Right now we have:
Intel with more than working HTPC/Office market, opensource.
Nvidia with more than working Gaming/GPGPU market, HTPC to some extent via ION, closed source.
Additionally there is noveau hack, backing up some very basic server/office usage.
And AMD, that provides closed source drivers that are inferior to nvidia in Gaming/GPGPU/HTPC:
- no video accel
- much much shorter hardware support window
- longer reaction to new hardware
- much less kernel/xorg version support
- more issues on desktop
- GPGPU is prefered on Nvidia (asked at overclockers.com)
The only frame for AMD in this segment is multi-monitor office configurations or 3D software solutions that must be developed together with AMD.
Opensource drivers, that are inferior to Intel in HTPC/Office:
- Intel CPU includes GPU and is also opensource
- AMD performance cards run inefficient with opensource drivers
- Intel CPUs/GPUs run more energy efficient than AMD currently
The only frame for AMD in this segment are laptops with basic graphics(and there aren't many due to less efficient energy design; which should hopefully corrected with nextgen AMD APUs) or desktops with IGP(no factors affect AMD or Intel selection here).
Correct me, if Im wrong please, but not being able to use 4 year old card and its capabilities - the reason it was purchased, is anything but acceptable.
Looking at overall situation, you are not interested in improving anything related to non-workstation segment, but you do support hardware specifications, from which only corporate entities are able to develop solutions for your cards that are acceptable to THEM. Redhat and Novell want basic support (for servers I guess) and their crew does it finely(no more, no less).
So there is zero point to any entity not affiliated with Redhat or Novell to purchase your hardware to use on Linux.
As you mentioned, lets take 24k sold cards in simulated calculation, assume that they were registered via manual or kernel-based SN reporting and this provided mapping for:
- card type
- estimated purchase time graph
- overall variability (20k highend cards/4k IGP - bring more calculated profit than 20k IGP/4k highend) factor
Everything else is not needed and does provide anonymity.
The missing components are:
- real-world feedback in form of quateryear financial report & user reactions on internet. And
- task prioritization - the customer should be able to choose the GPU software/driver infrastructure part he wishes/prioritizes AMD to work on next. This feedback can be done at time of manual registration.
Another point is to provide support window for legacy hardware - users of such hardware should be able to fix it themselves and upload patches to AMD; or to pay AMD additionally to fix the issues. Both mechanisms should run as transparent and understandable to the users as possible.
The very rough calculated amounts may be 12k cards for 300$ resulting in 40$ for driver team each card and 12k cards for 50$ with 8$ for driver team. The segment includes only linux or opensource segment.12k*40 + 12k*8= ~600,000$ for projected period.
This does not include dynamics which MAY happen depending on company steps/intensity. The hype of having opensource for-ever-supported hardware may shift the desktop market segment, claiming market shares from competition. Intel is not providing performance hardware, Nvidia only provides closed source drivers. Both of them do not provide the described mechanism. This may boost the 0,6 Mln a bit further.
The weak point of the calculation is maybe absence of gaming (to some degree compensated due to Wine, Steam via Wine, planned Desura client, OpenCL, BOINC), but there is good tendency. DRM market is not affected as most people using linux are using it for reason opposing DRM itself and being treated as conscious people.
Patented technologies are not problem, unless they are closed source(look at Google and VP8 - copyleft patent is realistic). These way they could be implemented as optional attachable modules and may be replaced over time. Protecting IP maybe possible this way as well - impossiblity to close down the implementation for what AMD holds a patent. If all legal stuff is cleared that way, the only thing left will be work and money for that work from consumers.
Technologies requiring whole path shutdown are conflicting with opensource in their nature. If AMD supports viruses, people will decide if to follow. Currently Nvidia supports viruses, except this (and Optimus case) it performs fairly well, which may be seen as good attack vector for AMD. And if AMD follows Nvidia strategy, as I mentioned, there will be no sense for people to prefer AMD except fanatism. 0,024% will join Nvidia.
And if AMD does not change the current approach, usable opensource drivers will actually disappear, (rather small) userbase shrink even further and people still won't be able to repay AMD for effort it does on opensource. AMD will look just as Ubuntu then - 99,9% talks, 0.1% input.