At the Linux.Conf.Au conference today, Intel has announced NDA-free programming documentation covering the 965 Express and G35 Express integrated graphics processors (IGPs). Intel's display driver has long been open-source, but up until now, they have not been releasing the programming documentation for these products to the public. This move comes months after AMD announced their new open-source strategy and began releasing register documentation on their R500 and R600 GPUs. These newly released documents by Intel even cover 3D and video programming for their IGPs.
Intel's current documentation covering the 965 and G35 chipsets is made up of four volumes covering the graphics core, 3D media, display registers, and the subsystem and cores. This documentation can be downloaded from X.Org and the Intel Graphics Website. The graphics core is composed of nearly 500 pages, 3D media as 366 pages, display registers as 338 pages, and the subsystem and cores closes in at 526 pages. This documentation has been released under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. While this move by Intel is coming months after AMD began providing documentation to the open-source community, these initial documents already cover the 3D portion of the 965/G35 while AMD is still working on that side with providing sample code.
This is another exciting open-source move and is great that Intel is providing this community documentation even though their lone display driver is -- and has been -- open-source software with working 2D and 3D capabilities. It will be interesting if Intel continues in NDA-free documentation dumps once they begin shipping discrete graphics processors from their Larrabee project.
NVIDIA is now the only company of the big three graphics firms that is not providing GPU programming documentation to the public and only a very basic 2D open-source driver. However, earlier this month we broke the news that NVIDIA may be planning an open-source strategy. Will this accelerate their efforts? Tell us in the forums. While NVIDIA doesn't currently support the open-source Nouveau project, if you so desire you can manually support their development efforts.
UPDATE: You may also be interested in the slides we had published last September during Intel's Fall Developer Forum on why open-source drivers work and a major OEM demanding open-source drivers this year. This IDF presentation was done by Dirk Hohndel, Intel's Chief Linux and Open-Source Technologist.