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The Truth About AMD's Development Cycle

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  • #11
    Originally posted by ivanovic View Post
    AMD opening the fglrx drivers will not happen anytime soon (http://www.phoronix.net/forums/showthread.php?t=1454). And I don't think they will release any specs either. The only real thing to wait for are the discrete intel cards, IMO AMD/ATI (graphics card wise) is dead!
    Yep. And it's too bad.

    I like AMD a lot more then Intel, but buying AMD means pretty much that your requiring at least propriatory drivers for the video card (and badly supported hardware usually for audio/network/sata), unless your using those onboard Via stuff (which is fine for most sorts of video playback) which have virtually no 3d performance.

    So it's a shitty situation.

    You have ATI, which made bad decisions for licensing, then turns around and inflicts those poor decisions on end users with shitty drivers. Which is one thing. But to now have AMD not being able to fix the situation is a damn shame.

    Maybe if Dell or HP starts shipping Linux hardware they will turn around. When there starts to be real financial punishment for the state of Linux driver support as AMD/ATI hardware gets passed over again and again for those (relatively) large scale Linux deployments we are seeing more often.


    One thing to keep in mind is that Intel isn't releasing specs OR releasing source code. Sortof.

    They released specs for 8xx stuff, I beleive. Which forms the basis for those Linux drivers. Then for the 915 stuff they hired out to Tungsten Graphics for driver development (3d visualization company created by Xfree developers). Now for 965 stuff they internalized driver development and hired several prominate X hackers for improving X support for their hardware. (and that is going beyond mere drivers, but going also into the development of better open source OpenGL stack)


    So it's not like Intel is perfect or wonderfull. They are doing open source drivers with a very pragmatic approach. Either Nvidia or ATI could trivially be much more open then Intel and still be able to protect their 'IP'.


    There already are Free/Open source drivers for ATI hardware. Linux/X.org has open source 2d and 3d drivers for r100, r200, r300, and r400 series cards. So it's not like ATI would have to realy do a whole lot to get well supported hardware.

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    • #12
      Q. What is the easiest way to install drivers for a r500 series ATI card?
      A: http://www.mepisguides.com/Mepis-6/f...lrx/fgrlx.html

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      • #13
        Originally posted by drag View Post
        There already are Free/Open source drivers for ATI hardware. Linux/X.org has open source 2d and 3d drivers for r100, r200, r300, and r400 series cards. So it's not like ATI would have to realy do a whole lot to get well supported hardware.
        Heh... They only have a solid handle on the R100 and R200 series chips right now.

        They've got an impressive amount of support for the R300 and up (R400/R500 chips are merely an expansion of the functionalities of the R300 in the form of more pipelines, faster pipelines, etc...)- but it's not anywhere near the amount they have on the R100/R200 chips.

        x.org doesn't (Yet!) appear to have FSAA, Hyper-Z, Anisotropic Filter, and a few other things for one to claim that they really have R300 support. It's coming along nicely, but it's not really supported. AMD could conceivably step in and hand everyone in our community a few bread crumbs in this area to make things all better (and gain favor in our community...)- but I seriously doubt they will. Which is a shame.

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        • #14
          Originally posted by Svartalf View Post
          Heh... They only have a solid handle on the R100 and R200 series chips right now.

          They've got an impressive amount of support for the R300 and up (R400/R500 chips are merely an expansion of the functionalities of the R300 in the form of more pipelines, faster pipelines, etc...)- but it's not anywhere near the amount they have on the R100/R200 chips.

          x.org doesn't (Yet!) appear to have FSAA, Hyper-Z, Anisotropic Filter, and a few other things for one to claim that they really have R300 support. It's coming along nicely, but it's not really supported. AMD could conceivably step in and hand everyone in our community a few bread crumbs in this area to make things all better (and gain favor in our community...)- but I seriously doubt they will. Which is a shame.
          The R400 series is a extension to the R300 series. Faster, more pipelines, and PCI express support.

          R500 on the other hand is very different. Or at least different enough. There is _zero_ support for it with Free software drivers, 2D or 3D. Vesa driver is all there is for those guys.

