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To the AMD people: Money wasted.

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  • #31
    Firstly, let me say that no vendor provides a perfect driver for the Linux desktop, be that open or closed.

    Having used nVidia cards with Linux since about 2002 I've been through many iterations of XFree86 and then Xorg and messed with Compiz since it was first available in all its initial buggy gloriousness throught the Xgl and AIGLX times.

    I've watched and experienced the Linux desktop get to a state where it provided a stable composited desktop. Initially Compiz was only for experimenters, now it's robust and usable all the time (especially for nVidia blob using users.)

    Then half way through this year I bought an AMD card and it was like going back 4 years or more in terms of issues and niggles.

    In the time I bought the card to now, the Catalyst driver for Linux has improved greatly and for that I;m most grateful. This rate of improvement gives me hope that it will catch the nVidia blob and surpass it over time. Maybe as soon as quarter 2 of 2011.

    Now again I re-iterate, no driver for the Linux platform is perfect. The nVidia blob is bloody good though. There are corner cases that may catch some, but as a general rule I've found it to be as mess free as you'd expect from a Windows desktop. But then there are those who suggest that the AMD blob is the equal or superior of the nVidia blob. That to me sounds plainly ridiculous. While you may find corner cases that catch out the nVidia blob, surely the AMD fanbois must surely be able to acknowledge that the Catalyst driver has many more catches and foibles.

    I don't find it surprising at all that an AMD user would become extremely frustrated by the current state of things. While in the future the Catalyst driver in my view will become a thing of beauty, I think it's stretching things a bit to suggest we're there yet. The answer to the frustration experienced by some AMD users surely isn't to simply make statements along the lines of "you're doing it wrong", especially in response to someone with ample knowledge of how to drive the Linux platform. Further to that, if a fairly knowledgeable user isn't able to get a satisfactory experience with some effort, what chance does your garden variety user have?

    Catalyst is improving at a great rate and very well may soon be production ready for the masses. Let's hope that isn't too far away.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by mirv View Post
      4. I don't get tearing in 2D. Actually I don't hear of anyone getting tearing in 2D without composite. So dunno, take from that what you will.
      It's long past the time when a user could expect to use a composited desktop environment. While disabling compositing may alleviate the V-sync issue, when the competing vendor's product doesn't require this work around it weakens AMD's position as a first choice for graphics hardware.

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      • #33
        I can give you a list of what I think is wrong with AMD's drivers if you'd like.
        I read those same threads - and mostly people don't actually say what their problems is, they'll just say that it's crap. Let's look at some of the more valid complaints reasonably for a moment:

        composite desktop synch - people would like this, sure. Hopefully AMD would give this more attention once other things are done. You can hardly call the entire driver crap because of this however, as much of the issues surrounding this come from the design of X too.

        gpu video accel - just to note, nothing is officially supported by AMD here, it's all unofficial. So people asking it to be supported is a valid response I think, but that's about as far as you can go there.

        opengl problems - when they appear, yep, call 'em out. Let's make sure it's the driver's fault first though. Playing a game designed for windows, to run under windows, and only for windows - how the bloody hell can that be the responsibility of AMD's linux driver team? What wine can afford is a good testing environment for OpenGL, and generally AMD will fix an OpenGL bug pretty quick.

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        • #34
          Mr James I agree completely, unfortunately for AMD i bought a Nvidia card just a few days ago. I would have bought a AMD card because of their lower powerdraw and that they develop open drivers, but why buy a card for 250$ when I cant use it properly?

          AMD under Linux is just not an option today if you want to use your videocard properly.

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          • #35
            How about when stretching a window containing an OpenGL context across three screens and having your system lock up?

            (native Linux binary)

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            • #36
              Originally posted by mugginz View Post
              It's long past the time when a user could expect to use a composited desktop environment. While disabling compositing may alleviate the V-sync issue, when the competing vendor's product doesn't require this work around it weakens AMD's position as a first choice for graphics hardware.
              For a consumer desktop, yeah I have to agree that a full composited desktop would be nice to have supported, but I was just pointing out that AMD never advertised it.
              Strangely enough, most people that I've personally seen sitting at a screen never use a composited desktop - I guess the crowd I hang with have different priorities there.
              If a perfectly synch'd composited desktop is what is most important to people however, then I've nothing against that - but damn, your response there is the most reasoned I've heard (well, read) on that particular topic. Why can't more people give that kind of response?

