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Why I think the DRM and open source debate is nonsense

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  • Why I think the DRM and open source debate is nonsense

    I reckon that CPUs will get fast enough to handle HD content in a couple of years without GPU acceleration. I can remember back in the late 90s/early 00s when you had to have GPU acceleration or a hardware mpeg2 card to watch DVDs. My old k6-2 500 with 128 Mb Ram and 16 Mb 3dfx card couldn't handle watching DVDs. Most modern computers can.

    My c2d 1.6 gig laptop can handle 720p hd content without GPU acceleration on VLC media player so I reckon in a couple of years the debate will be obsolete. What does anyone else think?

  • #2
    How about 1080p/i in h264?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Kano View Post
      How about 1080p/i in h264?
      All I know is that I encode all my DVD movies into x264 with a 480p resolution, and it seems to work at about 6% CPU usage with mplayer, and about 10% with xinelib, both using gl2. GStreamer is totally broken with h264 video at this point, and I never tried VLC becouse the GTK interface is totally unusable right now.

      Provided decent 3d support any 2ghz K8 or newer, or 30ghz P4 or newer, or 1.8ghz C2D or newer should be able to handle 1080p h264 streams. Of course this isnt considering decryption, but anybody in there proper mind would have decrypted there movies as soon as they bought them any way. BD and HDDVD will have a decryptor available soon enough. Thats why AMD trying to support DRM in linux is asinine at the best. It's totally irrelevant and worthless. It isnt needed. It's a waste of money and talent.

      All it's going to do is piss a lot of people off.

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      • #4
        Not sure I understand the connection between DRM and decode here. We`re not trying to support DRM in Linux -- we`re just trying to make sure that supporting unprotected decode in Linux doesn`t put our Windows DRM (on the same hardware) at risk.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by bridgman View Post
          Not sure I understand the connection between DRM and decode here. We`re not trying to support DRM in Linux -- we`re just trying to make sure that supporting unprotected decode in Linux doesn`t put our Windows DRM (on the same hardware) at risk.
          What your effectively saying is that hardware decoding will not be possible in the open driver because of DRM... There really isnt any other way to interpret it.

          I think it is unfair and ridiculous considering that it is a moot point for the linux market anyway because most content will be unencrypted from the start and for that content that is encrypted it --will-- be cracked sooner rather then later. There is zero point in supporting DRM in hardware, when an open source software solution will be available shortly. It's going to be hacked whether you like it or not. It's inevitable, and supporting it in your drivers is a futile waste of engineering talent and money. You'd be better off spending your engineering talent --helping-- us crack DRM in an open and free way.
          Last edited by duby229; 02-03-2008, 01:27 PM.

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          • #6
            What your effectively saying is that hardware decoding will not be possible in the open driver because of DRM... There really isnt any other way to interpret it.
            Actually, there is. If you read my other posts on this, what I'm saying so far is "we're pretty sure we know how to expose IDCT/MC decoding hardware to open source without putting DRM at risk, but we don't have a way to do that for UVD yet".

            There is zero point in supporting DRM in hardware. It's going to be hacked whether you like it or not. It's inevitable, and supporting it in your drivers is a futile waste of engineering talent and money.
            Are you saying "we shouldn't support DRM on the Windows products either", or "we should make different chips for Linux than Windows, and leave the DRM out of the Linux chips" ? We can't sell chips into the largest sections of the Windows market without DRM. Rbmorse said it well a couple of posts earlier.
            Last edited by bridgman; 02-03-2008, 01:35 PM.

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            • #7
              Sure there's a point to it. It keeps AMD from being sued into oblivion by the people from whom crackers are stealing content. I can see where AMD might think that was important.

              I have to admit I was a bit surprised when I started reading that AMD was going to begin supporting the development of an open source driver. I am very pleased that they are doing so. But, as John keeps pointing out, AMD didn't create the problem (Intel may have...or at least helped but that is a separate discussion) and it's just as big a headache for them as it is for the teeny, tiny (but, growing) number of people who care about such things on the user side. As opposed to a couple of humdred million who just want to be able to watch movies on their PCs and don't view DRM as a violation of some unenumerated natural right, or more likely, simply don't care about the issue at all. That crowd buys A LOT of video cards.

