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  • #31
    Originally posted by bridgman View Post
    I'm sure it is unintentional, but you are posting things I didn't say then calling me a liar for saying them.

    What I said (and please go back and check my posts if you have any doubts) was that licenced (aka certified) players check to see if they are running in a secure environment, and will not play (or will constrict the quality) if that secure environment is not present.

    Right now the certified players and secure environments only exist on Windows, at least for HD/BD. I did not say anything about not being able to play on Linux, in fact I said multiple times that the DRM hardware would *not* prevent you from being able to play protected content on Linux unless the player app and OS were working together to stop you.
    Ok so then the quewstion becomes how does this have anything at all to do with Linux? How does this mean that we need a closed driver? You said it yourself not me. You said that we need a closed driver to enable a secure environment. I didnt say that, you did. There really is only one way to understand that....

    If you dont have any DRM support enabled in the closed driver, then why do you use a secured environment as an argument that you need a closed driver?

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    • #32
      Honestly, if we took that kind of black/white approach we would not have been able to release 3d information either. What we do instead is put together a team of technical and legal experts then pick through the IP and try to draw a dotted line between "the stuff you need to write a good driver" and "the stuff that we can't release" so we can make everyone happy. For some of the blocks (2d) it's pretty easy. For others (3d) it's a lot harder but we were able to do it successfully.

      Video and power management are probably the hardest of all, but we're definitely going to release enough to make for a great user experience. I just don't know exactly where the line is going to be yet.
      why the f*** would power management be a problem?! who cares if you tell the world how to power down your chip?

      anyway, i am quite concerned about that. What are examples of such lines already taken with 3d, considered "cant release", but that you have "released enough for a good driver".

      Please bottom line it for me, which features does the chips have, which you to this date(or know about for later stuff), have been unable to give specs on? Even if good drivers providing a good user experience can be made, with less "features" documented, i'd sure like to know what it is that AMD ahs deemed itself unable to tell us how to use.

      the more i hear about the specs released and stuff, the more i get the feeling that the specs released isnt gonna be able to help create anything but a second class citizen feature wise(and no, i dont count DRM in as a feature.).
      Last edited by Redeeman; 06-07-2008, 04:41 PM.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Redeeman View Post
        why the f*** would power management be a problem?! who cares if you tell the world how to power down your chip?

        anyway, i am quite concerned about that. What are examples of such lines already taken with 3d, considered "cant release", but that you have "released enough for a good driver".

        Please bottom line it for me, which features does the chips have, which you to this date(or know about for later stuff), have been unable to give specs on? Even if good drivers providing a good user experience can be made, with less "features" documented, i'd sure like to know what it is that AMD ahs deemed itself unable to tell us how to use.

        the more i hear about the specs released and stuff, the more i get the feeling that the specs released isnt gonna be able to help create anything but a second class citizen feature wise(and no, i dont count DRM in as a feature.).
        Did you ever noticed that today industry focus is on power management ? Everywhere you see the paradigm of watt efficiency. The competition is now on delivering more computational power while consuming less watt. So obviously power management is sensitive, any trick AMD use can be an advantage over others constructors. And the world we leave in is just "cruel", if you ever tell your enemy what you do don't expect them to congratulate you on the cleverness of your solution but rather to copy or take advantage of this knowledge. I am not against emulations, as matter of fact this one of the things i love, it's just that sadly today you have to protect knowledge.

        On the 3d side i have fairly solid experience of radeon hw and i can tell you that if we ever want to achieve speed & functionalities parity with the closed source driver we better start founding a massive crew of engineers. The fact is that open source people are not genius neither more clever then the closed source engineers. It's just the same brand of human eating same kind of food and drinking same kind of beer

        In the end i am sure that the open source driver will be somewhere around 80%-90% of speed of the closed source one. And as we will limit the rendering to the refresh rate if the 10% gap is just frame you can't see then as a result we will be on pair with the closed one. For me this doesn't look like a 2 class citizen

        I think that AMD is mostly hidding stuff like performances registers which are helpfull only if you got this large crew of engineers i was talking about. And if you look at released spec you can often spot gap here and their and from context make wild guess and with little more effort find out what is missing.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by duby229 View Post
          Ok so then the quewstion becomes how does this have anything at all to do with Linux?
          I think the discussion started out talking about the DRM *hardware* we needed to provide that secure environment in Windows, and how the presence of some of the DRM bits made it harder to open up HW documentation which could be used to write an open source driver for Linux. It sorta morphed into a discussion about DRM software some time later.

