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AMD Already Adds On Two Open-Source Developers

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  • AMD Already Adds On Two Open-Source Developers

    Phoronix: AMD Already Adds On Two Open-Source Developers

    AMD's John Bridgman has now confirmed that they have hired two open-source developers. These two new development hires was done previous to the announcement a few days ago that they are still looking for another open-source developer to work on their open-source Linux (kernel DRM, Mesa / Gallium3D, DDX) stack for Radeon graphics hardware...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=OTQ0Nw

  • #2
    What is AMD's goal with hiring more open source developers? Don't get me wrong, this is indeed great news, but they must have some vision for the driver since they do this.

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    • #3
      Since they are hired by AMD, does that mean they can access the intel to create a better open-source driver, or are they on their own because that kind of intel is reserved to closed-source driver devs ?

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      • #4
        AMD OSS devs like agdf have access to everything, and can discuss everything in detail with the closed-source devs.

        This doesn't automatically mean that they can simply take the Catalyst code, or implement anything they want (like UVD).

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        • #5
          Actually, I don't think that any of the problems with the current AMD OSS driver have anything to do with the lack of information. The main problems are:

          - lack of manpower, where this will help
          - they are still behind when it comes to the very latest hardware, although this gap is shortening rapidly. New developers will be helpful here too
          - the general state of Mesa does not allow for OpenGL3, especially the GLSL compiler is the bottleneck. Here the strategy seems to be to wait for Intel to finish this. I don't know if general Mesa development is in AMD's plans.

          EDIT: All this is from an interested observer, I'm not an insider. Take it with a truck of salt.

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          • #6
            what i am curious about is if this new team will work only on the close to the kernel stuff (DRM) or if they are going to help with mesa/G3D state trackers

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            • #7
              Lots of good questions. Here are some quick answers :

              The main impetus for hiring additional developers now was interest in the open source drivers from our embedded customers -- not just embedded Linux users (where there's an obvious fit) but customers using other OSes and using the open source drivers as a starting point for implementing support in their own environment.

              Our embedded customers have a slightly different set of priorities from "desktop" users although there is a fair amount of overlap -- so the idea is that the new developers will be part of the same team but we will now be able to spend more time on embedded business priorities rather than just setting priorities based on Phoronix forum posts

              The new developers will work the same way that Richard and Alex did - with direct access to hardware design info, direct access to hardware and software developers, and as-needed access to Catalyst driver source code.

              You probably remember that back in 2008 we put a lot of effort into using our proprietary code as a foundation for open driver work (we tried both tcore and the hardware layer for the new OpenGL driver) but in both cases we found that the differences in size and internal architecture made this much less effective than it first appeared.

              The new developers will work on kernel, x and mesa drivers / state trackers, and hopefully a bit more on the common code as well.

              Stupid one minute edit limit. I think I'll put that in my signature

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              • #8
                Bridgman are there any customers of yours that use g3d as their graphic stack???

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                • #9
                  Well, here's to hoping that one of your "embedded customers" is willing to sink millions to help you guys work on Gallium3d-based desktop OpenGL, rather than going off somewhere in the tumbleweeds and having you work on some specific embedded technology, like Android support for AMD Fusion. That'd be cool and all, but (1) probably not open source, and (2) useless to me.

                  It's not like I'm a real customer anyway; I've only sunk about $2000 in graphics cards over the last 5-6 years....

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 89c51 View Post
                    Bridgman are there any customers of yours that use g3d as their graphic stack???
                    I don't know if any customers are using the Gallium3D paths today but I expect that some of them are and the rest will flip over pretty quickly.

                    Originally posted by allquixotic View Post
                    ...rather than going off somewhere in the tumbleweeds and having you work on some specific embedded technology, like Android support for AMD Fusion. That'd be cool and all, but (1) probably not open source, and (2) useless to me.
                    There is a fair degree of overlap between embedded and desktop priorities -- I wouldn't worry. Anyways, there's very little difference between what Android needs and what a desktop user running Wayland needs - it's just the plumbing that is different. We use the same core GPU technology between Fusion and discrete parts so no split there either.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                      There is a fair degree of overlap between embedded and desktop priorities -- I wouldn't worry. Anyways, there's very little difference between what Android needs and what a desktop user running Wayland needs - it's just the plumbing that is different.
                      Perhaps. I don't know exactly what AMD's plan are, but IMHO embedded Linux doesn't have a good image with regard to being open source friendly. It seems to me that is mostly about taking the free Linux source code adding some proprietary code to it and then shipping the whole product as a binary firmware image and possibly adding en encrypted bootloader to prevent the user from installing custom roms.

                      I read a while ago AMD was looking for Android driver developers with experience with video decode acceleration. It would be nice if we regular GNU/Linux users could also see some benefit from that...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                        I don't know if any customers are using the Gallium3D paths today but I expect that some of them are and the rest will flip over pretty quickly.
                        Thanks. Hopefully this will boost development on g3d and we can have a feature complete stack.

                        Since we got you answering questions are there any news on the UVD front???

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                        • #13
                          There's still the one remaining slot still as well. For reference, Corbin Simpson, Tom Stellard, and Marek Olk who have contributed a lot to the open-source Radeon graphics stack are reportedly not interested in taking the spot on the basis of continuing their school education.
                          Just so there is no confusion. I am graduating in a month and the position at AMD is one that I am interested in.

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                          • #14
                            Two developers are more than one tm

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by tstellar View Post
                              Just so there is no confusion. I am graduating in a month and the position at AMD is one that I am interested in.
                              I hope you'll succeed in getting the position and start working soon!

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