              It is clear that there are going to be limits, at least in the near term, on how far AMD can go with this both in terms of their business model and what the lawyers will allow.

              I commend John (and others) for being so up front about that. No pie-in-the-sky promises, just simple declarative sentences saying they will do what they can and that's all they can do, but anything ***AMD*** does on the open source side will not be allowed be allowed to compromise the protected driver. I appreciate their honesty

              And no, it doesn't matter if anybody thinks that's not fair.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                ...Rbmorse said it well a couple of posts earlier.
                Actually, John, I pulled that post on my own because I thought it a bit harsh. But, I'll say it again, if AMD can't sell video cards that support DRM under Windows, they won't sell enough video cards to maintain the business at all. And that would be bad for all of us.

                One does not have to like that state of affairs, but it is the unfortunate reality we have to face.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                  Actually, there is. If you read my other posts on this, what I'm saying so far is "we're pretty sure we know how to expose IDCT/MC decoding hardware to open source without putting DRM at risk, but we don't have a way to do that for UVD yet".



                  Are you saying "we shouldn't support DRM on the Windows products either", or "we should make different chips for Linux than Windows, and leave the DRM out of the Linux chips" ? We can't sell chips into the largest sections of the Windows market without DRM. Rbmorse said it well a couple of posts earlier.
                  I think this is the fundeental issue, and thank you for bringing it up. Yes I think that AMD would be better off by not supporting DRM in any way shape or form on any product using any operating system period. ATi is large enough, and diverse enough with enough customers that if the Content industry wanted to sell there content then they would have no choice but to release it without restrictions.

                  If anyone is in a strong enough position to eliminate drm it is ATi. If they spent as much money and an power educating the public about DRM as they do supporting it, they could easily kill it within the next year. I understand that you dont represent ATi as a whole, just the open source documentation, so please dont consider this a personal attack on you. It isnt. I just feel that ATi as a whole should be attacking DRM with all of it's might and man power becouse DRM is the source of these problems. And ATi as a video card company is right smack dab in the middle of it.

                  Lets face it, if DRM didnt exist we wouldnt be having this conversation. there wouldnt be any risk of law suites. There wouldnt be any problem with decoding content. The only problem that exists is DRM. So lets fix the problem.
                  Last edited by duby229; 02-03-2008, 02:55 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rbmorse View Post
                    Actually, John, I pulled that post on my own because I thought it a bit harsh. But, I'll say it again, if AMD can't sell video cards that support DRM under Windows, they won't sell enough video cards to maintain the business at all. And that would be bad for all of us.

                    One does not have to like that state of affairs, but it is the unfortunate reality we have to face.
                    And this is where we disagree. ATi is in more markets then just PC's. If anybody could kll DRM it is ATi, and they could do it in a year if the chose to do so.

                    By simply telling the public at large that they cant watch what they bought because of DRM would enrage them. And lets face it, if ATi never supported DRM in the first place the masses wouldnt be able to watch DRM content and it would have died already.

                    ATi has done nothing --but-- put themselves in this situation. They weakened there own position and strengthened the content industry. Fortunately they are still able to kill if they dropped support for DRM in all future driver releases for all existing hardware and all future hardware, and explained to the public that it is DRM's fault.

                    ATi could still kill DRM if they wanted to.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by duby229 View Post
                      And this is where we disagree. ATi is in more markets then just PC's. If anybody could kll DRM it is ATi, and they could do it in a year if the chose to do so.
                      Not sure I agree with you there. We are active in four main markets -- PC graphics, consumer electronics (DTV), handheld devices (phones, PDAs) and game consoles. Of the four, PC graphics probably has the lightest DRM requirements although there is a segment of the handheld business which is trying to "open up". To a large extent, the same content providers feed all four segments.

                      Originally posted by duby229 View Post
                      By simply telling the public at large that they cant watch what they bought because of DRM would enrage them. And lets face it, if ATi never supported DRM in the first place the masses wouldnt be able to watch DRM content and it would have died already.
                      DRM is not an ATI/AMD issue, except to the extent that we are part of the PC industry and (like everyone else) have to choose between implementing industry standards or giving up those markets to our competitors. If ATI had never supported DRM then OEMs would have purchased exclusively from other graphics vendors who did support it. ATI, not DRM, would have died and gone away.

