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The Fallacy Behind Open-Source GPU Drivers, Documentation

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  • #16
    The article seems more like a blog entry than news. But anyway, what about a mentor program sponsored by someone like Red Hat, etc?

    ...Where experienced developers offer direction and guidance. Where we have videos on how to get started. Where there are examples in what is good/accepted code submissions. Where there is a clear roadmap on where we are going. And so on.

    Mesa? Gallium? What's missing? What's needed?

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    • #17
      Mentoring goes on every day on the IRC channels; new developers get pretty good support and guidance. When patches get rejected the reason is usually architectural (hey that won't work in this case) rather than anything related to coding style or other goodness/badness.

      Here's a fair approximation of the roadmap (what's missing, what's needed) :

      http://cgit.freedesktop.org/mesa/mesa/tree/docs/GL3.txt

      It doesn't cover performance because the devs are still trying to work out what *is* needed.

      All of these things could be improved but doing more takes developers away from the improvements that users want, so the current level of documentation is intended to be roughly optimal given the (relatively small) number of people with solid programming background and enough time to invest. There is no documentation in the world that will make high performance GPU programming easy, unfortunately...

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      • #18
        Originally posted by phoronix View Post
        Phoronix: The Fallacy Behind Open-Source GPU Drivers, Documentation

        One of the points that Linux users commonly say in lobbying hardware vendors to provide open-source drivers and/or documentation -- particularly for GPU drivers -- is that the open-source community will take the released code or documents and from there develop it into a reliable, working open-source Linux driver. However, that isn't exactly true...

        http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=ODk5MA
        Build it and they will come.

        Seriously, you cannot really get people interested in doing this if there is no code available for some. Different people have different interests and just the fact that there exist open source projects does not mean that they will contribute to them. They need to be interested in the project first. Getting your hardware to work is a major motivator, but that cannot be readily done without information from VIA.

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        • #19
          Good article - that kind of self-criticism is too rare in the OSS scene.

          Another example of missing man power is the continued lack of an VDPAU state tracker - there's nothing stopping people from doing it, no extra documentation is required (afaik). There's now even Christian König's excellent work for XvMC there to learn the basic howtos from. The API is well proven and a plethora of testing client apps is present. The potential fame and glory to gain is almost immeasurable - yet, no such thing going on and on @mythtv-users you don't even read the word AMD anymore these days...

          But then again, we all have to admit, its also free as in free beer and so we have to accept it the way it is.

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          • #20
            Needed to be said. Documentation is great (it really is), but it's not the be-all and end-all. Sometimes it works out great, especially for simpler hardware, but graphics are a daunting task.

            That's why I truly admire the nouveau developers. When I first heard of the project years ago, I thought "very interesting project, but probably not going too far" -- how glad I am now that I was entirely wrong.

            So kudos to the few Xorg and open Xorg drivers out there, I use your work every day and am very thankful for it

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            • #21
              Originally posted by phoronix View Post
              Phoronix: The Fallacy Behind Open-Source GPU Drivers, Documentation

              http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=ODk5MA
              The main problem is the lack of standardization. GFX cards should comply to a standard like USB mass storage. One driver to address all devices.

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              • #22
                Oh please, the article is right. Plus, as Bridgman said, the FOSS developers refuse assistance from AMD. They only want documentation. What a dumb ass move. They need all the help they can get. Instead of Bridgeman and his bunch working on basic primative support for a new card, they should be getting existing card's - such as my evergreen - fully working with full feature support.

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                • #23
                  Where can I learn how to create a GPU device driver for Linux?
                  I haven't found yet a good documentation on how to do this.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Mr James View Post
                    Oh please, the article is right. Plus, as Bridgman said, the FOSS developers refuse assistance from AMD. They only want documentation. What a dumb ass move. They need all the help they can get. Instead of Bridgeman and his bunch working on basic primative support for a new card, they should be getting existing card's - such as my evergreen - fully working with full feature support.
                    John didn't say anything like that. Additionally, we get help from John all the time, as well as other AMD employees: Alex maintains (!) the 2D radeon driver, and Richard and Cooper wrote the original classic r600 Mesa driver.

