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  • #46
    Originally posted by rbmorse View Post
    You guys think the DRM situation is bad now, wait a couple of months. Henry Waxman (D-hollywood) is taking over the House Commerce Committee from John Dingle (D-Detroit).

    We're all about to see just what all that money the entertainment industry gave to Democrats in the last couple of elections is going to buy.
    Both parties shill for the entertainment industry and impose DRM; the only difference is that the Democrats tend to be louder about it. 99 senators voted for DMCA; zero voted against it.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by bridgman View Post
      I don't think we will have that problem, however -- there are enough *other* big challenges in the X world than just reverse-engineering our secret video bits
      Yes, and by releasing info, you most likely reduce the risk that hackers who previously did RE on ATI cards will continue developing tools or stumble on a "wrong" piece of information (as they are probably most capable of all people for doing it).

      Also, currently it's simpler to disassemble and read keys from software BD players (which Hollywood will have to allow for some time), so I don't think anyone even cares to hack hardware players yet.

      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by duby229 View Post
        All I'm trying to say is that --ANYBODY-- could win that lawsuit. Especially AMD given there technical superiority. There just simply is no damn way that DRM could be enforced in that manner. AMD could counter sue, claiming monopolistic practices, and win on a superiority argument.
        Maybe. Is it worth risking a multi-million dollar corporation who thousands of people's livelihoods depend on.. retirement, health, kid's schooling, housing, etc etc to find out if you can convince a judge to agree with you for the sake of releasing documentation for a OS that makes up a tiny minority of your market?

        The risks are high, it's going to cost you hundreds of thousands (if not millions of dollars) in lost market share and legal costs IF YOU WIN, and the potential benefits are very small.


        You have to understand that if Windows had a much smaller market share, say 50%, they wouldnt be capable of leveraging Windows against the graphics companies in that way. They'd lose the ability to compete against other OS's with customers that purchase AMD products. Being that they have the vast majority of the market share they can use that market advantage against other industries --EXACTLY-- the way you just described.
        Well sure. If people demanded to have media supported in Linux in large enough numbers then Microsoft and the DRM-related legal games would be immaterial.

        However, this is not the reality that we are currently operating off of. It's not up to AMD/ATI to determine the success or defeat of the Linux desktop and it isn't something that they are going to want to bank on.

        They are already doing a decent job and risking pissing off Microsoft. I don't see how we can ask for more. It's up to hackers to nullify the effects of DRM so that Linux users can enjoy content on par with their Windows using counterparts.

        (I always thought that the percentage of users using non-MS OSes was closer to 20% or so before it would eliminate most of the market effects of Microsoft's desktop domination.)

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        • #49
          Originally posted by drag View Post
          Maybe. Is it worth risking a multi-million dollar corporation who thousands of people's livelihoods depend on.. retirement, health, kid's schooling, housing, etc etc to find out if you can convince a judge to agree with you for the sake of releasing documentation for a OS that makes up a tiny minority of your market?
          Eliminating DRM isnt going to help me alone, or the linux market alone. It benefits everyone --especially-- AMD.

          Imagine a world where you could play back any content you want on any player you want using any hardware you want. The challenge that the content industry needs to face (instead of fighting) is how do you distribute content effectively enough to make it efficient on such a wide array of configurations. The cool thing is that several models exist today....

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          • #50
            Well DRM is essentially dying right now.

            Look at what happened with BlueRay and HD-DVD DRM stuff:

            The DRM folks had all the cooperation of everybody from the hardware on up. They had special new disk format, assistance from Microsoft, and the government laws that allowed them to dictate hardware and software design for all compatible products. Practically uncrackable encryption, years of preparation, secure paths from the player through the computer hardware and into the display.

            How many millions and millions of dollars did they spend on it the design and implementation? Everything was on their side.

            It dramatically increased the cost of players, dramatically increased the processing power required to play back media...

            Think about it.. cooperation of HD monitor makers, video card makers, motherboard makers, dvd drive makers, OS makers, etc etc.

            A gigantic multi-industry. billion-dollar conspiracy, backed by USA government law, designed for the sole purpose of restricting and controlling the actions of the average person. etc etc..

            How long did it last? How long did it take for the DRM to be thoroughly hacked as soon as the first 'consumer' devices and media hit the market?

            Two WEEKS? One WEEK?

            ITS LIKE A JOKE!!! It would be hilarious if it wasn't for the fact that even though DRM is entirely worthless people still act like it is still viable. That shows you the level of self-delusion that these corporate bastards have about the world around them. It's just a sick f-ing joke.

            This is the dark side of the corporate culture in the USA. I am a big fan of business (go capitalism ra-ra) but when it's bad it gets REALLY bad.

            And remember that none of this would be possible without the government assistance through the DMCA. If it wasn't for that then every electronic store in the country would be full of equipment to nullify any DRM. It would be big business to crack copyright protections.

            -----------------------

            Seriously; history is on our side here. What point in history was ever the attempt of the 'rulers' of a empire been able to surpress knowledge?

