software bugs, and a vendor who must satisfy customers to stay in business.
    Heh.

  8. #8
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    Yeah, those guys were pretty funny, if wildly inaccurate ... a lot like these forums, really.

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