VIA's Open-Source Efforts A Bluff?
Phoronix: VIA's Open-Source Efforts A Bluff?
Last month we reported on VIA's new open-source driver efforts that was announced at the LF Austin Summit. This new strategy involves VIA providing the open-source community with NDA-free hardware specifications, code, and other resources -- in a similar fashion to what ATI/AMD and Intel have been doing for some time now. However, not everyone has been satisfied by this announcement and their new Linux website isn't yet exactly useful. We explore the VIA Linux situation in this article as well as sharing what two open-source developers have to say.
Their "portal" as it is now, is utterly ridiculous…
It's weird that some companies make so little effort to improve software support for their unique hardware features. The C7 processor was launched 3 years ago, and none of the few patches adding support for its hardware crypto features come from VIA. As a result, I bet a lot of those who bought a C7 to build a VPN box or SSLed webserver are not doing crypto in hardware. I sure hope they'll do better with their upcoming Isaiah processor.
VIA has never had a good track record with anything they have produced, and an even worse record when it comes to supporting their own products. I remember a few years back I was looking for some documentation from them for the icensemble Envy24 chips and they replied back with something like "We don't know where that documentation would be." I got the same thing a few years earlier with the S3 Savage.
VIA's strategy is to make products cheaply to its own standards, sell massive amounts to OEM's at bargain-bin prices (or to end-users at inflated prices), offer very little support for those products, and not cooperate with any individual or enterprise that might be perceived as competition.
If VIA had any value, it would have been taken over for its patents and licenses a long time ago. Now, in their time of desperate need, they turn to nVidia, of all companies, to compete with Intel.
I'm glad I'm a cynic, because this is hilarious.
Creating a website for their open source efforts and then putting some binary drivers on it is a slap into the face of everyone that loves free software. It's a joke. They could have at least said, okay it will take x months before we have our stuff sorted out and can provide you with documentation/code. Nobody would have complained and everyone would have waited in anticipation. It would have been a big party, now we thought there was a party, we went there but we were duped and left with sad empty expressions on our faces.
Well, I guess it's still more then what Epic has done.
When i follow the link to via arena i see several source packages
including sources for the unichrome. Isn't this, what graphics driver
developers need apart from some accompaning documentation?
Btw the docs for the envy24 has been available through the
alsa ftp site since the year 2000...
What? There's "Source" on the legacy page right here:
Originally Posted by phoronix
Are you telling me that's just been added?
More specifically, right here
Originally Posted by Audio
Originally Posted by Integrated Graphics
All that there is worthless, is that what you're saying?
Originally Posted by Ethernet (Networking/LAN/WLAN)
Mind you I've not examined all the tarballs, however I do see network controller source code, Full Via HD Audio source code ALSA tree, console framebuffer source code for Chrome 9, and Full 2D + 3D + DRM + XvMC + Utility source code for Savage DDR.
Was all of this already published or
EDIT: Also noticed that there is full source code released for UniChrome based against XOrg 4.x and dated December 2007, with support for 2D, 3D, TV-Out, hardware video mpeg2/4 and hardware video overlay (and includes support for P4M900 VIA Chrome9™ integrated graphics).
Last edited by edged; 05-03-2008 at 11:08 AM.
Originally Posted by edged
The problem is, it's spotty. Yes, there are the graphics drivers, although you'll need to run their patched mplayer as root to use XvMC. Yes, there is the source code. Now, where are the XvMC patches to make MPEG4 (just DivX) work? Ohh. Where's the VIA patches to ALSA? Ohh. Where's the VIA devs talking to the OpenChrome people? Ohh. ATi (or do we call them AMD these days?) are talking to the community as are Intel, VIA are sat there going "well come on, do it our way".
It doesn't work like that, VIA need to start playing their part in the community, nobody wants their version of mplayer or their version of UniChrome... they want the xf86-driver/unichrome to have VIA's code in it, supported by VIA and so on and so forth.
To be honest the complaint most seem to be leveling at them is the same as is not leveled at Nvidia: Ok. That drivers nice, now why don't you start adding that functionality to the kernel and nv driver eh? Exactly like Intel and AMD/ATi are doing.
As an owner of a Via system I REALLY hope that they are genuine in their most recent commitment and are just being slow. I would love to have a fully functional system with an Isaiah processor. If their level of support remains the same, I won't be buying another