            It seems kind a frivolous at first to be worried about people trying to stop 'digital piracy', but the effect that corporations trying to control how software and hardware is designed for the sake of preserving DRM and the effect it's having on the internet and personal computers is insidious.

            Remember that PCs and the Internet is the printing press of the 21st century. Completely dismantling all limitations on communication between people all around the world...

            -----------------------------------

            Oh and remember that for every song, every movie....

            You only need to get one unencrypted copy leaked out on the internet then that can be copied thousands, millions, billions of times without a single bit misplaced or switched. Such is the unique nature of digital media.

            Think about it. Only ONE copy needs to be leaked. Out of the billions of people, hundreds of thousands of pieces of media, software, and hardware floating around... Only one copy is needed by the pirates. That's it. Once you have one copy then "game over" the pirates have won.

            Then the entire DRM scheme is rendered completely and totally worthless. With ONE copy of the media there is no need to ever crack that piece of media ever again.

            At that point whether or not somebody wants to pay to the watch the movie or listen to the song is purely voluntary. At that point all DRM does is punish paying customers. If they break the law and download a free copy then they get a superior copy. You pay more to get less if your a customer! How does that make sense for the media industry?

            DRM is DOA.
            Last edited by drag; 11-20-2008, 11:51 PM.

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            • #51
              It must be noted that there are also hidden threats for AMD opening specs. If enthusiast programmers will find these specs useful for brining better open source drivers to the community, then rival companies may find it as a good chance to compromise DRM path and bury AMD's business by leaking some decryption program into the Internet. Even software companies producing source-closed operating systems may be interested in this. No good hardware with open drivers - no good truly open Linux distributions with solid 3D support - no users switching to Linux, especially then AMD's closed drivers for Linux really suck for WINE gaming imo.

              I have two RV670 cards I bought only for AMD's open source politics and like most of you I don't want this company dead. We just have to wait.

              Comment


              • #52
                I am certainly --NOT-- endorsing downloading illegal media. And I am not suggesting that AMD make doing such possible. That just makes the case for DRM stronger.

                What I am saying is that the content industry is actually limiting there potential customer base significantly by implementing DRM the way they have.. The goal for content should be exposure right? You would think that should be the purpose right? DRM makes that difficult....

                And they wonder why there market is shrinking....

                If I could watch a movie on linux in some uber high definition format unrestricted on linux, I'd gladly pay for it. Or maybe on my smart phone. Or maybe my PS3. Or maybe my Netbook. etc, etc, etc..... The list goes on and on and on. It is the content industries duty to make distribution more effective. Effective in this case means efficiency. You want to be able to make a profit over those copies that are being watched.... DRM makes that dream impossible....

                Theyt limit there contents exposure to only a tiny range of formats, players, and hardware... And then wonder why there market is shrinking....

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by bridgman
                  What "tricked" us with the 6xx was that the internal docs contained information on a lot of functionality we are not using in any drivers today, so the amount of information we had to cut out was much larger than in previous generations so it took a few attempts to find the right balance.
                  Bridgman, back on page two you said this interesting bit. I don't however understand, why would you not let open drivers use functionality the closed ones don't use (yet). What is the worst case of revealing that your card X has some extra functionality and it can be used this way? At worst it could be that the competing companies also add that extra functionality, and everyone benefits. Especially if this extra was something small, just something that hasn't conventionally been in a graphics card (hardware accelerated jpeg? hardware MD5?)
                  Of course if that unused functionality is something huge or secret, then I understand, but it would appear not all of it is like that. Is there any risk at all in revealing some small functionality?
                  That someone will prefer the open driver because of it?

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Ye that also puzzled me too.

                    What is the problem of releasing specs about hardware that is not used? Could it be used later?

                    [conspiracy mode = on]
                    I bet that is the part that makes an 4830 = 4850 = 4870... So if that
                    is opened everyone would buy a 4830 and end up with a 4870...
                    [conspiracy mode = off]

                    BTW, in a graphic family all the chips are the same right? I know CPU's are all equal and they get their speeds/cache ajusted after production in
                    a quality testing (If can perform full speed is full speed, otherwise
                    they sell it with a lower frequency). Is the same thing with GPUs?

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by curaga View Post
                      Bridgman, back on page two you said this interesting bit. I don't however understand, why would you not let open drivers use functionality the closed ones don't use (yet). What is the worst case of revealing that your card X has some extra functionality and it can be used this way? At worst it could be that the competing companies also add that extra functionality, and everyone benefits.
                      We aren't trying to deliberately hold back useful information. It's more an issue of whether certain features work or are supportable. For example when planning a new asic, new feature X may have been designed in and shows up in the specs. Somewhere along the way, someone decides that feature wasn't worthwhile or should be moved to a newer asic or maybe ended up having a hw bug. As such, feature X may not exist in hw, or it may have not been tested during hw verification (in which case it probably doesn't work), etc. Moreoever, if we aren't using that feature in any of our drivers, there's a good chance it will stop being verified or get dropped altogether on future asics. Also, if we don't use a certain feature in our drivers, it's often hard to find information on how that feature should work if it indeed does. So, the best way to figure out a common stable supportable feature set is usually to look at what our other drivers use.

