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Personally, I don't care what AMD does to drag their feet over official HDMI audio support. The reverse engineered support works well enough for me. Though it is a shame that some people boot up with blank screens while AMD's "open source" people claim they need to go to the magical land of AMD lawyers and ask the Imaginary Property fairy for permission on documenting how it's supposed to work.
At least the people who reverse engineered it gave us something without having to put us on hold for 3 years over their alliances with criminal organizations.
"reverse engineered support " works only for hd2000-hd4000
Lets face it, this should be the most compeling reason for AMD to get their act together in respect to the OS driver. Right now they have a pretty good advantage in the Android department exacly because their open driver is in better shappe than the pitfull Imagination liced Intel chipset. We all know this could change quickly, as Intel could incorporate a ULV version of their rapidly improving SB/IB/Haswell graphics chipset and leverage their OS driver or simply buy Imagination and do whatever they want with the drivers.
In a nutshell, like many times before, AMD has an advatage in one of the fastest growing market (Android tablets, and netbooks) and will loose simply because it cannot focus its efforts.
Look at the radeon/fglrx state. They have two half-backed, semi-useless drivers. The OS driver is by far the best to 2D desktop, video accelaration (even without uvd) but is useless in the mobile department because it can't manage power and useless in the desktop department because it can't accelarate 3D well enough. Fglrx is pretty much useless for 2D desktop, but is a must if you want to use some anything which runs on battery or 3D graphics. In this sense, we have the good 3D/power driver which ends beeing used in noteboks, on which 3D is not really the focus of the platform and the good 2D/video driver which can onlybe used in the desktop where what we really need 3D performance.
I really hope someone at the high ranks sees that they could levarage the OS driver to enter Android market IF they can get AT LEAST the power issue corrected. Or just dump the OS driver and make a good closed driver. Either way, the consumer will be better served.
The legal reviews would probably be a lot less painful if the only thing to avoid would be giving out hardware-specific information about AMD proprietary IP. As it stands, DRM and IP and patents owned by other companies are littered all throughout AMD's ASICs. So it's like a legal minefield, and AMD's lawyers have to navigate through it.
What AMD is free to reveal will vary wi every bit of IP that the integrate into the chip. It isn't just a DRM issue as many so want to believe. This is not to say DRM isn't part of the problem it is just that every bit of IP comes with a contract detailing what AMD can do with it.
Frankly this is not as big of an issue as it might be with say an ARM based SoC where almost everything on the chip is IP that the vendor doesn't own.
I wish a company could make a competitive 3d chipset that isn't patent-encumbered; doesn't contain IP licensed from other companies; and contains no DRM. And on top of that the company is open-source friendly. They would probably release enough information to make a fully functional driver for all components of the hardware in these circumstances, and just hide enough information so their competitors couldn't (easily) use information in the driver to create better hardware that outpaces the company that released the driver (as that would be counterproductive).
OK but then who would buy such a chip? Seriously, people want to play videos on their machines these days and that requires supporting DRM and most likely the purchase of external IP.
More importantly IP isn't a bad thing in and of itself. IP is a bad thing if the contracts governing that IP are to restrictive. That is not however the case for all IP. IP can be very useful for system designers because it can allow them to put together systems quickly with a high degree of confidence. Think of IP as a modern day TTL circuit, the only difference being that you put them "together" in a CAD system instead of a circuit board.
In the end IP is no more bad than any other technical marvel. You just need to have access to it if you are doing systems programming.
And yes, that does mean I'd be willing to live without hardware video encoding/decoding by the chipset, in particular all the MPEG crap standards. I do want WebM and Theora in hardware, but the CPU in my box is plenty powerful for decoding 1080p in virtually any format, proprietary or no. I just don't see what value video encoding/decoding brings, when you can easily do so in hardware using shaders, or entirely in software (and in both those cases, people who do want to use proprietary codecs can purchase legally licensed software implementations of them, or hardware-based implementations that run as a shader, which is still software).
The problem is how does a company market such a beast? Again what you need or want here doesn't reflect what the majority of the people want. I'm not sure why you believe MPEG is such a problem either but that is another discussion.
On top of all of this there is very good reason to support hardware video decode. One reason is that it saves a lot of power. For many an energy sipping decoder is more important than 3D acceleration. As to software based decodes there is a real issue of power, but software also requires memory and processor time thus is a big negative for many.
I also think that said company should refuse to implement any display/audio standards that require DRM, and refuse to implement the DRM component if it's optional. This will send a strong message to the media cartels that their encumbered technology is not wanted.
Give me a break, the media companies have no choice in this matter and you know it! I have no problem witha DRM free chip but also realize it would fail in the market. The thing is people want to be able to view their latest movies on their computers, as such will buy hardware that supports such activities. The media companies will rightfully demand DRM systems as that is the only thing they have to prevent thefts. Please don't try to convince me thefts wouldn't be a problem.
Since AMD is the underdog (they only control ~27% of the desktop graphics market from the recent Steam hardware survey, and even less of the CPU market), you'd think they'd be the company to take on this kind of liberal strategy, to differentiate themselves from Big Green and Big Blue who tend to out-pace them at every turn, both in terms of sales and top-end performance. But AMD only has one foot in the freedom pool; the other foot is standing on proprietary quicksand, which is quickly pulling the entire company down.
OK Steam is a gamers oriented survey. That should tell you something about biases right there. Besides that AMD has been ahead in GPU performance for some time now so you are really out of touch.
In any event you are looking at this from the wrong standpoint, AMD is in the freedom pool as you put it, but has to work with in real constraints. Just like any other company that does business in the US has to obey the law and the agreements they have with other companies. Instead of filling this forum with all your negativity you really need to look at the positive aspects of AMDs push here. They did a 180 a few years ago with respect to open support and frankly everyone should be happy about that. When it comes right down to it AMD opened up ATI so I really don't know why you are whining so here.