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Thread: Mixing open and closed source

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by val-gaav View Post
    That's one of the reasons which made me choose a notebook with rs690 with the hope for future support
    Have you tried radeonhd recently ? The recently added 2d acceleration seems to work on 690, according to other users. Once the command processor support and DRM are added, 3d support can start to follow fairly quickly.

    It will still be a while for full 3d, so if you need 3d or video and don't feel comfortable switching between fglrx and radeonhd you might want to stay put for a bit longer.

  2. #12
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    First of all, thanks bridgman for providing us with a much-needed window inside the development process for these drivers, your contributions are very welcome!
    There is though something that bothers me regarding this discussion:

    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    Honestly, I don't know. If we conclude that there will never be a demand for protected video playback then that opens more options for the future. On the other hand, the Dell preloaded SKU ships with LinDVD today. DVD doesn't need the same kind of protection that HD/BD requires so it's not an issue for today, but if Dell sees demand for DVD today then that will probably translate into demand for BD tomorrow, and that *does* need protection right down to the kernel drivers.
    The obnoxious restrictions that encumber formats like BD/HD make these completely incompatible with the spirit, shape and form of free/open-source software. Why should the community even bother supporting them? Why should Linux support the flawed ideas running behind that system? I for one am totally opposed to any implementation of this sort of "driver" that protects my own content from myself. I believe going that route creates a dangerous precedent... if we accept such a closed-source driver for the shallow promise of being able to play "next-gen content", there is nothing stopping other similar ideas from taking hold -- what about a "cpu driver" next to protect even more "valuable IP"?! I think this has to stop before it even begins.

    So what happens if users try to play BD in Linux and it doesn't work? Well, we simply educate them about the fact that the format is incompatible with the very idea of GNU/Linux and that they have alternatives. Will this lose some users? Certainly. But winning market share at any cost is _not_ the final goal, the likes of Dell notwhistanding. Or at least I didn't think so.

    So please, go with the "options for the future" and provide a stable and commited support to the open-source driver, taking resources out of the closed one if need be. It's ok to have a closed-source driver for workstations, nobody will mind that, but leave "restricted content" much lower on the list.

    Please also take into account what will happen if users will have a choice between:
    a) open-source driver, stable and good in some areas
    b) closed-source driver, more-or-less stable :-P and good in totally different areas

    Will they have to switch drivers to watch a movie, then again to play a game, then again to use a workstation app? That doesn't sound very appealing... I'd say sticking with open-source and making sure the open driver is as good as possible, even if it means leaving out some bits, would be the best course of action.

    Besides, what happens when Crysis shows up on Linux ?
    Why would Crysis (or any other game for that matter) on Linux have an issue with the open driver? Am I missing something here?

    Please don't take this the wrong way, it's just that I hate to see all the money and resources spent on implementing crappy ideas like DRM instead of them being used for important issues (like good drivers for current hardware, before it becomes obsolete)...

    Best regards

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman
    Have you tried radeonhd recently ? The recently added 2d acceleration seems to work on 690, according to other users. Once the command processor support and DRM are added, 3d support can start to follow fairly quickly.
    I'm still using the Vista OEM on this laptop. I wanted to try if this OS is as bad as people say ... I hope nobody will kill me here for using it. It will end up as Linux box once I find the time to set it up ...


    Quote Originally Posted by mgc8 View Post
    The obnoxious restrictions that encumber formats like BD/HD make these completely incompatible with the spirit, shape and form of free/open-source software. Why should the community even bother supporting them? Why should Linux support the flawed ideas running behind that system? I for one am totally opposed to any implementation of this sort of "driver" that protects my own content from myself.
    It's not Linux that supports it, it's Dell. Most people will use libcss for their DVDs not LinDVD, but please remember that using libcss is illegal in USA and France... So although I fully agree with you and I don't like it myself it's not really a community that supports it...

    Will they have to switch drivers to watch a movie, then again to play a game, then again to use a workstation app? That doesn't sound very appealing... I'd say sticking with open-source and making sure the open driver is as good as possible, even if it means leaving out some bits, would be the best course of action.
    that's why I suggested "the blob way" for DRM things... Anyway I'm not into this stuff but I am surprised how deep this protection seems to go ... Yep it's killing the free software (open source) way of doing things.