          Originally posted by duby229 View Post
          How does this mean that we need a closed driver? You said it yourself not me. You said that we need a closed driver to enable a secure environment. I didnt say that, you did. There really is only one way to understand that....

          If you dont have any DRM support enabled in the closed driver, then why do you use a secured environment as an argument that you need a closed driver?
          I'm wondering if you are talking about a thread from a month or two ago. I did mention a secure environment and closed source there, but that was as a hypothetical, ie if Linux desktop market share grew to the point where many users were demanding HD/BD playback on a preloaded OEM system, then a legal solution would be required (the PC mfgs would insist on it), a licensed player would be required, and a secure environment would be needed to host the player. In that scenario I imagine we would need to implement some kind of secure environment, but right now the OS mechanisms aren't there to support it.

          Is that what you are talking about ? I think the context was actually hybrid drivers -- closed source 3d stack paired with open source display & modesetting etc...
          Last edited by bridgman; 06-07-2008, 06:19 PM.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by glisse View Post
            Did you ever noticed that today industry focus is on power management ? Everywhere you see the paradigm of watt efficiency. The competition is now on delivering more computational power while consuming less watt. So obviously power management is sensitive, any trick AMD use can be an advantage over others constructors. And the world we leave in is just "cruel", if you ever tell your enemy what you do don't expect them to congratulate you on the cleverness of your solution but rather to copy or take advantage of this knowledge. I am not against emulations, as matter of fact this one of the things i love, it's just that sadly today you have to protect knowledge.
            Yep. I don't like it either but that is a reality we have to live with.

            The other problem with power management is that the transition from largely driver-controlled to largely hw-controlled power management was a rolling change midway through the 6xx family so there are more chip-to-chip differences than normal even documenting and validating the information is a big task.

            Again, I'm trying to send a message that "we may not be able to expose everything" but I think we will be able to expose enough to make for very happy users.

            Originally posted by glisse View Post
            On the 3d side i have fairly solid experience of radeon hw and i can tell you that if we ever want to achieve speed & functionalities parity with the closed source driver we better start founding a massive crew of engineers. The fact is that open source people are not genius neither more clever then the closed source engineers. It's just the same brand of human eating same kind of food and drinking same kind of beer
            Actually you guys frequently seem to have access to better beer than us, which is a constant source of aggravation.

            I still can't believe Chimay Blue was *on* *tap* in Brussels

            Originally posted by glisse View Post
            In the end i am sure that the open source driver will be somewhere around 80%-90% of speed of the closed source one. And as we will limit the rendering to the refresh rate if the 10% gap is just frame you can't see then as a result we will be on pair with the closed one. For me this doesn't look like a 2 class citizen
            It always bothers me a bit when people say "card A is better than card B because card B only runs my game at 177 frames per second

            Yep. I expect you guys will create a very elegant, efficient 3d driver which will perform very well. What I don't expect to see (and I doubt we can fund) is big lab full of people and systems constantly benchmarking and performance tuning drivers to keep the driver "positioned" ideally for the currently popular games and applications. That last bit of performance and compatibility is very expensive. The problem is that in the Windows world (and the Linux workstation world) that 20% performance delta makes the difference between sell and no-sell.

