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  • @agd5f
    I believe that you did not understand my question because I think that it was not clear enough.
    Mi request was: support for current-newer-cards will be as short as it has been for current-older-cards or in the future things will change so current-newer-cards will be supported for more years?

    My English is very poor, I hope I was clearer this time.

    Thanks to any other people who answered to me.

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    • P.S.: I was talking about ATI Catalyst restricted drivers.

      Comment


      • It was 7 years for R300, 5 years for R4xx, 3 years for R5xx...

        We normally aim for about 5 years, but it depends on when support gets dropped on other OSes since so much of the code is shared.

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        • &^$$%*&(%^!!! 1 minute edit...

          For clarity, we dropped support for 3xx, 4xx and 5xx at the same time, that was not "a declining trend"

          Comment


          • Thanks for your reply ...but now I have further important questions:

            - What you said means that support for this cards have been dropped for Linux and for Windows at same time, is this right?

            - Why support for processors R2xx, R3xx and R5xx have been dropped at same time? I think this is not good for who buyed a R5xx card! 3 years are far too few. To my knowledge the support of NVIDIA is more durable!
            I think there are no excuses for this.

            My personal considerations:

            I am not a detractor from ATI, on the contrary I hope that ATI will soon arrive at the NVIDIA also in linux sector and that this two manufacturers will continue in their eternal dispute between competitors which should theoretically lead to the production of improved cards. Provided that this does not create conditions of duopoly between the two companies and that they begin to make arrangements among themselves to keep up the price of their products. And honestly, given the increasing trend in the prices of graphics cards, I fear that this hypothesis is occurring.

            I'd like also to understand what is the reason why the code is not made completely available to the open community:

            - I've read that there are non-disclosure-agreements with third parties. I believe that this is not a good excuse because in any case, in view of changing environmental factors, the agreements should be revised (or at least You could try).
            - In opening the code could means to expose to all people (including competitors and interested third parties) Your technology? In that case I would not have anything to say because NVIDIA and ATI have worked hard to arrive where they are and then maybe it's right that they keep their secrets.
            What is not fair, however, is that so, the two companies sell us their homes without giving us the key to enter, or rather they give us the key, but they can change the lock and let us out at any time (in short, without a modifiable code they sell us incomplete products). This is the case just presented, covering many buyers of R5xx that only after 3 years were left on foot.
            Thus, at least, if You were honest, You should ensure a reasonably long support.

            Excuse me again for my not improved English

            Comment


            • We normally aim for about 5 years, but it depends on when support gets dropped on other OSes since so much of the code is shared.
              This, in short, means that Linux support will always depend on support provided for Windows.

              I do not think You could go on and on without separating the two areas because Linux takes out new kernels and new Xserver much more rapidly than are the changes in Microsoft house.

              In any case I think that would be sufficient a few revisions in way to update the code for new versions of Xorg and the kernel. Ultimately, if NVIDIA does, why you should not be able to do so?

              Comment


              • Originally posted by bingel View Post
                This, in short, means that Linux support will always depend on support provided for Windows.

                I do not think You could go on and on without separating the two areas because Linux takes out new kernels and new Xserver much more rapidly than are the changes in Microsoft house.

                In any case I think that would be sufficient a few revisions in way to update the code for new versions of Xorg and the kernel. Ultimately, if NVIDIA does, why you should not be able to do so?
                nvidia also shares much of its code base between windows and linux, if I'm not mistaken. The core component here is really opengl, and maybe some power management stuff too. Other people could probably add more to that list - but the point is that AMD/ATI moved from a separate code base to a more common one, which brought a lot of stability to the drivers.
                nvidia can update code quickly as they replace much of the xorg glx stack with their own implementation, something I believe AMD/ATI are working towards as well - though someone correct me if I'm wrong there.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by bingel View Post
                  - What you said means that support for this cards have been dropped for Linux and for Windows at same time, is this right?
                  correct, because the windows drivers and fglrx share a lot of code. Maintaining it for one OS, but not using it for the other would be stupid.
                  Originally posted by bingel View Post
                  - Why support for processors R2xx, R3xx and R5xx have been dropped at same time?
                  because they share a similar driver model. r600 and above uses different code. Cutting right there makes sense from a technical point of view.

                  Originally posted by bingel View Post
                  To my knowledge the support of NVIDIA is more durable!
                  no wonder, they just keep recycling their 3-year-old GPU architectures
                  I can't find the exact dates, but IIRC they dropped support for everything below GeForce 6xxx sometime during 2008, which would be ~3.5 years. Correct me if I'm wrong.