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              • #37
                Originally posted by mirv View Post
                For a consumer desktop, yeah I have to agree that a full composited desktop would be nice to have supported, but I was just pointing out that AMD never advertised it.
                I think that's pretty fair. I do believe brigeman has himself made noises along the lines of composited desktops are relatively experimental. Having said that, and while looking lovingly over there to my nVidia card I'm reminded that depending on requirements, Linux users need not go without compositing if they buy an alternative vendors products. I unfortunately have a use case which exposes one of Xorgs weaknesses. This means that for me, while far from perfect, AMD is a better choice than is nVidia. For those with two or fewer monitors, nVidia all the way for now.


                Originally posted by mirv View Post
                Strangely enough, most people that I've personally seen sitting at a screen never use a composited desktop - I guess the crowd I hang with have different priorities there.
                Wow, that seems strange to me. I'm tempted to say "How very WindowsXP of them" (kidding)

                Given that Vista, Windows 7, OS X, and Linux (depending of graphics hardware) provides for compositing with its associated benefits, any platform not providing it as an option looks decidedly obsolete to me. It's not a deal breaker to me though, just sub-optimal.


                Originally posted by mirv View Post
                If a perfectly synch'd composited desktop is what is most important to people however, then I've nothing against that - but damn, your response there is the most reasoned I've heard (well, read) on that particular topic. Why can't more people give that kind of response?
                I'd say, personally I get the feeling that's what they're trying to say, be due to frustration may be letting emotion seep into the equation a little.

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                • #38
                  I don't feel the need to attack the op, he has issues with the drivers, and that's legitimate. We'd all like for OSS drivers to be more advanced, and it's not always very easy to get the latest version of the stack updated, especially for less experienced users.

                  The main thing still remains what is important to you. In my opinion, AMD is doing the right thing -- funding open source drivers and releasing documentation. Regardless of how many FPS they get, Nvidia is doing the wrong thing.

                  I am impressed with how far the radeon OSS drivers have come in the last year. OpenGL3 is long in coming, and there are minor glitches with powersaving from time to time, but using the FLOSS drivers is simply a joy. Everything works, everything is integrated with the rest of my system, everything is smooth the way it has never been for me in 6 years of nvidia. For this, I am thankful. This is more important than emulating Direct3d and running Windows games off your NTFS partition.

                  When the main criticism boils down to FPS and not being able to run windows binary games using windows 3d API on windows drivers running LINUX, then you know that AMD is doing lots of things right. Personally, I run two composited desktops on a low-budget multi-seat HD4550/HD4350 combination, with an external LCD TV for watching HD movies, and I play the occasional native 3d game, with complete powersaving, either dynamic or using profiles. While pure performance could be improved, the experience is near perfect. Kudos to the developers, both AMD ones, and community ones.

                  I'm not getting an Nvidia card until they release specs and support open source. AMD has bitten the bullet and gone the hard (but right) way. They will have my support for that.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by mugginz View Post
                    I think that's pretty fair. I do believe brigeman has himself made noises along the lines of composited desktops are relatively experimental. Having said that, and while looking lovingly over there to my nVidia card I'm reminded that depending on requirements, Linux users need not go without compositing if they buy an alternative vendors products. I unfortunately have a use case which exposes one of Xorgs weaknesses. This means that for me, while far from perfect, AMD is a better choice than is nVidia. For those with two or fewer monitors, nVidia all the way for now.




                    Wow, that seems strange to me. I'm tempted to say "How very WindowsXP of them" (kidding)

                    Given that Vista, Windows 7, OS X, and Linux (depending of graphics hardware) provides for compositing with its associated benefits, any platform not providing it as an option looks decidedly obsolete to me. It's not a deal breaker to me though, just sub-optimal.




                    I'd say, personally I get the feeling that's what they're trying to say, be due to frustration may be letting emotion seep into the equation a little.
                    To be fair, I'm using winxp right now. No choice however, I'm at work and letting my mind mull over a few issues (hence when I go quiet again, we all know that I've figured it all out).
                    I personally still use E16, I just can't seem to be able to use anything else, but E17 might be able to steal the show, and I might want to be tinkering with composite in that. Maybe I'll personally care more about it then.
                    I personally would like to see X be given a bit of an overhaul - it seems to be the general consensus from everybody that for a modern desktop, it's needed.

                    And someone has to say it: nerdraaaage!