            Originally posted by glisse View Post
            I think that AMD is mostly hidding stuff like performances registers which are helpfull only if you got this large crew of engineers i was talking about. And if you look at released spec you can often spot gap here and their and from context make wild guess and with little more effort find out what is missing.
            Yep, and even there we want to open most of that up as well, just decided to hack it out of the initial docs so we didn't have to wait for going through the risk analysis. We opened up a lot of the performance and debug registers on 5xx (at least I think we did; I haven't actually gone through them in detail myself); we're mostly trying to hold back stuff related to things that might be useful for attacking DRM on a Windows system.
            Last edited by bridgman; 06-07-2008, 06:23 PM.

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            • #36
              I just wanted say finally that I appreciate everything you guys are doing at ATi. The situation may not be ideal today, but it is certainly better now then it ever was in the past... I guess you could call me a bit of a zealot. I'm sorry for being so outspoken. I dont mean to offend anyone, and if that has happened I am truly sorry.

              I think that ATi is severely misguided in it's closed source efforts, but I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for your open source efforts. You could take it a bit further (alot further actually) if you wanted to, but what you have already done is toitally awesome....

              And you personally have been incredible.. How many other people do you know that would be willing to take this much badgering on an open forum? How many other people do you know that actually takes the time to talk with the community and help explain some of the difficult concepts of the industry? If anything we need more people like you in this industry.. ATi has already shown that they have what it takes to make a kick ass open source effort. They are in second gear now, but they need to hit the gas and switch to forth gear.

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              • #37
                "Did you ever noticed that today industry focus is on power management ? Everywhere you see the paradigm of watt efficiency. The competition is now on delivering more computational power while consuming less watt. So obviously power management is sensitive, any trick AMD use can be an advantage over others constructors"

                Im not asking for implementation details, im asking for how to issue GO_INTO_POWERSAVE().

                "In the end i am sure that the open source driver will be somewhere around 80%-90% of speed of the closed source one. And as we will limit the rendering to the refresh rate if the 10% gap is just frame you can't see then as a result we will be on pair with the closed one. For me this doesn't look like a 2 class citizen "
                This to me is not second class citizen either, however, i do consider not knowing about hardware features a second class citizen.

                "I think that AMD is mostly hidding stuff like performances registers which are helpfull only if you got this large crew of engineers i was talking about. And if you look at released spec you can often spot gap here and their and from context make wild guess and with little more effort find out what is missing."
                but why not release it then?



                "The problem is that in the Windows world (and the Linux workstation world) that 20% performance delta makes the difference between sell and no-sell."
                Dont mind me saying so, but i dont quite think you've done your research properly around what will give you most sales.

                First off, the "workstation" linux graphics market are an insanely very little part of what ati sells to linux users compared to desktops, and for "normal" linux users, that <=20% performance loss there MAY arise from us not having as big driver teams, doesent matter at all, even linux gamers wont mind, what they almost certainly would wish ALOT more, is that what little ressources AMD can devote to the free linux drivers, gets done, who knows, if 1-2 devs at AMD could work fulltime on the free drivers, it may close the gap to 10% or so, this would undoubtedly get you sold alot more pieces of hardware to linux users, than a few firegl cards(even despite the insane price they have, it should give more profit).

                And remember, performance isnt only about speed, but stability too, and this is where opensource outperforms the closed solutions by a factor 100000.

                You may well do speed benchmarks on your windows drivers, assuring your users of 10-20% more performance, but it comes at a price of about 1000 times more instability(dont deny it, you would be terrified if you were in a hospital, and the computer the doctors used to monitor your situation used fglrx) and THIS is a major factor.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by duby229 View Post
                  I just wanted say finally that I appreciate everything you guys are doing at ATi. The situation may not be ideal today, but it is certainly better now then it ever was in the past... I guess you could call me a bit of a zealot. I'm sorry for being so outspoken. I dont mean to offend anyone, and if that has happened I am truly sorry.
                  Thanks. I find this is the best way for me to learn. It's no fun if everyone agrees on everything

                  Don't worry about pushing hard; it does help sometimes. I don't disagree with anything you are saying, but it sure would be nice if I could get a "workstation zealot" on the forum at the same time to argue the other side of the story so it didn't sound like I was just spouting ATI/AMD dogma.

