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  • VIA's Open-Source Efforts A Bluff?

    Phoronix: VIA's Open-Source Efforts A Bluff?

    Last month we reported on VIA's new open-source driver efforts that was announced at the LF Austin Summit. This new strategy involves VIA providing the open-source community with NDA-free hardware specifications, code, and other resources -- in a similar fashion to what ATI/AMD and Intel have been doing for some time now. However, not everyone has been satisfied by this announcement and their new Linux website isn't yet exactly useful. We explore the VIA Linux situation in this article as well as sharing what two open-source developers have to say.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=12316

  • #2
    Their "portal" as it is now, is utterly ridiculous…
    It's weird that some companies make so little effort to improve software support for their unique hardware features. The C7 processor was launched 3 years ago, and none of the few patches adding support for its hardware crypto features come from VIA. As a result, I bet a lot of those who bought a C7 to build a VPN box or SSLed webserver are not doing crypto in hardware. I sure hope they'll do better with their upcoming Isaiah processor.

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    • #3
      VIA has never had a good track record with anything they have produced, and an even worse record when it comes to supporting their own products. I remember a few years back I was looking for some documentation from them for the icensemble Envy24 chips and they replied back with something like "We don't know where that documentation would be." I got the same thing a few years earlier with the S3 Savage.

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      • #4
        VIA's strategy is to make products cheaply to its own standards, sell massive amounts to OEM's at bargain-bin prices (or to end-users at inflated prices), offer very little support for those products, and not cooperate with any individual or enterprise that might be perceived as competition.

        If VIA had any value, it would have been taken over for its patents and licenses a long time ago. Now, in their time of desperate need, they turn to nVidia, of all companies, to compete with Intel.

        I'm glad I'm a cynic, because this is hilarious.

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        • #5
          Creating a website for their open source efforts and then putting some binary drivers on it is a slap into the face of everyone that loves free software. It's a joke. They could have at least said, okay it will take x months before we have our stuff sorted out and can provide you with documentation/code. Nobody would have complained and everyone would have waited in anticipation. It would have been a big party, now we thought there was a party, we went there but we were duped and left with sad empty expressions on our faces.

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          • #6
            Well, I guess it's still more then what Epic has done.

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            • #7
              When i follow the link to via arena i see several source packages
              including sources for the unichrome. Isn't this, what graphics driver
              developers need apart from some accompaning documentation?

              Btw the docs for the envy24 has been available through the
              alsa ftp site since the year 2000...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by phoronix View Post
                Phoronix: VIA's Open-Source Efforts A Bluff?
                So far, VIA Technologies has yet to publish any new technical documentation or source-code.
                http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=12316
                What? There's "Source" on the legacy page right here:
                http://www.viaarena.com/default.aspx?PageID=2
                Are you telling me that's just been added?

                More specifically, right here

                All that there is worthless, is that what you're saying?

                Mind you I've not examined all the tarballs, however I do see network controller source code, Full Via HD Audio source code ALSA tree, console framebuffer source code for Chrome 9, and Full 2D + 3D + DRM + XvMC + Utility source code for Savage DDR.

                Was all of this already published or

                EDIT: Also noticed that there is full source code released for UniChrome based against XOrg 4.x and dated December 2007, with support for 2D, 3D, TV-Out, hardware video mpeg2/4 and hardware video overlay (and includes support for P4M900 VIA Chrome9™ integrated graphics).
                Last edited by edged; 05-03-2008, 11:08 AM. Reason: Info

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                • #9
                  http://zerias.blogspot.com/2008/04/v...n-license.html

                  Can't say I'm surprised at Via.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by edged View Post
                    What? There's "Source" on the legacy page right here:
                    http://www.viaarena.com/default.aspx?PageID=2
                    Are you telling me that's just been added?

                    More specifically, right here







                    All that there is worthless, is that what you're saying?

                    Mind you I've not examined all the tarballs, however I do see network controller source code, Full Via HD Audio source code ALSA tree, console framebuffer source code for Chrome 9, and Full 2D + 3D + DRM + XvMC + Utility source code for Savage DDR.

                    Was all of this already published or

                    EDIT: Also noticed that there is full source code released for UniChrome based against XOrg 4.x and dated December 2007, with support for 2D, 3D, TV-Out, hardware video mpeg2/4 and hardware video overlay (and includes support for P4M900 VIA Chrome9 integrated graphics).