                  Do note that with ATI you will have longer support due to the open source drivers. In 3 years, they will have matured enough to be usable by everyone. So you will probably have a working driver for as long as your hardware lives.

                  (even r300 is still supported by the OS drivers - just not by fglrx)

                  Originally posted by bingel View Post
                  I'd like also to understand what is the reason why the code is not made completely available to the open community:
                  all of the reasons you mentioned and more, to different degrees. Licenses, patents, secrets, laws (!) etc. If only one license used in fglrx cannot be extended, that'd mean that fglrx cannot be opened.

                  Bottom line is: it's easier to develop new OS drivers than it'd be to review every single bit of IP, every licenses, every patent and everything else mingled in fglrx. So that's what AMD did.


                  You keep acting like there's no open driver for ATI cards. There is. It's not fglrx though.

                  Originally posted by bingel View Post
                  In any case I think that would be sufficient a few revisions in way to update the code for new versions of Xorg and the kernel. Ultimately, if NVIDIA does, why you should not be able to do so?
                  the simple answer: because fglrx isn't made for you. It's made for workstation customers. And those don't care about recent kernel support.

                  The priorities are where the money is, and those workstation customers pay quite a premium for that support. Have you ever taken a look at the prices of FireGL cards?

                  Of course that doesn't help you, but when it comes to supporting recent kernel / Xorg-versions, the way to go are open source drivers anyway.


                  Right now you may argue that nvidia has one good driver, while ATI has a half-working one and an unfinished one.
                  But if you're really worried about long-term-support, the smart choice is to pick a company with an open source strategy. Either ATI or Intel.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by bingel View Post
                    Thanks for your reply ...but now I have further important questions:

                    - What you said means that support for this cards have been dropped for Linux and for Windows at same time, is this right?
                    The proprietary Linux and Windows driver share the same code base so they follow the same schedule more or less. And we don't drop support per se, we just stop supporting new OS releases. This is less of an issue on windows because the windows graphics stack maintains API compatibility for much longer than the open source stack does. Open source drivers are able to deal with this much more gracefully since the source is available and it can be updated as the interfaces change. AMD supports the open source drivers for our hardware, and those drivers will be supported as long as there is interest in the open source community.

                    Originally posted by bingel View Post
                    - Why support for processors R2xx, R3xx and R5xx have been dropped at same time? I think this is not good for who buyed a R5xx card! 3 years are far too few. To my knowledge the support of NVIDIA is more durable!
                    I think there are no excuses for this.
                    R2xx went into maintenance mode years ago. Nvidia does the same thing with their older chips. I will note again that AMD supports the open source drivers for our hardware, and those drivers will be supported as long as there is interest in the open source community.

                    Originally posted by bingel View Post
                    I'd like also to understand what is the reason why the code is not made completely available to the open community:

                    - I've read that there are non-disclosure-agreements with third parties. I believe that this is not a good excuse because in any case, in view of changing environmental factors, the agreements should be revised (or at least You could try).
                    - In opening the code could means to expose to all people (including competitors and interested third parties) Your technology? In that case I would not have anything to say because NVIDIA and ATI have worked hard to arrive where they are and then maybe it's right that they keep their secrets.
                    We can't release our closed source code base mainly because if third party IP intermixed in the code and drm requirements in other OSes. The closed source driver is approximately 30 million lines of code. If we wanted to release it, it would take ages to review and clean all that code for release.

                    Originally posted by bingel View Post
                    What is not fair, however, is that so, the two companies sell us their homes without giving us the key to enter, or rather they give us the key, but they can change the lock and let us out at any time (in short, without a modifiable code they sell us incomplete products). This is the case just presented, covering many buyers of R5xx that only after 3 years were left on foot.
                    Thus, at least, if You were honest, You should ensure a reasonably long support.
                    We give you exactly what you are asking for. We release specs and programming information on our hardware (so anyone can write a driver) and we support the open source drivers (in fact we've written much of the code) for our chips. So even if we stop supporting new OS releases in our proprietary driver, the open source driver will continue to work as long as there is interest in the open source community. You can download the programming guides and register specs here:
                    http://www.x.org/docs/AMD
                    http://developer.amd.com/Pages/default.aspx

                    Comment


                    • Excuse my ignorance, I did not know that AMD is in the forefront for the development of new open radeon drivers. I thought that most of the work was done by free developers.

                      This means that relatively soon (2 or 3 years), the new RV870 processors will be fully supported (2D, 3D and all the features) from the open drivers. Right?

                      ...or am i missing something?

                      So, sooner or later, AMD will finally abandon support for Catalyst on Linux? Right? Otherwise what is the point to keep two versions of the same driver?

                      That's what are you saying?