                  This is a tricky environment, and I think you do speak for most of the Linux users today, and I do understand that our closed source efforts are of very little interest to you (in fact are probably a constant source of irritation). There are a couple of transitions we need to get through before everyone will be happy though..

                  1. We need to finish "catching up" on the open source drivers, to the point where we have decent 2d, 3d and video on all our shipping chips. At that point the focus can shift from "supporting the xxx chip" to "making the open source driver better".

                  I don't think we'll quite be caught up before the next generation of GPUs starts shipping but it will be close; and we're already making plans for the next generation.

                  The open source community is not big but there are some *really* good people working on the drivers. You know who you are

                  2. We need our customers to bump around until they are using the driver which is most appropriate for their needs.

                  Right now I cringe when I see people who really should be using the open source driver bang their heads against fglrx every month, and people who should be using fglrx stuck using an open source driver because of some distro or installer quirk.

                  I think this should all shake out over the next few months and I'm hoping to see a big jump in the "happy user index".
                  Last edited by bridgman; 06-07-2008, 07:53 PM.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Redeeman View Post
                    Im not asking for implementation details, im asking for how to issue GO_INTO_POWERSAVE().
                    If you mean "use less power but don't run as fast", that's no problem and I'm sure we will be able to release that. What I'm not so sure about is releasing enough information to match what our closed source driver can do, using Windows for a reference because we're still turning on PowerPlay in the Linux driver bit by bit.

                    PowerPlay is maybe two orders of magnitude more complex than just going into low power mode, and it is woven all through every part of the driver. You can a fair bit of the power savings with a simple GO_INTO_POWERSAVE() but that won't be enough to match what the closed source driver can do.

                    Originally posted by Redeeman View Post
                    but why not release it (full performance info) then?
                    Simple. We had to choose between releasing most of the information quickly or all of the information a lot later. We figured that getting 95% of the informnation out quickly was best; we do expect to go back and fill in gaps.

                    Originally posted by Redeeman View Post
                    Dont mind me saying so, but i dont quite think you've done your research properly around what will give you most sales. First off, the "workstation" linux graphics market are an insanely very little part of what ati sells to linux users compared to desktops, and for "normal" linux users, that <=20% performance loss there MAY arise from us not having as big driver teams, doesent matter at all, even linux gamers wont mind, what they almost certainly would wish ALOT more, is that what little ressources AMD can devote to the free linux drivers, gets done, who knows, if 1-2 devs at AMD could work fulltime on the free drivers, it may close the gap to 10% or so, this would undoubtedly get you sold alot more pieces of hardware to linux users, than a few firegl cards(even despite the insane price they have, it should give more profit).
                    Actually Linux market penetration seems to be a lot higher in workstation than in consumer desktop; not quite midway between consumer desktop and server but enough that workstation is much more significant than you might think.

                    Originally posted by Redeeman View Post
                    And remember, performance isnt only about speed, but stability too, and this is where opensource outperforms the closed solutions by a factor 100000.
                    This is hotly debated. Stability seems to be a function of complexity and resources available, ie one reason the open source drivers appear more stable is that they don't try to do as much. As we complete the move from largely Linux-specific code to largely common code I think you will see most of the remaining stability issues go away.

                    Originally posted by Redeeman View Post
                    You may well do speed benchmarks on your windows drivers, assuring your users of 10-20% more performance, but it comes at a price of about 1000 times more instability(dont deny it, you would be terrified if you were in a hospital, and the computer the doctors used to monitor your situation used fglrx) and THIS is a major factor.
                    Are you actually seeing that today ? Most of the issues I have seen are primarily related to bits of functionality which were lost or changed during the transition from the old OpenGL code base to the new one. If you take AGP systems out of the equation (AGP brings a host of other stability challenges) the new driver *seems* to be pretty stable today.

