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The Challenge In Delivering Open-Source GPU Drivers

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  • #21
    Well, as far as the kernel is concerned, the distros or the manufacturers can provide an updated libdrm module in binary form built against the kernel version of the distros, this has been done for years and worked.
    There is no problem providing a new DDX driver on the launch day, so my guess is that the really only missing stuff is a way to provide the specific bits of Mesa concerning the new devices.
    I think that the Mesa guys should provide, within Gallium, a way to provide the device-specific bits as "plugins", so these ones could also be updated independently of the Mesa stack. I guess this will only be possible once Gallium interfaces are really finallized, if they're not yet, but that would allow FOSS support for new graphic devices much more easily.

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    • #22
      People talking about same-day FOSS support...
      Should we not be wanting several year later FOSS support first? Or by "support" are we meaning no 3D, no video acceleration...2D only support?

      Support for a card is BS unless it is full feature support.

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      • #23
        it would surely be just as easy for intel to compile a 'blob' from their opensource driver code and deliver it just as nvidia do. that would get people through the first 6 months until the distros caught up.

        it doesn't even need to be intel who does this. anyone could compile the current bits from GIT against the current distro kernels, stick them in a installer .bin file, and put them online.

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        • #24
          The open source graphics driver stack does not work that way. Intel tried to get away with binary blobs driving their GMA500/poulsbo chipset, and getting that to work with a modern distribution is much more painful than "git pull".

          But that distributions do not come with open source drivers on launch day can indeed be blamed on the manufacturers. Driver development for the proprietary drivers starts long before actual hardware exists, but for open source drivers it seems this is not the case.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by rmic View Post
            sry for the noob question but why binary gpu drivers can be updated ten times a year irrespective of the other components and foss can not?
            If you are using Ubuntu, try xorg-edgers. 10 updates a year? That's peanuts compared to the FOSS drivers.

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            • #26
              Ah, the joy of "distro" dependency! Hannu said about that a long time ago.

              http://4front-tech.com/hannublog/?p=11

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              • #27
                I think the problem is, their are many things still in development. Seems they are adding new API every half a year. Part of this is because of the transition to KMS and so on. The development slow down on these things eventually then it will be easier to provide those drivers.

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                • #28
                  Download drivers from the internet

                  Porbably easier to download pre-build backported drivers from the internet that didn't come with the CD.

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by ssam View Post
                    it would surely be just as easy for intel to compile a 'blob' from their opensource driver code and deliver it just as nvidia do. that would get people through the first 6 months until the distros caught up.

                    it doesn't even need to be intel who does this. anyone could compile the current bits from GIT against the current distro kernels, stick them in a installer .bin file, and put them online.
                    The problem is kernel and X.org infrastructure.

                    The open source drivers tend to use all this new API's which are still undergoing heavy development, I think it will all get a lot easier when the new API's are more stable.

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by rmic View Post
                      sry for the noob question but why binary gpu drivers can be updated ten times a year irrespective of the other components and foss can not?
                      Because they are pretty independent from the rest of your system.

                      They implement half of the operating system in closed source, and only communicate with the rest of the system through a small number of system calls.

                      The open source stack consists of many different projects, because 3d graphics touches many parts of the entire operating system. Linux kernel, libdrm, Mesa, X.org. They all have to be in sync.

                      If it makes you feel better, I update my FOSS drivers once a day. Year-round.

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