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by mirv View Post
                      To be fair, I'm using winxp right now.
                      AAAAaaaaarrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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                      • #41
                        The list of features that any hardware driver should provide in order to be usable, priority sorted:
                        - stability (as in absence of bugs and crashes)
                        - hardware support
                        - opensource; or updated software support
                        - (3D) performance
                        - power management
                        - (3D) features
                        - easiness to install (out of the box thing)
                        - non-direct features(video acceleration etc)

                        The amount of advancement here reflects >the company policy< towards linux.

                        Watching the whole AMD driver situation, there seem to two options:
                        - leaving fglrx workstation and advancing opensource to match consumer needs. Results in advantage against Nvidia.
                        - advancing fglrx workstation driver and leaving opensource to match only basic funtionality. Nvidia way. With AMD they seem to have edecided to follow this way as well, which will result in Nvidia=AMD+4 years progress. Results in equal situation against Nvidia, but only in 4 years.

                        Also, calling a requirement to mess with things whole day in order to get them working or issue free is not "windows way".

                        You are basically saying linux is designed to suck, to be complicated, to require heavy manual interaction to work at all. If its not, it is not linux and you are a windows user. So it must be 5% desktop share is for geeks and other masochistic people. Only windows boons say so.

                        Mr James is correct.

                        In the end, you either buy a card and expect your money to go in the direction you support.
                        Or you buy unsupported hardware and search other ways to make it work(hobby programmers, finding money together to hire people to write the driver, coding yourself).

                        99 from 100 linux people will choose 1st path, especially if the driver is open to allow 2nd path compliment the 1st.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by crazycheese View Post
                          there seem to two options:
                          - leaving fglrx workstation and advancing opensource to match consumer needs. Results in advantage against Nvidia.
                          - advancing fglrx workstation driver and leaving opensource to match only basic funtionality. Nvidia way. With AMD they seem to have edecided to follow this way as well, which will result in Nvidia=AMD+4 years progress. Results in equal situation against Nvidia, but only in 4 years.
                          Not exactly. Leaving fglrx and the workstation market puts us at a huge *disadvantage* in that market. Our approach is what you would call option #3, which is continuing to advance *both* drivers.

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                          • #43
                            The majority of users here I guess are Arch users. They pride themselves on simplicity - simple is the way to go. That having an rc.conf is sooo much better, clearer and transparent than debian's init. That debian is way to frustrating to tweak. Then they tell you how you are a noob or a "typical 'windoz' user" because you do not want to spend the rest of your natural life tweaking with ever experimental mesa and xf86-video-ati upgrades and xorg.conf settings. Go figure...

                            BTW, while I'm speaking of Debian, I love it how everybody nowadays tell you Debian is a rusty old distro that takes forever to release. Exactly what has happened in since Lenny was released in terms of hardware support? Development. Nothing finished. Here we are about to release Squeeze and still FOSS drivers are experimental and unstable. Those people smart enough to stick with Debian stable saved themselves all the hassle.

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                              Not exactly. Leaving fglrx and the workstation market puts us at a huge *disadvantage* in that market. Our approach is what you would call option #3, which is continuing to advance *both* drivers.
                              AMD serving two masters? Jack of all trades master of none? Sounds about right.

                              BTW Mr Bridgman, if you got the feeling that I was being disrespectful to you (other members got that idea) I am sorry - not my intention.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                                Not exactly. Leaving fglrx and the workstation market puts us at a huge *disadvantage* in that market. Our approach is what you would call option #3, which is continuing to advance *both* drivers.
                                Why not approach #1, where workstation continues to focus on workstation and opensource focuses on consumer segment? 3000$ cards are for people with specific needs and demands, and in current situation I see pathway #2 - pushing proprietary fglrx in consumer area.

                                In the end (2-3 years) fglrx(catalyst) will be equal to nvidia blob. Opensource with 3-4 developers will be VESA superset.
                                3 years pass you gain no advantage to nvidia, nvidia moves further.
                                If I have 500$ in my pocket, I cannot invest into a card that will perform as VESA superset. Which puts large cross on opensource strategy.

                                If amd fears know-how leaks via opensource, they should provide know-how in gpl cover and support fsf in suing any company that puts it into proprietary.

                                Regarding possible "Linux Mint > Ubuntu" case, if Ubuntu REALLY wanted it, it could create everything that Mint adds; so Mint would not even exist as there would be no reason.

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