                    The problem is, it's spotty. Yes, there are the graphics drivers, although you'll need to run their patched mplayer as root to use XvMC. Yes, there is the source code. Now, where are the XvMC patches to make MPEG4 (just DivX) work? Ohh. Where's the VIA patches to ALSA? Ohh. Where's the VIA devs talking to the OpenChrome people? Ohh. ATi (or do we call them AMD these days?) are talking to the community as are Intel, VIA are sat there going "well come on, do it our way".

                    It doesn't work like that, VIA need to start playing their part in the community, nobody wants their version of mplayer or their version of UniChrome... they want the xf86-driver/unichrome to have VIA's code in it, supported by VIA and so on and so forth.

                    To be honest the complaint most seem to be leveling at them is the same as is not leveled at Nvidia: Ok. That drivers nice, now why don't you start adding that functionality to the kernel and nv driver eh? Exactly like Intel and AMD/ATi are doing.

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                    • #11
                      As an owner of a Via system I REALLY hope that they are genuine in their most recent commitment and are just being slow. I would love to have a fully functional system with an Isaiah processor. If their level of support remains the same, I won't be buying another

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Max Spain View Post
                        As an owner of a Via system I REALLY hope that they are genuine in their most recent commitment and are just being slow. I would love to have a fully functional system with an Isaiah processor. If their level of support remains the same, I won't be buying another

                        I hope they do as well. Although, I've just had an EPIA MII 10K die on me due to duff capacitors (which apparently is the norm)... so I'm not about to vouch for their quality... just the quantity.

                        TBH though, with the strides Intel have made I'd wager a Core 2 Vs a C7 or Isaiah would have very little difference between them in terms of power usage... the Core (especially the mobile versions) can be very frugal when it wants to be. Of course you'll usually find the Core 2 bolted to massive disks and gigantic GFX cards which tend to skew things somewhat

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                        • #13
                          And this is exactly what makes it a shame about the HP mini-note,

                          Suse looks and runs very average on the HP, And there is a shocking video of the Unichrome graphics running compiz on youtube. Via have some serious support to fix if they are going to fight off up and coming intel and AMD low power processors of the next 12 months.

                          Its a shame because when i heard about them opening up, i thought great! there will be usable drivers up and going within a few months, i can still buy the HP. Looks like a Asus Eee 900 will be in my future.

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                          • #14
                            @SarahKH
                            While I can see where you're coming from and agree with some of what you've said, my issue is with the article. As far as what you've said, I'm not sure what you mean about ALSA code (their full tree with all source code for their HD AUDIO is in my previous post actually), and as a previous poster has pointed out they already gave away what was needed for Envy24 (years ago in fact). Also, please keep in mind you are comparing a company with less than ~2000 employees (VIA) to AMD who has roughly TEN TIMES that, while Intel has approx. FOUR TIMES as many employess as AMD.

                            First of all the article says, "with a few other drivers but all in their binary form", however as I've clearly pointed out in my previous post there is full source code for VIA HD audio as well as full source code for LAN components.

                            This PHORONIX article was posted on May 2nd. Regardless of the LinuxFoundation summit (which only occured a few weeks ago when VIA's intentions were first announced), VIA's press release was issued April 30th on their own site, which clearly states their intent (emphasis added):

                            "The VIA Linux Portal will initially offer graphics drivers for the VIA CN896 digital media IGP chipset for the new Ubuntu 8.04 LTS distribution. Documentation and source code for these drivers will be released over the coming weeks, with official forums and bug tracking scheduled for implementation later this year. The VIA Linux Portal will also adhere to a regular release schedule that is aligned with kernel changes and the release of major Linux distributions."

                            Seems like a clear case to me of what is actually going on with VIA. If you want to roast and baste VIA for not following through with their statements after-the-fact, then I've got no problem with that. While raising concern towards a company's motivations is not necessarily a bad thing (nor is referring to past related circumstances particularly wrong), it is however premature and in my fair opinion rather distasteful to print such a thing.
                            Last edited by edged; 05-05-2008, 01:48 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by edged View Post
                              they already gave away what was needed for Envy24 (years ago in fact).
                              The documentation is incomplete. I am quite aware of what was released.

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