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  • No Stable RadeonHD 2D Driver This Year

    Phoronix: No Stable RadeonHD 2D Driver This Year

    The key developers at Novell that are behind the open-source RadeonHD driver for the ATI R500/600 graphics processors have been doing a great job (as you can find out by reading a number of our RadeonHD articles). Previously we reported that the Novell developers had hoped to complete the 2D RadeonHD work by the end of the year; however, that will no longer be the case.

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...item&px=NjE4Ng

  • #2
    I'm about to buy a new system.
    I'll buy from the company that gives best linux support.
    If AMD confirms open-sourcing the specs of latest GPU for having open-source drivers, I therefore don't mind waiting a little to have the drivers. I also don't mind spending more bucks in acquiring ATI products. I don't even mind losing some FPS versus a cost-equivalent nvidia GPU.

    But i don't mind on those points only if there is real open-source support, as ATI said. A full release of GPU specs, even from the latest GPU, both 2D and 3D.

    If not, I'll go for nvidia, since, for the moment, is less expensive for better performance.

    I feel confident that the community will be able, at the dire end, to best tweak the GPU performance as it would never been done with binary blobs. Just have to the phoronix test of open-source drivers .vs. binary ones. On ETQW, the performances are far better with open-source. And I don't want either my hardware to be dependent on the "goodwill" for writing good drivers from any manufacturer.

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    • #3
      Personally i don't really care that no stable 2d driver is out by the end of the year, although i'm more interested in the fact that AMD is releasing documentation on their GPU's without the requirement for a NDA.

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      • #4
        Btw., if anyone was wondering, the RadeonHD developers are working on RandR support since one week.

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        • #5
          Maybe the 2D driver would be stable enough to be in the next round of distros.

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          • #6
            i could see that coming. it seemed way too fast.

            the progress on radeonhd is pretty good, though.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by remm View Post
              Maybe the 2D driver would be stable enough to be in the next round of distros.
              Even now radeonhd is usable if you do not want to play 3d games or use compiz. After three months I believe that 2d should be stable enough to be included in distros by default.

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              • #8
                no stable 2D, unless AMD releases more 2D specs soon!

                AMD still holds up specs this late, while they suggested 2D by this year.

                Just don't get feed up by AMD propaganda. They do not really care about customers. They couldn't get fglrx for years, therefore, no miracle for open source either.

                Everything from AMD is propaganda. There benchmarkings, like, "super fast barcelona", "open source video".

                Remember, RMS still holds the sign, "Don't buy from ATI, enemy of your freedom", now we can safely s/TI/MD/.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:R...n_sign_ATI.jpg

                Originally posted by Mithrandir View Post
                Even now radeonhd is usable if you do not want to play 3d games or use compiz. After three months I believe that 2d should be stable enough to be included in distros by default.

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                • #9
                  I doubt that 3d specs would be very useful at this stage of development of radeonhd. Stable 2d and video playback is needed before 3d development can start. What we really need is more people working on free software drivers.

                  P.S. It would be interesting to hear what RMS now says about AMD.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mithrandir View Post
                    I doubt that 3d specs would be very useful at this stage of development of radeonhd. Stable 2d and video playback is needed before 3d development can start. What we really need is more people working on free software drivers.
                    I do not totally agree with you here. 3D is a different kind of beast than 2D and when combining the two (which has to be done somewhere along the line) is quite a challenge. It would be a huge advantage to have a least some knowledge about the 3D part when building the 2D part so that you can already design and implement for the integration later.

                    P.S. It would be interesting to hear what RMS now says about AMD.
                    Do we care? Let AMD keep their word, that's much more important.

                    Also, I think releasing the specs involves quite some work (I have actually worked in ASIC development), but they _should_ do it quickly now as far as I'm concerned. They got many people hanging by a thread and when these things take too long people loose interest and switch. Their reputation will only get worse.

                    Also, I think that getting GFX in the open is a very sound strategic choice of AMD: think of Fusion and what is would mean if this was a closed platform....
                    Because of this, NVidia is missing the boat here, which I think they are doing something about (like talking with Intel about a merger/takeover......., if not they _really_ will be missing the boat)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by butdie View Post
                      AMD still holds up specs this late, while they suggested 2D by this year.

                      Just don't get feed up by AMD propaganda. They do not really care about customers. They couldn't get fglrx for years, therefore, no miracle for open source either.

                      Everything from AMD is propaganda. There benchmarkings, like, "super fast barcelona", "open source video".

