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Is The ATI Driver Really "Evil"?

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  • Is The ATI Driver Really "Evil"?

    Coming across this Digg article yesterday afternoon I found many of the comments to be quite inaccurate (and in some cases comical). A majority of the comments consisted of users bashing the fglrx drivers by typing a variety of obscenities. Those that had bothered to explain themselves were mostly disturbed due to the lack of Composite and Beryl/Compiz support. But does this really equate to the driver being evil and ATI/AMD not caring about their customers?
    http://www.michaellarabel.com/index.php?k=blog&i=27
    Michael Larabel
    http://www.michaellarabel.com/

  • #2
    Well, I don't know what was going on some years ago (I heard bad things), but today, fglrx is ok, but I have some problems which are also big problems:

    - slow perfomance compared to Windows
    - often freezes after playing a game / while playing / when I press Strg+Alt+F1
    - bad control center (no options for AA etc., will come this year)
    - AIGLX

    but

    - easy installation (for me)

    Maybe I could fix one or two problems in config files, but that isn't the way it should be. I think the fglrx driver will improve a LOT in 2007, so all my problems are solved next year, when the Linux community is even larger, KDE4 is here and and and... wohoo

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    • #3
      I wouldn't call them "evil". I hesitate to call them anything, really. I'm just disappointed, overall, with how they're progressing and I wish that AMD would just release the needed technical info to make the R300+ Open Source drivers better. Unfortunately, I don't see that really happening anytime soon.

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      • #4
        I will admit, I have no love for ATi's Linux team because all they have given me are headaches.

        I share d2kx's sentiments. However, I have no use for composite desktops and I don't care if fglrx does not support it. What boggles me is how they can set out a course and cram features into their drivers when I can barely do any tweaking on fglrx without Doom 3 dropping into kernel panic.

        The slow performance is also embarrassing. From that realization, I cannot convince myself to buy another ATi card. It's just beyond reason for me to do so when they've shown little evidence of improved performance and stability. To cap it all of, my Fedora stopped having 3D support since I've attempted to update the drivers. This doesn't seem to happen frequently in Windows, which is in my opinion, circumstantial arguments.

        But in my mind, ATi might be picking up more experience on Linux, but I am hell not convinced their drivers are good enough for me to pick up another ATi card for a future machine.

        And by the way, I also don't care for SLi, which makes my reasoning to pick another manufacturer all the more reasonable.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by d2kx View Post
          - bad control center (no options for AA etc., will come this year)
          Do you have a source for when this "will come this year"?

          I wouldn't mind seeing a new control center. It would really show some commitment to the ATI linux driver by AMD.

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          • #6
            ATI needs to do something to vastly improve its Linux support. Wouldn't it be cool if the company took up this offer to get better drivers written for their cards:

            http://www.kroah.com/log/2007/01/29/#free_drivers

            I hope something related to better gaming on Linux comes out related to this announcement.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by joshuapurcell View Post
              ATI needs to do something to vastly improve its Linux support. Wouldn't it be cool if the company took up this offer to get better drivers written for their cards:

              http://www.kroah.com/log/2007/01/29/#free_drivers

              I hope something related to better gaming on Linux comes out related to this announcement.
              The intent is genuine, but simply put it wouldn't work for the ATI/AMD drivers.
              Michael Larabel
              http://www.michaellarabel.com/

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Michael View Post
                The intent is genuine, but simply put it wouldn't work for the ATI/AMD drivers.
                Because of some non-disclosure agreement with a third party? If not that, then what else? I'm no expert on this event, but from the link given above it seems like these developers and their backer have tried as best as possible to lessen the amount of problems associated with improperly sharing other parties' intellectual property. What else could they have done to make this deal any more beneficial to hardware manufacturers?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by joshuapurcell View Post
                  Because of some non-disclosure agreement with a third party? If not that, then what else? I'm no expert on this event, but from the link given above it seems like these developers and their backer have tried as best as possible to lessen the amount of problems associated with improperly sharing other parties' intellectual property. What else could they have done to make this deal any more beneficial to hardware manufacturers?
                  Reasons why this isn't likely to happen anytime soon:

                  1) NDAs with 3rd parties.
                  2) Concern over Patentability of pending technology
                  3) Concern over ownership of Copyright on software

                  I'd like for AMD to surprise us with the register level info, etc- but until they get further along with their plans with ATI's assets, etc. they're probably NOT going to do anything near-term unless Intel turns up the heat considerably with the new discrete parts and keeps our access there like it is now. Too much to pore over and verify that they're not going to screw up their position on the IP rights they do legitimately own and want to protect properly.

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                  • #10
                    I honestly don't think any hardware manufacturer will take them up on that offer. All the reasons have been mentioned already.

                    ATi/AMD needs to put its act together and pull out some real big improvements in the rigth place. It's embarrassing that ATi low-end cards running on Windows beat ATi high-end cards running on Linux (last time I checked). In my opinion, this picture is sooooo wrong.

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