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Thread: Mixing open and closed source

  1. #61
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    Just give me working 3-D, decent video playback for unprotected video, and monitor autoconfiguration that actually works properly in one driver and I'll be happy. Until you've done that, worrying about DRM is putting the cart before the horse.
    Amen to that. I should probably remind everyone that I'm not arguing *for* DRM here, I'm saying "let's not talk about rearchitecting fglrx to an open/closed hybrid (because of complications like DRM and the workstation business) until those basics are running".

    It was the weekend though, and the open/closed hybrid question is an interesting one which we talked about a lot internally and I thought deserved an answer here. Problem is that even the mention of DRM does push a lot of buttons
    Last edited by bridgman; 02-04-2008 at 09:45 AM.

  2. #62
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    Svartalf, is there a Bugzilla ticket open for the specific FBO stuff you see as missing ?

    AFAIK the new OGL stack has FBO support so maybe it isn't being exposed properly or something.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zooko View Post
    I wonder if there is any way that ATI/AMD could find out if people like those eight posters follow through with this intent: how can you tell who buys what graphics components, and how can you tell why?
    Heh... I'm one of the type that followed through on the comments. When I got my next laptop and when I bought my GPU for my new desktop setup, it was NVidia that I bought. Had AMD had a more compelling story at that time (They're looking much better now than when I bought- I bought because of years of suppar support of their products...) or had Intel real functioning, compelling discrete parts, I'd have bought much differently. Open's very important to me- but performance and stability is even MORE important to me. AMD's currently, unfortunately, not there in that regard- though it's shaping up nicely, though not fast enough for my liking. Intel's beginning to shape up in that space- the GMA X3500's something of a decent low-end performer if the benchmarking's to be believed.

  4. #64
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    First Bridgman thanks for openly participating in this discussion. Its nice to know where AMD stands and i can fully understand the reasoning for the current situation. I have to say most traditional linux people will not care about accelerated DRM HD playback but most would want some none-DRM HW decoding. I have an offtopic question though. Any chance hybris graphics will be supported in Linux at some point in the future?

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    As far as I can see we will be able to provide all the HW info required to implement hybrid graphics, but it requires a lot of driver work at all levels of the stack. Probably will have to wait for a full rollout of TTM as well.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    As far as I can see we will be able to provide all the HW info required to implement hybrid graphics, but it requires a lot of driver work at all levels of the stack. Probably will have to wait for a full rollout of TTM as well.
    In fact i believe linux will be able to be a lot more better on hybrid graphics than windows. If i am correct on windows you need to reboot to have the low performance gpu. With open source we should able to do the swap while running without reboot (if hw doesn't forbid this).

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    Svartalf, is there a Bugzilla ticket open for the specific FBO stuff you see as missing ?
    Not yet. I'll be honest and admit it's been a little bit since I last looked at the drivers since I've been a bit busy with a raftload of things on my plate...

    AFAIK the new OGL stack has FBO support so maybe it isn't being exposed properly or something.
    I'll have to recheck- last time I checked, it didn't seem to be working right for whatever reasons. I'll admit that I've been a bit busy for words (Heh... Trying to get a couple of games straightened out for LGP, sample Linux applications for a new eval board for a new ADI part, a couple civil actions, some of my own making, some of others' have kept me quite a bit distracted lately)- I didn't have much time to follow up on what was busted when I found it not working.

    If I'm in error because of changes somewhere along the way that I've missed, I'll retract my claims- if not, I promise to get the bug logged so you guys can fix it. I definitely don't want to be part of the ongoing problems here.
    Last edited by Svartalf; 02-04-2008 at 05:39 PM.

  8. #68
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    First of all, I'd like to thanks Bridgman and AMD for all discussion. I do not always agree but the discussion is always welcome

    Quote Originally Posted by mgc8 View Post
    The obnoxious restrictions that encumber formats like BD/HD make these completely incompatible with the spirit, shape and form of free/open-source software. Why should the community even bother supporting them?
    Err, in this instance, AMD would support the driver. It still will be uncomfortable for the user because support will come from AMD and open source community. So deciding whom to contact to report a bug will not be easy.



    Please also take into account what will happen if users will have a choice between:
    a) open-source driver, stable and good in some areas
    b) closed-source driver, more-or-less stable :-P and good in totally different areas
    Taking into account video playback, I think the choice will be more like:

    a) open-source driver, stable, 100% legal, no video playback, easy to find support
    b) open-source driver, stable, (maybe) video playback, legal problems in most countries (because of decryption code), easy to find support (except may be for the decryption stuff)
    b) closed-source driver, more difficult for support (need to reproduce a bug without closed source driver to get community support)

    Anyway, the fact that people will have a choice is always good (even if puzzling for new users )