                      Remember, RMS still holds the sign, "Don't buy from ATI, enemy of your freedom", now we can safely s/TI/MD/.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:R...n_sign_ATI.jpg
                      I'm taking this as an attack on not just AMD here, but to the developers contributing to the open source RadeonHD driver. I dislike people making these statements. Put some backing into them, not just "OMGSJTHEYRE LIES!"

                      If you've ever looked at the git repo (I look at it every couple days), there's quite a bit of activity going on it - lots to say the least. To bash them just because they can't get 2D out by the end of the year even though it visibly shows that they are working away at it is ... shortsighted I would say? Lack of patience? Overdemanding? Unrealistic?

                      Maybe they shouldn't have said they would have 2D done by end of the year, but hey, if you've ever developed before, delays usually happen.

                      AMD itself also has a decent relationship with OSS to my understanding, and their processors have worked well with Linux.

                      I should also mention, specs WERE released. Were they complete? No. But did they release something? Yes. Actions speak louder than words, and while we all have our doubts, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt this time around (given that they have released 2D specs already). The next thing we know, when 3D specs are released (hopefully), people will complain that they can't get DRI soon after, therefore everything AMD spews is a complete lie.

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                      • #12
                        Keep in mind guys that the newest ATI chipsets don't even have a 2D component. AMD *must* release 3D docs, or there will be no 2D rendering on those cards at all. 2D rendering and acceleration is all done with the usual 3D operations, shaders, frame buffer objects, and so on.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by elanthis View Post
                          Keep in mind guys that the newest ATI chipsets don't even have a 2D component. AMD *must* release 3D docs, or there will be no 2D rendering on those cards at all. 2D rendering and acceleration is all done with the usual 3D operations, shaders, frame buffer objects, and so on.
                          If the resident rep for AMD, John Bridgman, who's been posting as bridgman on here was telling the truth in a recent IRC chat on the DRI developer's channel, then this is actually happening. They're having a problem of staffing- they need people to help sanitize the documentation they have before it goes out (no brown paper bag moments, no leaked 3rd party IP, etc.- and there's some of that in their stuff, trust me... ) and they need people to work on the current closed driver.

                          Considering that Dave Arlie just put in a new branch on the DRI codebase: R500 support. That means just the very thing you're talking about.

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                          • #14
                            The R5xx family and the RS690 all have the same 2d acceleration hardware as previous generations of ATI graphics chips -- the programming model hasn't really changed since the R1xx/R2xx. As a result, the original programming docs are still applicable (for 2d and DRM only, though), and the "radeon" 2d acceleration code should run pretty much unchanged on 5xx and 690. EDIT - Apparently it does.

                            The 6xx family does not have a dedicated 2d accelerator block, but the command processor microcode can accept 2d acceleration commands and emulate them on the 3d engine using a precompiled shader blob. That's the missing info we need to release :

                            - docco for which 2d commands we emulate (we don't emulate all the command packets; hopefully we emulate the important ones)
                            - r6xx and r5xx microcode
                            - the precompiled shader blob for 2d emulation
                            - sample code or documentation to set up the emulation mechanism

                            We still need to put out more info for full 3d support, of course, and we're just starting to make progress on that. The programming model for 5xx 3d is not too different from previous ASICs while the 6xx has the unified shader core which programs quite a bit differently.

                            EDIT -- I've been meaning to put up a table like this for a while...

                            DIFFERENCES FROM 4xx to newer parts and impact on driver/developers

                            Display controller / display driver - all new for 5xx, 6xx and RS690 -- 690 is more like 6xx than 5xx
                            2d accelerator HW / XAA & EXA driver - unchanged for 5xx and 690, emulated but similar for 6xx
                            ring buffer & cmd processor / DRM driver- largely unchanged although memory management evolves from gen to gen
                            3d engine / mesa driver - 690 unchanged except vertex shaders in SW, a bit different for 5xx, all new for 6xx
                            video & overlay HW / video driver - all new on all parts
                            SD video acceleration - unchanged on 5xx and 690, a bit different on 6xx
                            HD video acceleration - new on 6xx

                            You can kinda see what this means for driver development. The display controller is all new so that pretty much has to be written and debugged from scratch along with learning the quirks of the new hardware. Pretty much everything else can make good use of existing code, expecially since everything in the graphics stack except for the display driver is in the process of being rearchitected anyways (EXA over TTM, DRI2, Gallium etc...).

                            It seems like a really cool time to be an open source graphics developer.
                            Last edited by bridgman; 11-20-2007, 10:15 PM.

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