                    Here's a question: Why should anybody be working on your Evergreen when not all of the features of my old Rage 128 are supported?

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                    • #25
                      What can be done about it?

                      There should be a push to get the linux graphics situation to where we would like it to be. We need funding to get there, for this, see: http://fundry.com/project
                      Existing developers need to have more time to work on linux graphics or drivers, and they need time to mentor new developers who also need to be paid.

                      * There needs to be a clear roadmap of what work needs to be done to get all pieces together. I would define the goals like this:
                      - complete graphics drivers for the three biggest vendors: Ati,
                      Nvidia, Intel. Forget the rest for now. Features needed:
                      - same software architecture for all three, make a choice and
                      stick to it, say Gallium3d+GEM+vdpau etc.
                      - feature complete openGL upto latest version (4.1?)
                      - video acceleration based on the best api, say vdpau
                      - cuda and opencl support
                      - performance on par (no worse than say 80%) of the commercial
                      drivers

                      * Find all the missing or incomplete pieces to complete the goals.

                      * Find the people working on the various subsystems now.

                      * Work with those people and possibly their employers to organize an influx of new (paid) developers, to mentor them and direct them.

                      It is like some people building a house together, but their project got stuck. You want to help them finish it but not take it over completely.

                      You need someone with a clear overview of the situation, and credibility and some fame to do this. Something like Phoronix perhaps?

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by MostAwesomeDude View Post
                        John didn't say anything like that.
                        You calling me a liar? Yes he did say it, in my AMD bashing thread.

                        Originally posted by MostAwesomeDude View Post
                        Additionally, we get help from John all the time, as well as other AMD employees: Alex maintains (!) the 2D radeon driver, and Richard and Cooper wrote the original classic r600 Mesa driver.
                        Get help from....all the time...
                        Meaning they are not allowed to participate enough, yes? Only when you hit a dead end, yes?

                        Originally posted by MostAwesomeDude View Post
                        Here's a question: Why should anybody be working on your Evergreen when not all of the features of my old Rage 128 are supported?
                        Because most people (far as I know) are not using that card. Cards are getting obsolete without ever seeing proper support. That is my point. Take a look at the posted specs of users in the appdb.winehq.org for what people ARE using.
                        Besides, wasn't it your plan to have as much code shared between drivers of various cards? Your card and my card *should* be developing at the same rate.
                        Also it is a very normal thing for me to be bitching about evergreen support as it is my card.

                        Better luck in taking future pokes at me, man.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Mr James View Post
                          You calling me a liar? Yes he did say it, in my AMD bashing thread.



                          Get help from....all the time...
                          Meaning they are not allowed to participate enough, yes? Only when you hit a dead end, yes?



                          Because most people (far as I know) are not using that card. Cards are getting obsolete without ever seeing proper support. That is my point. Take a look at the posted specs of users in the appdb.winehq.org for what people ARE using.
                          Besides, wasn't it your plan to have as much code shared between drivers of various cards? Your card and my card *should* be developing at the same rate.
                          Also it is a very normal thing for me to be bitching about evergreen support as it is my card.

                          Better luck in taking future pokes at me, man.
                          I suggest you go back and re-read that thread - Bridgman never said anything of the sort.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Mr James View Post
                            <inane blathering>
                            You've been trolling awfully hard lately becuase you couldn't be arsed to verify that the hardware you purchased was supported in a way that was satisfying to you.

                            Tearing into the very people that you rely on to make that hardware work and making libellous statements about them is sure to help the situation, though!

                            Please go buy nvidia, install their blob, and be done with it already.

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                            • #29
                              the problem are distris who are leeching. Like Ubuntu.Novell, Redhat and Mandriva can't pay for everything.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Wyatt View Post
                                You've been trolling awfully hard lately becuase you couldn't be arsed to verify that the hardware you purchased was supported in a way that was satisfying to you.

                                Tearing into the very people that you rely on to make that hardware work and making libellous statements about them is sure to help the situation, though!

                                Please go buy nvidia, install their blob, and be done with it already.
                                Mr James is cute, isn't he? Or pathetic. Depending on the point of view.

                                Btw, my latest mobo has amd onboard graphics. I am contemplating to turn it on and connect an usused display I have standing around.

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