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Thread: The Fallacy Behind Open-Source GPU Drivers, Documentation

  1. #1
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    Default The Fallacy Behind Open-Source GPU Drivers, Documentation

    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

  2. #2
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    Well, yes and no. It's true that there's actually a relatively small number of people out there with the knowledge and interest to do graphics driver development.

    However, those people would almost certainly get results quicker if they weren't wasting time having to reverse-engineer the drivers. They spend time developing tools to probe the hardware, when NVidia and VIA and co already have all that information, if they'd only provide it.

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    At long last, it is revealed that the emperor has no clothes. I've been tired of seeing people say these kinds of things while the OS devs struggle to get even basic stuff working consistently despite taking years to do it. I'm not knocking the devs that we have, because they do work hard and get as much done as they can. But the drivers, and indeed the whole stack require a lot of people doing a lot of work, and we just don't have that. Compared to, say, even some subsystem of the Linux kernel, or an app in KDE, there are still yet fewer active devs working on X.org drivers, or the whole stack. And they don't have the time or manpower to get more people involved, or to clean up the code base to make it easier for newcomers. I don't know of a solution, but hopefully we can all start admitting that there really is a problem.

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    @siride what are you talkin bout?

    And this would somehow be better if the drivers were closed sourced... sure, sure they would.

    Companies can funnel money into an open source project just a closed one take red hat for example they are a quite successful company and contribute to just about every part of Linux.

    If every company were more like Red Hat this thread wouldn't exist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cb88 View Post
    @siride what are you talkin bout?

    And this would somehow be better if the drivers were closed sourced... sure, sure they would.
    It amazes me how quickly people construct false dichotomies and think that they've actually demolished an argument!

    Companies can funnel money into an open source project just a closed one take red hat for example they are a quite successful company and contribute to just about every part of Linux.

    If every company were more like Red Hat this thread wouldn't exist.
    Yes, I agree. It'd be nice to see these companies putting more money into X development. They've smartly spent most money on things that benefit servers and workstations (to a lesser degree). But if X had been brought up to speed years ago, it could have been a contender in the mobile market, at least more than it is now, and desktop could have had a fighting chance. Instead, companies like RedHat gave up on it and the result is glacial pace of development hobbled by a steep entry curve for newbies.

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    I think the real question is,"What can we do about it?" Also, under what conditions would venders work on open sourcing their graphics drivers (aka, making open sourcing their drivers more profitable than not) or parts of it and how we can work to push toward such a point.

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    What false dichotomy would that be? I probably misinterpreted you somehow... your post was rather ranty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cb88 View Post
    What false dichotomy would that be? I probably misinterpreted you somehow... your post was rather ranty.
    That the only alternative is closed source. I didn't say anything of the sort. I was only pointing out that at long last people are coming to terms with the idea that releasing the docs/specs is not enough since we don't have the manpower to make anything big happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prescience500 View Post
    I think the real question is,"What can we do about it?"
    Go vote. Change the political landscape in your country in a way that studying that kind of field becomes actually affordable. That'll lead to more people who are actually capable of doing that kind of work. Some of those might work on FOSS drivers to improve their earned skill set (nothing better than real-world experience to pass exams).

    (If social change is too complicated, one can still go beg to Mark Shuttleworth and try to convince him that he hires a GPU driver guy.)

  10. #10
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    Ah, that makes sense thanks for clearing that up.

    At lest they guys working on it now... are refactoring the code so its easier to approach. At least thats what it seems they are trying to do.

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