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ARM: This Open-Source Stack Will Only Grow Louder

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  • ARM: This Open-Source Stack Will Only Grow Louder

    Phoronix: ARM: This Open-Source Stack Will Only Grow Louder

    Luc Verhaegen has warned ARM that his Lima graphics driver project will only "grow louder and louder" as its performance becomes more competitive with their closed-source Mali graphics driver and eventually may reach (or surpass) feature parity...

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

  • #2
    I Betcha

    I betcha the ARM folks couldn't open up that driver, even if they wanted to. I betcha they paid someone else to write it, and part of the contract was that the code would forever remain closed. There's a consultant lying on a beach somewhere, enjoying the sun and enjoying the fact that their code can never be used to help anyone else. I know consultants like this, they would give up their own children for adoption before they would allow their code to be open-sourced.

    I betcha Nvidia and AMD both have the same problem with their drivers, too.

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    • #3
      Huh? AMD actively supports the development of the open source radeon driver. And Nvidia at least does not fight nouveau. Opening up the proprietary drivers was not suggested by any sane person.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by varikonniemi
        If any of these multibillion dollar corporations had ANY REAL interest in Linux, we would have OGL 4.3 compatible open drivers on the market the same day the spec was finalized.
        Um, no? Just the interest in Linux on the desktop is very low, which is why we are not seeing many resources thrown at it. But I do think that companies are already receiving the punishment. For example, what is keeping AMD out of Chromebooks (apart from Google being special friends with Intel)? From what I can tell, only the lack of video decode acceleration and proper power management in the open source radeon driver.

        Originally posted by varikonniemi
        This is the REAL reason why open source is seen as a threat, and why no company ever has really put effort into that sector, maybe excluding google.
        More than 10 years ago, IBM invested $1 billion in Linux http://news.cnet.com/2100-1001-249750.html

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        • #5
          Originally posted by chithanh View Post
          More than 10 years ago, IBM invested $1 billion in Linux http://news.cnet.com/2100-1001-249750.html
          You are correct, at the time 1 Billion was surely seen as an reasonably large investment. I am sure it has paid out well for them when you compare the Linux then to Linux now. I should not have forgot them.

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          • #6
            Now if only those rumors that Samsung is switching to PowerVR (at least for one chip) wouldn't be true. That would be quite disappointing, and it would make Mali graphics a lot less popular, while ensuring a monopoly for Imagination's GPU's in the mobile market.

            If ARM does this, and embraces the open source driver, that would actually get people to ask Samsung and other manufacturers to start using Mali graphics. At this point ARM can NOT AFFORD not to do this, and it makes business sense for them to do it.

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            • #7
              I didn't understand the point of verhagen's quote until the last statement. But, if he's so sure that he can outperform the closed source drivers, why does he care to join? For a paycheck (which is fine I'm not against the guy being paid)?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by chithanh View Post
                Huh? AMD actively supports the development of the open source radeon driver. And Nvidia at least does not fight nouveau. Opening up the proprietary drivers was not suggested by any sane person.
                As many of the components of AMD's and nVidia's GPUs are from 3rd parties and that the programming specs for these components are most likely under an NDA thus making it harder for the proprietary drivers to be opened. AMD has done a decent job considering the time spent sanitizing documentation of 3rd party IP as well as reviewing code.

                Lima may well be considered the "Nouveau" of the opensource stack...and hopefully soon it (and Nouveau) reaches or exceeds parity with the closed driver

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                • #9
                  Anticipation

                  I can hardly wait till this driver reaches the point where I can boot my set top box into Linux (instead of Android) and actually have decent video acceleration. Not that I will forsake Android altogether (I like my Android Netflix, YouTube, DailyMotion, Vimeo, and other video streaming apps on my TV), but I would really like to have all the options of ARM Gnu/Linux as well.

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                  • #10
                    A bit off topic, but still similar to op....

                    Yeah I have gentoo installed and booted on my evo4g right now and the one big thing missing is graphics. If this chip does get decent drivers I'll be damn sure that my next phone has it.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by duby229 View Post
                      A bit off topic, but still similar to op....

                      Yeah I have gentoo installed and booted on my evo4g right now and the one big thing missing is graphics. If this chip does get decent drivers I'll be damn sure that my next phone has it.
                      Next phone should be one that's Linux friendly. I would love my beloved Debian on a phone and maybe dual boot it with Android

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Krysto View Post
                        Now if only those rumors that Samsung is switching to PowerVR (at least for one chip) wouldn't be true. That would be quite disappointing, and it would make Mali graphics a lot less popular, while ensuring a monopoly for Imagination's GPU's in the mobile market.

                        If ARM does this, and embraces the open source driver, that would actually get people to ask Samsung and other manufacturers to start using Mali graphics. At this point ARM can NOT AFFORD not to do this, and it makes business sense for them to do it.
                        You mean for their own chips? Because all of the best samsung phones use Qualcomm SoC's (Adreno).

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by chithanh View Post
                          Huh? AMD actively supports the development of the open source radeon driver..
                          Yeah, NOW they do. When those contracts were signed, AMD was not in the picture. It was ATI management, and look what happened to them.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
                            You mean for their own chips? Because all of the best samsung phones use Qualcomm SoC's (Adreno).
                            That's just an artifact of the technology cycles. samsung is aggressively moving into arm and they are perfectly capable of making chips like this. they decide on a case by case basis whether it is more expedient to build or buy for any particular product. Remember samsung is a really enormous company with almost unlimited resources. they have the working capital and the sheer size to dominate the arm market if they have a mind to. They could produce millions and millions of arm chips every year without selling any of them, they can just put them in their other products like their phones and their washing machines and their production machinery.
                            Last edited by frantaylor; 02-14-2013, 03:06 PM.

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                            • #15
                              It's gonna take a fresh new design to get this new driver to take off. Nobody is going to try to shoehorn it into their existing products, it needs to get inserted into the product cycle at a very early point which means it's going to be a while (maybe quite a while) before you see any products with this new driver.

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