                    One important point here -- if the driver simply doesn't start up on a specific configuration I would not call that a stability issue, would you ?
                    Last edited by bridgman; 06-07-2008, 07:23 PM.

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                    • #40
                      but the thing about "workstation zealots" is, if you consider linux users a small minority, the workstation users in that minority, is an extremely TIINNNYY minority, and even they will be best served with the open drivers, whether they know it or not
                      (thats right, when fglrx doesent even set proper resolution, and highly paid engineers sits mangling with xorg.conf and crap, that really costs, much more than a few percent in speed).

                      As for fglrx, i consider it to be largely useless in its current state. As i see it right now, you can NOT go out, purchase a given ati card, and be reasonably certain it will work. Sure, at some point it will work with the free drivers, which is good, but if one is shopping for a card right now, it HAS to be an old one, or an nvidia one, there is no other way, if one wants 3d - which again points in the direction of - THE FREE DRIVERS! they are simply needed, as its abundantly apparent that amd is unable to provider working closed drivers.

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                      • #41
                        "Simple. We had to choose between releasing most of the information quickly or all of the information a lot later. We figured that getting 95% of the informnation out quickly was best; we do expect to go back and fill in gaps."
                        Then we agree, this is the way to do things.

                        "Actually Linux market penetration seems to be a lot higher in workstation than in consumer desktop; not quite midway between consumer desktop and server but enough that workstation is much more significant than you might think. "
                        well, if it is so significant, then it stands to reason that the open source drivers should get alot more attention.

                        "This is hotly debated. Stability seems to be a function of complexity and resources available, ie one reason the open source drivers appear more stable is that they don't try to do as much. As we complete the move from largely Linux-specific code to largely common code I think you will see most of the remaining stability issues go away. "
                        i seem to recall that 25% of vista crashes is caused by ATI driver, around 40% by nvidia driver.. thats a hell of alot of crashes, now being woven into Linux.

                        Also, i do not believe you are correct about the "opensource drivers are more stable because it does less", linux, apache, hell, virtually all of the free software stack, proves otherwise.

                        "Are you actually seeing that today ? Most of the issues I have seen are primarily related to bits of functionality which were lost or changed during the transition from the old OpenGL code base to the new one. If you take AGP systems out of the equation (AGP brings a host of other stability challenges) the new driver *seems* to be pretty stable today. "
                        If you happen to run some magic SLED combination of patched weird versions of software.. I do not.
                        I do however find it relatively disturbing that it sets incorrect resolution, seems to be left in weird broken states by wine after it closes, requiring me to execute another opengl all (most seem to work, and then "correct" the issue). Video is still completely broken and useless in fglrx, and this is not just me having this issue.

                        " One important point here -- if the driver simply doesn't start up on a specific configuration I would not call that a stability issue, would you ?" No, however i do find it to be of a very big concern, the amount of times "THIS" issue comes up, seriously, if you buy 10 pc's, install ubuntu, gentoo, sled, fedora, rhel, arch, debian, opensuse, slackware, mandriva. One distribution on each PC.

                        Then insert an nvidia OLD to NEW card, and try the driver, i think you will find that their closed driver will work on all of them, without problems(well, except for the lousy quality of their driver), but now insert an old (say.. X300) to new (Say, 3870, let alone the X2's) in them, and attempt fglrx, well.. you are maybe looking at it working on 1 or 2 without tinkering, after tinkering, maybe 5 or 8, and 2 of them flat out not working with fglrx. This isnt a stability issue, but a serious compatiblity issue nonetheless, something the free driver will completely remove.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Redeeman View Post
                          but the thing about "workstation zealots" is, if you consider linux users a small minority, the workstation users in that minority, is an extremely TIINNNYY minority, and even they will be best served with the open drivers, whether they know it or not
                          (thats right, when fglrx doesent even set proper resolution, and highly paid engineers sits mangling with xorg.conf and crap, that really costs, much more than a few percent in speed).
                          The only point I would make here is that if you had bought a workstation (FireGL) card and plugged it into a PC running one of the supported distributions and ran a typical mix of workstation applications there's an extremely good chance that it *would* have worked very well. We included IDs for consumer cards but most of the testing was on workstation cards and apps.