                      Adopting DRM was something the PC mfgs *wanted* because it allowed them to legally play DVDs (and now HD/BD) on their products and increase their market as a result. If all the graphics vendors in the world had agreed to boycott DRM no matter what the cost that might have kept DVD playback and DRM off PCs, but even then the outcome would just have been more portable DVD players (which have had DRM from day one) and fewer PCs with DVD drives.

                      Content providers would not be affected, but PC users and PC mfgs would lose.
                      Last edited by bridgman; 02-03-2008, 03:46 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                        Not sure I agree with you there. We are active in four main markets -- PC graphics, consumer electronics (DTV), handheld devices (phones, PDAs) and game consoles. Of the four, PC graphics probably has the lightest DRM requirements although there is a segment of the handheld business which is trying to "open up". To a large extent, the same content providers feed all four segments.



                        DRM is not an ATI/AMD issue, except to the extent that we are part of the PC industry and (like everyone else) have to choose between implementing industry standards or giving up those markets to our competitors. If ATI had never supported DRM then OEMs would have purchased exclusively from other graphics vendors who did support it. ATI, not DRM, would have died and gone away. Adopting DRM was something the PC mfgs *wanted* because it allowed them to legally play DVDs (and now HD/BD) on their products and increase their market as a result.

                        If all the graphics vendors in the world had agreed to boycott DRM no matter what the cost that might have kept DVD playback and DRM off PCs, but even then the outcome would just have been more portable DVD players (which have had DRM from day one) and fewer PCs with DVD drives. Content providers would not be affected.
                        And that is how ATi has weakened there position. Becouse they actually believe that crap.

                        Monopolies are iilegal in most countries. ATi isnt going anywhere. Additionally they already have so much hardware saturated in the market that if the content industry wanted to sell content they would have no chioce but to fill ATi's wishes. I install cable for a living in my home town, and a see Tv's with ATi codecs all the time. PVR's with ATi tuners and chipsets. I see PC's and laptopswith ATi video cards, and XBOX 360's and Nintendo's with ATi graphics processors. The list goes on and on and on. If ATi boycotted DRM across the board on all of it's products they could kill DR in a year.

                        Of course it is clear that ATi is afraid, and weak. And it is entirely there own fault.
                        Last edited by duby229; 02-03-2008, 03:50 PM.

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                        • #13
                          I think I need to clarify my original post a bit. What I'm basically saying is

                          1. That in a couple of years I reckon CPUs will be quick enough to play HD content without GPU acceleration. So the DRM/UVD issue won't be as much of an issue.

                          2. DRM is evil - no argument there.

                          3. DRM will probably be reverse-engineered and implemented in free software like for example with CSS and DeCSS anyway.

                          4. DRM decryption can't be implemented in a FOSS driver for obvious reasons anyway as it could be used as a circumvention mechanism

                          so basically AMD should not involve DRM in the RadeonHD driver in any way shape or form. DRM for HD media will be reverse-engineered and we can use Free OSes to watch this content when the opportunity arise.

                          Notice how I used the term 'reverse engineered' and not cracked wrt DRM decryption. I don't believe asserting our own right to watch content whichever way we wish on our OS of choice is an illegal or immoral act.

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                          • #14
                            Duby...is there something here beyond wishful thinking or am I missing something? I didn't get from AMD last financial statement that they were in a position to throw away sales into the Windows markets.

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                            • #15
                              so basically AMD should not involve DRM in the RadeonHD driver in any way shape or form. DRM for HD media will be reverse-engineered and we can use Free OSes to watch this content when the opportunity arise.
                              Nobody is talking about putting DRM in the RadeonHD driver. The issue is that we *do* put DRM in the hardware for use by the Windows drivers, and as a result of that there may be certain HW functionality we can't expose for use in RadeonHD.

                              Of course it is clear that ATi is afraid, and weak. And it is entirely there own fault.
                              ... and not the other graphics vendors ? We all sell into the same market, and we all implement DRM, and we all face the same issues re: opening video-related HW to the open source market. It's probably worth a gentle reminder that this whole discussion is about whether AMD will be the *first* to expose HD decode HW, not the *last*.
                              Last edited by bridgman; 02-03-2008, 04:05 PM.

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