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by domi View Post
    Err, in this instance, AMD would support the driver. It still will be uncomfortable for the user because support will come from AMD and open source community. So deciding whom to contact to report a bug will not be easy.
    The open source drivers are all "community supported" and have a single point for bug reports. The community member who helps may work for AMD or not -- it's invisible to the user. One of the decisions we made early on was to work within existing xorg support mechanisms (mailing lists, IRC, bugzilla) rather than setting up AMD-specific forums etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by domi View Post
    Taking into account video playback, I think the choice will be more like:

    a) open-source driver, stable, 100% legal, no video playback, easy to find support
    b) open-source driver, stable, (maybe) video playback, legal problems in most countries (because of decryption code), easy to find support (except may be for the decryption stuff)
    b) closed-source driver, more difficult for support (need to reproduce a bug without closed source driver to get community support)

    Anyway, the fact that people will have a choice is always good (even if puzzling for new users )
    Since the Linux community tends to... um.. decrypt first and playback second, I don't think this will be an issue. The open source drivers will have video and will not be doing decryption so I don't think there will be any legal concerns.

    Not sure what you mean about repro-ing a closed source driver issue on open source to get support -- that only works if you switch to the open source driver. There are pretty good support forums for the closed source driver (Phoronix for example) and the request is normally "post your logs" not "repro on an open driver".

    We're trying to keep the driver choice simple. Most distros will include the open source driver, so that's what we expect people to use by default. Users would upgrade to the closed source driver to get specific features or performance not available in the open source driver. OEMs shipping SKUs with Linux preloaded could choose either, depending on the features they needed and on whether they were looking to the distro or to AMD for integration support.
    Last edited by bridgman; 02-06-2008 at 04:43 AM.

  10. #70
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    Bridgman, you asked a question re GNU/Linux market penetration a while back in this thread, if it was expected to rise 10x. Since you are the first real sign of actual openness I've seen in a few years from ATI, I thought I'd give you some reasonably accurate stats.

    I'm connected to a fairly large financial products website, that caters to what can be called a true 'average' user base. I've used this for several years to check where GNU/Linux is actually at.

    A few years ago it was hovering at around low 0.15-0.25% Linux re total sessions, eg, Windows, Mac, Linux, but I just checked it again, and much to my surprise, that is at about .6%, a very significant rise if you consider the extremely conservative nature of the site's demographic, and their age (older, few under 40 I'd guess). The visitor numbers are high enough to be statistically solid and meaningful, this site will not experience any fluctuations year over year based on fads. These are real.

    So in answer to your question, will Linux use increase 10x in the near future? I seriously doubt it. Unless of course you take as your starting point the roughly 0.25% market share Linux based desktops have had over the past years. Then, yes, 2.5-3% market share is looking more and more realistic. I believe that it will break roughly 2, maybe 3% real world market share in the next few years. After that it's too hard to tell what will happen. Given the near universal loathing of vista, coupled with the continuing legal suppression of MS by the antitrust stuff, which basically forces MS to stand by and do nothing while companies like ASUS, release very popular non MS running laptops and desktops, it might just really start to grow, and even now Dell (although their real numbers are miniscule at this point). Firefox went from very very low numbers to about 15-20%, much more in some countries, in relatively no time at all, a few years. Suddenly a lot of people just got sick of the MSIE nonsense, the insecurity, the active x holes, all that.

    But given recent developments like the EEE from ASUS, and some other products which are getting quite popular, without catering at all to the geek crowd, it's entirely possible that the numbers could go even higher. I believe I read that EEE is selling in the millions currently, and Asus can't keep up with demand.

    And this is not to mention the rest of the world, where more and more major movements, large scale corporate rollouts, you know the ones, 10k here, 20k there, entire regions in Spain, all going Free software, and not using chips that won't work, at this point, that means Intel only.

    Hopefully this is the kind of information you were looking for. Obviously, always ignore any stats from tech oriented sites, those are totally worthless in terms of deducing real world market share. And don't even read those silly Linux stats from opt in visit sites that get trumpeted as if they have any meaning at all beyond a distrowatch like willingness to boost GNU/Linux numbers by visiting the pages over and over...

    This thread is the first sign of actual open communication I've seen with AMD/ATI, and it's long long long overdue. We'll see how the radeon and radeonhd do, currently our users are basically screwed if they are running the R300/350 series. Only intermittent fglrx support. Advice to our users, and any other users, for this year: wait and see what really happens, next year, maybe start buying ATI again, but only if fglrx support improves and remains steady and consistent.

    Good luck on getting this stuff working better. Improve your tracking of new kernels and xorg, minimize installation problems, make sure your released installers actually work, or don't release them, that's the distro specific stuff. Your quality has been junk for years, you have a lot of ground to make up to regain the user trust, it's up to you, not the users at this point.

    We offer basically one click switch between radeon(hd) and fglrx for users, and that's proved to be necessary after break after break in fglrx forces users who can to go to the free drivers. Every day I read new bug reports from our users, but we no longer offer active support of ATI installer driven fglrx because it's too time consuming to track, and nobody is paying...
    Last edited by gfxdrone; 02-07-2008 at 02:09 AM.

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