                          What we started last fall was trying to extend that same support to consumer users, with a wider range of cards and distributions. Right now we're ramping up coverage on Ubuntu, for example.

                          Last time I looked at the numbers, if you considered market size, % using Linux, typical selling price, typical margin, and tendency to buy a new board rather than use retired HW from another system, workstation ended up at a bit over half of the total Linux desktop market (I'm not counting server here). I will take a fresh look at the numbers though...

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Redeeman View Post
                            If you happen to run some magic SLED combination of patched weird versions of software.. I do not.
                            Well, not so much "patched wierd versions" as much as the "out of the box" versions our typical workstation customers run, but I understand your point

                            Originally posted by Redeeman View Post
                            I do however find it relatively disturbing that it sets incorrect resolution, seems to be left in weird broken states by wine after it closes, requiring me to execute another opengl all (most seem to work, and then "correct" the issue).
                            Did we ever get an X log from your system ? That incorrect resolution sounds like a bad EDID read or something.

                            Originally posted by Redeeman View Post
                            Video is still completely broken and useless in fglrx, and this is not just me having this issue.
                            What problems are you seeing with video these days ? The only one I'm seeing still is the video rendering figthing with conmpiz, resulting in flicker.

                            Originally posted by Redeeman View Post
                            No, however i do find it to be of a very big concern, the amount of times "THIS" issue comes up, seriously, if you buy 10 pc's, install ubuntu, gentoo, sled, fedora, rhel, arch, debian, opensuse, slackware, mandriva. One distribution on each PC. Then insert an nvidia OLD to NEW card, and try the driver, i think you will find that their closed driver will work on all of them, without problems(well, except for the lousy quality of their driver), but now insert an old (say.. X300) to new (Say, 3870, let alone the X2's) in them, and attempt fglrx, well.. you are maybe looking at it working on 1 or 2 without tinkering, after tinkering, maybe 5 or 8, and 2 of them flat out not working with fglrx. This isnt a stability issue, but a serious compatiblity issue nonetheless, something the free driver will completely remove.
                            Agreed. Right now NVidia has a larger list of supported distros than we do. We can also fix this by testing on more distros and continuing to refine the install/packaging system, which is what we are starting to do now.

                            I think you're also suggesting that you install the driver once then plug in different cards, rather than having the driver install on the card you plan to run with. Is that correct ?

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                              The only point I would make here is that if you had bought a workstation (FireGL) card and plugged it into a PC running one of the supported distributions and ran a typical mix of workstation applications there's an extremely good chance that it *would* have worked very well. We included IDs for consumer cards but most of the testing was on workstation cards and apps.

                              What we started last fall was trying to extend that same support to consumer users, with a wider range of cards and distributions. Right now we're ramping up coverage on Ubuntu, for example.

                              Last time I looked at the numbers, if you considered market size, % using Linux, typical selling price, typical margin, and tendency to buy a new board rather than use retired HW from another system, workstation ended up at a bit over half of the total Linux desktop market (I'm not counting server here). I will take a fresh look at the numbers though...
                              The problem is that your looking at a catch 22 here.... Before ATi started this new code base, ATi users were stuck with 9250 Pros or less in order to get decent compatibility and performance. It wasnt until late last year when R300 and R400 started getting decent performance, and they still have a ways to go. R500 support was just announced this week, and R600 is just starting to be worked on...

                              The bottom line is that you need to have decent drivers before you'll sell the hardware, and all of the numbers you have are based on the --need-- for older hardware.

                              I think you basing critical decisions on faulty information.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                It's possible. I was told that the numbers were based on available market (ie all vendors combined) not just what we were selling, but I'll check. We can tap into marketing info for the CPU side of the business as well now, so that should also help.

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