                      This would be good but will be this true? ...or will prove only a flash in the pan like a few years ago when AMD said that they would open the source code?
                      Moreover, will be in the future the open driver development fast enough to support the release of new processors?

                      Because if in the future only open drivers will be available, You cannot wait 2 or 3 years to see OpenGL to work at full speed with your card otherwise the card will become usable only when it will be already old.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by bingel View Post
                        Excuse my ignorance, I did not know that AMD is in the forefront for the development of new open radeon drivers. I thought that most of the work was done by free developers.

                        This means that relatively soon (2 or 3 years), the new RV870 processors will be fully supported (2D, 3D and all the features) from the open drivers. Right?
                        evergreen modesetting support is already available, and 2d/3d/Xv accel should be available before the end of the year.

                        Originally posted by bingel View Post
                        So, sooner or later, AMD will finally abandon support for Catalyst on Linux? Right? Otherwise what is the point to keep two versions of the same driver?

                        That's what are you saying?
                        The closed source driver will not be going away any time soon. The open and closed source drivers serve different purposes. The closed source driver is able to leverage a shared code base, so it will tend to have support for new asics sooner and perform better for it's targeted tasks. The open source driver provides long term availability and support for newer APIs more quickly.

                        Originally posted by bingel View Post
                        This would be good but will be this true? ...or will prove only a flash in the pan like a few years ago when AMD said that they would open the source code?
                        I don't think we ever said we'd release the source to our proprietary driver.


                        Originally posted by bingel View Post
                        Moreover, will be in the future the open driver development fast enough to support the release of new processors?

                        Because if in the future only open drivers will be available, You cannot wait 2 or 3 years to see OpenGL to work at full speed with your card otherwise the card will become usable only when it will be already old.
                        The closed source driver won't be going away. It will support new asics at or near launch.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by bingel View Post
                          Excuse my ignorance, I did not know that AMD is in the forefront for the development of new open radeon drivers. I thought that most of the work was done by free developers.

                          This means that relatively soon (2 or 3 years), the new RV870 processors will be fully supported (2D, 3D and all the features) from the open drivers. Right?

                          ...or am i missing something?

                          So, sooner or later, AMD will finally abandon support for Catalyst on Linux? Right? Otherwise what is the point to keep two versions of the same driver?

                          That's what are you saying?

                          This would be good but will be this true? ...or will prove only a flash in the pan like a few years ago when AMD said that they would open the source code?
                          Moreover, will be in the future the open driver development fast enough to support the release of new processors?

                          Because if in the future only open drivers will be available, You cannot wait 2 or 3 years to see OpenGL to work at full speed with your card otherwise the card will become usable only when it will be already old.
                          AMD has no plans to abandon the fglrx drivers. Workstation market will basically require the features and performance they deliver.

                          The open source drivers are aimed at "legacy" hardware, out of the box support (proprietary drivers are not generally included on install cds for distros) - they're meant to be developed alongside fglrx, not in direction competition (though it may seem that way).

                          Also, AMD never said they'd open up the source code for drivers. They said they'd release documentation about the hardware to allow open source driver to be written - which they promptly did, and more.

                          Comment


                          • I should stop replying - others write more detailed answers, and with a better response time than I!

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by bingel View Post
                              This would be good but will be this true? ...or will prove only a flash in the pan like a few years ago when AMD said that they would open the source code?
                              I'm curious about this. I don't believe we have ever talked about opening up the proprietary driver source code, other than as being one of the options we discussed internally (and rejected) in the early days of the open source graphics project.

                              If we did say that we would open the source code I would be very interested in that - do you have a link or something ?

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by bingel View Post
                                - Why support for processors R2xx, R3xx and R5xx have been dropped at same time? I think this is not good for who buyed a R5xx card! 3 years are far too few. To my knowledge the support of NVIDIA is more durable!
                                I think there are no excuses for this.
                                The technologies available within GPU generations is incremental in different areas. Wherever there is a discontinuous change across a difficult area, the drivers split.

                                This is no difference at the code level between NV and ATI.

                                The model that NV took was to have 3 legacy drivers for each supported OS (Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD). This means an incredible effort for QA on each and every release, plus a whole pile of frustrated users complaining about their old card not getting new shiny features (but getting new X server and kernel support).

                                The model AMD took was to give the community what they wanted, specs for the hardware that enables them to build a a driver for the legacy hardware, as well as newer hardware as well. This empowers the community to get in and assist and take the availability of the driver into their own hands. If the hands don't come, it isn't fundamentally AMD's issue. However, the attraction of developers indicate one of two things... GPU's are really difficult - reducing the developer pool; the community isn't supportive to new people... I am opting for the former.

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