It's surprising that Nouveau in many cases is on par with AMD with no help from Nvidia. Obviously the documentation and occasional skeleton driver code contribution by AMD is helpful, but there would probably be a sister project to Nouveau if AMD decided to close up the Radeon specs and go full on evil again.
Item 2: Of course AMD isn't doing this because it's right. They're doing it because FGLRX is an unholy mess and they want free labor to make a driver they can port to Windows. Phoronix has had several articles about the same driver code being made proprietary to go into Windows CE. Free labor is a nice thing to have. The Catalyst mess is probably far from optimal for real Windows, much less the embedded thing calling itself that. (It will also be nice to have if they want their hardware to go into tablets.) Other than FGLRX being utter crap, it heavily depends on an X server for the 2d rendering which embedded Linux distributions like Android don't have. It also has no OpenGL ES support at all, which would mean they'd need a shim like Google's ANGLE riding on top of a bloated OpenGL driver that they already aren't fully licensed to use themselves that ships in their proprietary Linux and Windows drivers already.
Item 3: They've already said they do benefit from DRM indirectly in that it's easier to roll over and ask the MAFIAA to screw AMD's customers with no lube than it is to draw a line and tell them to fuck off and come back when things are less contaminated. They're all too happy to collaborate with criminals to build this stuff into their hardware, so it entirely AMD's fault that they can't document parts of their own hardware. You can lob any stupid argument against this you want but I won't budge.
If you read Theo de Raadt's "Intel is only OPEN for business" article from 2006 where they were being boner biting bastards about their hardware documentation and firmware redistribution, I think you'll find a lot of it is unfortunately relevant to the situation with AMD. Unfortunately it is still more of a fit for Intel and Nvidia's continued behavior which is why I'm not using them. Nvidia hands down makes better hardware, but when it comes to openness, they want to kill with fire any technical details about their cards that can get out there. If Nvidia had open drivers, we wouldn't be discussing this and I'd just be using Nvidia like I was 2-3 years ago before AMD had any open specifications and were every bit as nasty.
BTW, here's Theo de Raadt's article on Intel I promised with some choice quotes I feel apply a lot to AMD right now.
This fits the HDMI audio situation like a glove.Before we ask a vendor, we have already lost (ie. the device does not work). When a vendor says no, we have lost nothing further -- there is no way we can lose further than having the device not work. We can only win, and then the device works. So there is no point in giving up until we win back the rights to write software for the hardware that we have purchased.
Yes, AMD has a few people here to do PR and damage control. After the article about HDMI audio support missing, they came to spin the situation back into AMD's favor and to derail the conversation with half-truths, impotent gestures, and outright obfuscations and lies. It is technically better than not responding at all I guess, a lot of companies that have been approached by open source developers just asking for rights to redistribute their non-free firmware have had their requests go totally unanswered for a long time. (See OpenBSD v. Texas Instruments). The fact that they have yet to reply in a fully honest and open manner does bother me. Perhaps they can rectify this in the future.These vendors often want a quiet private discussion, because in a quiet private discussion they can continue to dismiss the requests and in the end do absolutely nothing. They do not want a noisy public discussion, because then they look bad. But they DESERVE TO LOOK BAD, because they are being bad to those who bought their hardware!
(emphasis mine)In this particular case, we would like more documentation for the Intel wireless chips. Damien [Bergamini] has already written drivers that make the devices work quite well... but there are still bugs, since all of this is based on reverse engineering efforts. The drivers could be better. Intel stands in the way of your devices working as well as they should.
Again, replace Intel with AMD and you have the same situation with HDMI audio on Radeons.
Replace Intel with AMD.Quite frankly, Intel has been a royal pain in the ass. Not to us, but to people who bought their devices.
Replace Intel with AMD again here. Actually I'd rather AMD be total dickheads here because then I end up using free software that was the result of reverse engineering rather than a really long strand of obfuscated code that has no commenting and would be even harder to figure out. (Nvidia did this with nv where they had an insane formula just to represent a constant).Intel also must grant these rights freely
Replace Intel with AMD.By withholding, Intel is being an Open Source fraud.
Note that this is not a rant. A rant doesn't provide facts and counter-arguments that disassemble the propaganda spread by the original comment. A rant is merely an attack without any constructive criticism at all. I am mad that AMD is voluntarily withholding programming specs, that they lie about why they do it, and use the words "Industry" and "everyone" to talk about a few companies and lobbying groups (The unholy triad at Apple, Microsoft, and the MPAA) that should be investigated under acts including Sherman, Hobbs, RICO, and at least in Microsoft's case, Sarbanes-Oxley.