  4. #14
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    Will this lose some users? Certainly. But winning market share at any cost is _not_ the final goal, the likes of Dell notwhistanding. Or at least I didn't think so.
    That's the $64,000 question. There are a lot of initiatives trying to make Linux more acceptable to mainstream users who would be forced to use Windows today. That's good in that it brings more support and investment to Linux products and lets you do more with it, but it's bad in that things like DRM may come along with the ride. I don't know how that will shake out.

    Will they have to switch drivers to watch a movie, then again to play a game, then again to use a workstation app? That doesn't sound very appealing... I'd say sticking with open-source and making sure the open driver is as good as possible, even if it means leaving out some bits, would be the best course of action.
    If they want to watch protected content that requires a closed driver, then want to use an open source driver "cause it's better", then want to run workstation apps with highest possible performance, then want an open source driver -- yep, lots of switching back and forth.

    I don't see that ever happening. There will be enough overlap between the drivers that the open driver will be fine for most things. People who want the last bit of 3d performance, or features like protected video content, will switch to the closed driver and stay there.

    Why would Crysis (or any other game for that matter) on Linux have an issue with the open driver? Am I missing something here?
    Just that getting the most performance from a graphics card takes a lot of hard work and a lot of coding -- more than anyone in the open source community is willing to step up and do. Not saying our developers are better, just that performance optimization is a lot of hard work and the kind of thing that a commercial driver team will do and an open source developer will not.

    If you buy a high end graphics card and run average games on them, you can probably be really happy with a good open source driver. If you need the last bit of performance for high res gaming or workstation then you will still want a closed driver. I picked Crysis because at high resolutions it is barely playable even with high end hardware and highly tuned drivers.

    Anyways, all I'm trying to say here is "there are good reasons why closed source drivers still have a place, such as workstation, protected video and high end gaming, but we're making sure you have an open source option as well".

    that's why I suggested "the blob way" for DRM things... Anyway I'm not into this stuff but I am surprised how deep this protection seems to go ... Yep it's killing the free software (open source) way of doing things.
    Well, it hasn't happened yet and nobody is rushing to make it happen. Hi-def protected content brings a whole new world of DRM fun that all us hardware vendors have to deal with, and so far "just saying no" seems to be acceptable to the Linux market (whew !).

    I'm just saying that we would look pretty dumb if the market *did* swing over that way and we had just finished converted to a hybrid open/closed solution that couldn't support BD
    Last edited by bridgman; 02-01-2008 at 10:07 PM.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    Good question. Right now it's a chicken/egg situation -- no secure driver, no certified player, no problem

    Of course nobody knows if there's a market for a certified player app that can legally play HD/BD on Linux anyways.
    I am pretty sure that when it will be time to put BD in laptop, Intel will come with some closed source driver for their all in one chipset they may have an open source driver but this one will never cover any drm stuff.
    Related to the other thread :
    Thank you for your post about the schedule, tt is nice to see where we are heading.
    I always had a dirty question, how much would it cost, to finish a driver like radeonhd within The year ?
    Since doc is provided, I am curious to know how much ressources are spend on it. And would it be possible to see more people hacking on it. (maybe once it can be merged in the kernel, was it question to merge radeon ?)
    Last edited by lucky_; 02-01-2008 at 10:09 PM.

  6. #16
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    re: what would it cost to finish in a year

    I guess it all depends what you mean by "finish". I expect that within a year start-to-finish we will have all the major areas with solid, basic support -- display, 2d, 3d, video.

    If that's what you mean by finish, it's probably going to happen within a year anyways. Getting more people working on the driver is always a good thing -- one of the problems with having a successful driver is that users need to be supported, and that sucks up a lot of developer time. One of the great things about open source drivers is that you can talk to the developers -- but that kinda falls down as the user base grows.

    A lot of libv's time goes to 1-on-1 user support, and that is time not spent adding features or fixes.

    re: merging

    The display block of 5xx-and-up was pretty different, so doing new code there rather than building on radeon seemed like the right idea. Same applies to video -- 5xx and up require significantly new code. For 2d and 3d acceleration, however, there is a lot of ocmmonality between the pre-5xx and 5xx+ hardware, so we *are* planning to share a lot of code between radeon and radeonhd.

