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If You Forgot, S3 Graphics Does Linux Drivers Too

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  • If You Forgot, S3 Graphics Does Linux Drivers Too

    Phoronix: If You Forgot, S3 Graphics Does Linux Drivers Too

    Last night when checking to see if VIA has made any open-source / Linux progress that went unnoticed (they haven't), that also led me to see what S3 Graphics is up to these days. S3 Graphics doesn't back any open-source driver strategy and they don't have many GPUs on the market, but their binary Linux driver claims to support OpenGL 3, VDPAU, and even kernel mode-setting since last year...

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

  • #2
    You seem to be talking like they are doing it bad, I think that already providing all that is a LOT and that it's only disadvantage is not supporting up to date distributions, I know they should give open source driver, but this is a good thing and we should be happy about it.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by damipereira View Post
      You seem to be talking like they are doing it bad, I think that already providing all that is a LOT and that it's only disadvantage is not supporting up to date distributions, I know they should give open source driver, but this is a good thing and we should be happy about it.
      I'd be much happier if explicitly gave permission to use S3TC in open source software without license fees. Far less work than creating a driver with a far greater impact on the open source community.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by damipereira View Post
        You seem to be talking like they are doing it bad, I think that already providing all that is a LOT and that it's only disadvantage is not supporting up to date distributions, I know they should give open source driver, but this is a good thing and we should be happy about it.
        What you are saying is, "if you bought a machine with a S3 GPU, you are basically screwed." Why should we be happy about that?

        I'd be much happier if explicitly gave permission to use S3TC in open source software without license fees. Far less work than creating a driver with a far greater impact on the open source community.
        Thumbs up.

        Unfortunately, this will never happen. S3 makes a lot of money out of this patent and will milk it to death (unless it folds and someone more OSS-friendly buys it - which is rather unlikely).

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        • #5
          Originally posted by BlackStar View Post
          What you are saying is, "if you bought a machine with a S3 GPU, you are basically screwed." Why should we be happy about that?
          I've never said that ,I've only read this article and AFAIK it support vdpau and opengl 3, this in my opinion is already very good, being able to use video acceleration and new games is a good thing I don't know what you mean by basically screwed, you won't be able to use lastest distribution maybe, but at least You should be able to see videos on a low profile pc, I think everyone is too negative, maybe I'm wrong, I do think that it would be nice to have opensource drivers, but I also think this is MUCH better than nothing and is something to celebrate.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by damipereira View Post
            I've never said that ,I've only read this article and AFAIK it support vdpau and opengl 3, this in my opinion is already very good, being able to use video acceleration and new games is a good thing I don't know what you mean by basically screwed, you won't be able to use lastest distribution maybe, but at least You should be able to see videos on a low profile pc, I think everyone is too negative, maybe I'm wrong, I do think that it would be nice to have opensource drivers, but I also think this is MUCH better than nothing and is something to celebrate.
            One driver update per year and no new distro support == evolutionary dead end.

            It may support GL3, but does it support 3.1, 3.2 or 3.3? Will it ever gain that support? What about future versions? What if you discover a driver bug?

            And what if you ever wish to upgrade your distro to use some useful new feature (say, new Firefox, KDE 4.6 / Gnome 3 / Unity / whatever)?

            The blob actually ties you down to a specific configuration like an anchor. I wouldn't like to be stuck in such a situation (and cannot in good faith recommend such hardware to others).

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            • #7
              Originally posted by BlackStar View Post
              One driver update per year and no new distro support == evolutionary dead end.
              Except this is fine for many businesses and organisations that stick with older, stable distribution releases for ages and when they update, they never update to the most recent release. It's only a pain for the personal users who use the most recent releases.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ad_267 View Post
                Except this is fine for many businesses and organisations that stick with older, stable distribution releases for ages and when they update, they never update to the most recent release. It's only a pain for the personal users who use the most recent releases.
                Somehow I doubt that those businesses would buy S3 GPUs. As in, really really doubt.

                Businesses are either content with Intel IGPs or they will go with discrete Nvidia Quadros. AMD also has a (small but growing) presence on this market. S3, simply put, doesn't.

                Edit: to clarify, businesses don't require GL3 or VDPAU. (And if they use GL3, they've already gone Nvidia, closed deal.)

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                • #9
                  Nano DC

                  This got rather interesting recently with AMD's Zacate (E-350) and VIA's Nano dualcore imminent releases ahead. Benchmarks at Anandtech showing better CPU performance for Nano DC and better GPU performance for Zacate. Apparently there is a Chrome 5xx in Nano DC. However, linux support will undoubtedly excell with E-350. Nano DC also has some sort of HD video acceleration that might get VDPAU-ed sooner than E-350's. Tempting, tempting...

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                  • #10
                    Wait, a binary module supporting KMS? Can we say violation of the GPL?

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                    • #11
                      To paraphrase the title...

                      If You Forgot, S3 Graphics Holds Back Gaming On Open Drivers Too.

                      (a lot of games do not work without S3TC)

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BlackStar View Post
                        Unfortunately, this will never happen. S3 makes a lot of money out of this patent and will milk it to death (unless it folds and someone more OSS-friendly buys it - which is rather unlikely).
                        What they could do is to follow what IBM did with a number of its patents a while back and allow free use of the patent but ONLY in software that is GPL/open source. Hardware vendors (who aren't exactly going to GPL the hardware designs for their GPUs) and those producing closed-source drivers for any platform still have to pay.

                        Good PR boost with likely little-to-no loss of revenue if I understand what S3TC is and how its used (most people writing OSS drivers and supporting S3TC arent exactly paying S3 for it and those using S3TC in their hardware or closed-source drivers aren't suddenly going to go open source just so they can take advantage of a patent license)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jonwil View Post
                          What they could do is to follow what IBM did with a number of its patents a while back and allow free use of the patent but ONLY in software that is GPL/open source. Hardware vendors (who aren't exactly going to GPL the hardware designs for their GPUs) and those producing closed-source drivers for any platform still have to pay.

                          Good PR boost with likely little-to-no loss of revenue if I understand what S3TC is and how its used (most people writing OSS drivers and supporting S3TC arent exactly paying S3 for it and those using S3TC in their hardware or closed-source drivers aren't suddenly going to go open source just so they can take advantage of a patent license)
                          Yes, that would solve the issue neatly and generate free publicity for S3.

                          Unfortunately, S3 is one of "those companies" that would rather die than have anything to do with open-source software.

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                          • #14
                            S3 still make graphics chipsets?

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                            • #15
                              today i got an 'VIA VN800' based notebook for free,,.

                              now i unterstand how bad via/s3 really are...

                              kubuntu 11.04 starts on 1600x1200 vesa mode but the notebook can only handle 1200x800

                              and if i chance the resolution in the kde controll center the screen corrupts.

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