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                      • #56
                        Exactly. The point I was trying to make is that the original design documentation we use as input included a lot of things which did not make it into the final chips, and also included some things which we decided not to use and therefore do not test in production ASICs. Normally we can use the original design docs as a good starting point for writing programming docs and drivers, but in the case of the 6xx/7xx family that didn't work so well and we ended up having to spend much more time working with the designers and driver devs.

                        curaga; almost all of these features fall into the "big and secret" category
                        Last edited by bridgman; 11-21-2008, 02:19 PM.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by cjr2k3 View Post
                          Ye that also puzzled me too.

                          What is the problem of releasing specs about hardware that is not used? Could it be used later?

                          [conspiracy mode = on]
                          I bet that is the part that makes an 4830 = 4850 = 4870... So if that
                          is opened everyone would buy a 4830 and end up with a 4870...
                          [conspiracy mode = off]

                          BTW, in a graphic family all the chips are the same right? I know CPU's are all equal and they get their speeds/cache ajusted after production in
                          a quality testing (If can perform full speed is full speed, otherwise
                          they sell it with a lower frequency). Is the same thing with GPUs?
                          What your describing is called binning. The reason why companies bin there products is becouse not every chip that comes off of the same wafer is equal. It has something to do with a concept called defect density. Some dies on a wafer can clock higher then others. Some dies might have a section of cache that doesnt work. Some might of a rendering pipeline that doesnt work. Some might have some other flaw that prevents it from being fully functional.

                          So what they do is bin them by defects. Flawless chips are the rarest, and so they get sold into the high priced high end where the volume of products will be the lowest. down the line where the chips are binned into progressively cheaper products.

                          Keep in mind also that ATi generally has 2 chips in production, a high end chip, and a low end chip. And both of these chips have there own set of bins. Traditionally they were differentiated by Rxxx and RVxxx, however in recent generations that line has been blurred.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Don't overlook the possibility there are features on the silicon that work perfectly well, but are only enabled for the cards sold into the proprietary workstation market.

                            That's a huge revenue generator for ATI (somebody has to pay the bills) and they are not going to compromise it by giving away "features" they don't have to.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              I am certainly --NOT-- endorsing downloading illegal media. And I am not suggesting that AMD make doing such possible. That just makes the case for DRM stronger.
                              Well it doesn't really matter how strong the case is for DRM. The sort of DRM that uses technological means to control what people do with their own possessions is just impractical from the get-go. Remember that all this sort of thing is based on math, which is a way to express the fundamental rules of the universe.. all computers are is on and off switches and they are limited by physical reality and by economic realities.

                              There is certainly a strong case for having anti-gravity devices, but spending millions of dollars and passing laws saying that people can't expose how anti-gravity works isn't going to make it any more practical.


                              -------------------

                              AMD is limited by contractional agreements and thats all there really is to it. They have patent licenses and contracts, agreements, and understandings with their business partners.

                              At this point it's pretty likely that AMD could not release documentation even if they dramitically wanted to. They've probably agreed to pay fines if they did not fufill their obligations and I would hate to see AMD dragged to court by Microsoft or S3 or anybody else for trying to help Linux folks out with open source drivers.

                              And in addition don't forget the DMCA. If they release information that will teach people how to circumvent digital copyright protections they will be in violation of federal law.

                              -------------------------

                              Just remember how convoluted and difficult this documentation out is. That's the sort of thing that happens when you deal significantly in proprietary software technology.

                              It ends up limiting the people working on the proprietary stuff as much as it limits end users, if not more. This sort of stuff is why open source is gaining traction.. it's not so much that it's superior technically, but that because of it's openness it's just so much less hassle to deal with and improve.

                              Breaking free is the hard part, but I hope that AMD gets enough real benefit (read: profits) that they can justify the costs of openning up the hardware and making their newer hardware more and more Linux friendly.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by drag View Post
                                AMD is limited by contractional agreements and thats all there really is to it. They have patent licenses and contracts, agreements, and understandings with their business partners.

                                At this point it's pretty likely that AMD could not release documentation even if they dramitically wanted to. They've probably agreed to pay fines if they did not fufill their obligations and I would hate to see AMD dragged to court by Microsoft or S3 or anybody else for trying to help Linux folks out with open source drivers.

                                And in addition don't forget the DMCA. If they release information that will teach people how to circumvent digital copyright protections they will be in violation of federal law.
                                Well, I guess I'll just have to disagree with you. Like I said, I think AMD could win that lawsuit easily. If MS took AMD to court they would have to claim that becouse of the restrictions placed they have a superior product. I dont think that claim will stand up in court. If this issue ever went to court AMD would have an aweful lot of case law on there side.

                                I dont think MS could win.

                                And for the DMCA, it's already been proven to be unconstitutional. All it needs now is for a large group of people to bring a class action against it. There is already several huge petitions on the web, and I'd wager that the majority of those petitioners would gladly participate in a class action suit against the DMCA.

                                Like I siad it all comes down to whether or not we are willing to stand up and fight against our oppressors.

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