    The places where we can re-use existing code are :

    - 2d acceleration (radeonhd developers are using code from radeon as a starting point, but we're keeping the code sufficiently similar that improvements can be pushed back and forth)

    - DRM (Direct Rendering..., not Digital Rights...) should be able to stay as common code from 3xx all the way to 6xx.

    - mesa (3d driver) again, should be able to stay with largely common code from 3xx to 5xx and 690. Not sure if we'll end up with new code for 6xx -- we'll start with common code and see how it goes.

    Note that drm and mesa are not in the "radeon" tree anyways -- they are separate trees already. We plan to just keep them separate and use them with both radeon and radeonhd. It's only the 2d acceleration code that needs to be ported.
    Last edited by bridgman; 02-01-2008 at 10:32 PM.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgman View Post
    Good question. Right now it's a chicken/egg situation -- no secure driver, no certified player, no problem

    Of course nobody knows if there's a market for a certified player app that can legally play HD/BD on Linux anyways.
    I hate to be a pessimist, but just like CSS, HDCP --will-- be hacked sooner or later and a decryptor licensed under the GPL will be available. It's not a chicken and egg matter. We all know the chicken came first. HDCP will be hacked and will be made available under the GPL.

    I personally am a firm believer that if you dont support it, then they cant enforce it. Your actions of supporting DRM only strengthen it. If you didnt support play back of DRM in your drivers in Windows --or-- Linux, then it would be impossible to enforce.

    Taking ATi's market presence into consideration, it may well be possible for them to kill off DRM by themselves simply by not supporting it in any fashion on any product using any operation system with any driver. ATi is big enough that if they ignored DRM they could single handedly kill it. That would win over the vast majority of the video market in your favor, becouse the simple matter of fact is that if most people knew what DRM actually was they would fight tooth and nail to get rid of it ASAP.

    As a Video company it is ATi's duty to protect its customers --from-- DRM.... That means doing everything possible to actively look for protection mechanisms, and shutting them down, or bypassing them, or at the very least making it known to the user that the content they are trying to view is infected. But instead they walk away in fear from the content mafia, and strengthen it by weakening themselves.
    Last edited by duby229; 02-02-2008 at 12:20 AM.

  8. #18
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    I've got to say that I firmly agree with the spirit of the above post. It seems like all of the hardware out now is being made exclusively for Vista and all of its digital rights management and support for other customers is not a priority. If a hw company like AMD were to release versions of their products without DRM for those who do not wish to compromise their freedom and privacy, then I'd bet that those uninfected products would sell better than the restricted ones.

    Btw, as of yet, I have not purchased a product that contains HDCP or any trusted computing technologies (Presidio, and TXT included.) Nor have any of my technically enlightened friends (except 1.)

  9. #19
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    Maybe there is some kind of external pressure on ATI to support DRM. But now DRM is being seen more and more unethical even by major companies, so it should be possible to get rid of DRM.

  10. #20
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    If a hw company like AMD were to release versions of their products without DRM for those who do not wish to compromise their freedom and privacy, then I'd bet that those uninfected products would sell better than the restricted ones.
    Most of our sales are to big OEMs. OEMs want Windows WHQL certification from Microsoft. WHQL certification requires DRM support. If we say "no thank you, we don't want to participate in your DRM ideas" then OEMs will just buy from someone else, and the biggest chunk of our market disappears. It's possible that there might be a retail market that would accept uncertified Windows drivers and all the hassles which go along with them, but realistically I think we would be talking about Linux-consumer-only products.

    Maybe there is some kind of external pressure on ATI to support DRM.
    See above. I cringe every time I see an article implying that we invented DRM or are pushing it ourselves. I don't even like TALKING about DRM here for the same reason -- people start thinking it's our idea and we should "just say no". I wish it were that simple.

    But now DRM is being seen more and more unethical even by major companies, so it should be possible to get rid of DRM.
    I'm not seeing that. There is definitely a change in the audio world, but DRM for video is alive and well, at least for now. That is why I'm saying "let's wait a bit before we look at mixing open and closed source, 'cause if we make that decision today the answer has to be no".
    Last edited by bridgman; 02-02-2008 at 10:33 AM.

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