          I don't think that you are going to see any of the advanced features of the r300/r400 chipsets anyways. There is a very limited amount of developers in teh Linux community that are realy capable of reverse engineering hardware and they've seemed to have turned their attention to Nvidia.(I've read at least one of them say that Nvidia hardware is more pleasent to work with and much less buggy then ATI.. which is a huge problem for reverse engineering. (even if you do get something right, it can still be wrong because the hardware may be broken in special cases))

          edit:

          In terms of compatability with Linux desktop the free software drivers are superior to the flglx. For example they support AIGLX for easy acceleration of things like compiz or beryl.




          Q. What is the easiest way to install drivers for a r500 series ATI card?
          A: http://www.mepisguides.com/Mepis-6/f...lrx/fgrlx.html
          That's a happy fantasy. In my own personal experiance I couldn't get Flglx drivers to work at all with my hardware.
          I tried official Debian packages. I tried the Ubuntu packages.
          I tried the official releases from ATI. Multiple different versions.

          And this wasn't very long ago.

          And I've compiled my own custom versions of X.org, the kernel, and mesa development libraries, from scratch, and installed them in parrellel with my existing distro-provided software in order to play around with XGL when it first came out. And I've been using Linux for years.

          If I can do that well and yet not be get those stupid ATI drivers to work correctly then it's just dumb luck weither or not it works for anybody.

          Meanwhile my Intel graphics had 3d acceleration the first time I booted up my machine from a fresh install with absolutely no configuration or intervention from me.
          Last edited by drag; 03-13-2007, 04:43 PM.

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          • #15
            well i've been using gentoo for a couple of years.

            when i tried ubuntu or debian i was clueless about how to enable ati's opengl in xorg :]

            one distro did specify fglrx libs explictly in xorg.conf

            like Load "/usr/lib/xorg/modules/dri/fglrx_dri.so" in Modules section of xorg.conf

            gentoo does symlinks :
            Code:
            /usr/lib/opengl/ati/extensions -> ../xorg-x11/extensions
            /usr/lib/opengl/ati/include -> ../xorg-x11/include
            /usr/lib/opengl/ati/lib
            /usr/lib/opengl/ati/lib/libGL.la
            /usr/lib/opengl/ati/lib/libGL.so -> libGL.so.1.2
            /usr/lib/opengl/ati/lib/libGL.so.1 -> libGL.so.1.2
            i guess one way or another, it should eventually start working. (proper kernel config is also important).

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            • #16
              Originally posted by drag View Post
              R500 on the other hand is very different. Or at least different enough. There is _zero_ support for it with Free software drivers, 2D or 3D. Vesa driver is all there is for those guys.
              I'd buy "different enough". I've reliable info that they're intrinsically the same architecture- same rules, etc., but perhaps differing register layouts. The R600, however...

              I don't think that you are going to see any of the advanced features of the r300/r400 chipsets anyways. There is a very limited amount of developers in teh Linux community that are realy capable of reverse engineering hardware and they've seemed to have turned their attention to Nvidia.(I've read at least one of them say that Nvidia hardware is more pleasent to work with and much less buggy then ATI.. which is a huge problem for reverse engineering. (even if you do get something right, it can still be wrong because the hardware may be broken in special cases))
              I'd hesitate to call the ATI parts "buggy"- it's more their drivers than it is the silicon from what I am led to believe. And the drivers situation is more due to a lack of resources than anything else.

              In terms of compatability with Linux desktop the free software drivers are superior to the flglx. For example they support AIGLX for easy acceleration of things like compiz or beryl.
              I'd have to concur. Now, having said this, I will observe that ATI's driver support is slower in many areas than the Free Software Drivers. I shouldn't have a situation where I can play a game with an R200 and not with an RS370. But, I do on many games- things like Unreal Tournament 2k3/2k4...

              That's a happy fantasy. In my own personal experiance I couldn't get Flglx drivers to work at all with my hardware.
              I tried official Debian packages. I tried the Ubuntu packages.
              I tried the official releases from ATI. Multiple different versions.
              Heh... I've managed to get them working and keep them working- mostly due to the Livna repository RPMs of the drivers. This is in 64-bit mode to boot. I will say that making the fglrx drivers go without something pre-packaged for the distribution is NOT for the faint of heart or anyone but the most skilled in Linux system work. Not a good thing, if you must know.

              Meanwhile my Intel graphics had 3d acceleration the first time I booted up my machine from a fresh install with absolutely no configuration or intervention from me.
              Well, that should be a hint to NVidia and AMD. If they want a piece of that, they're going to have to step up to the plate like Intel did.

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              • #17
                Originally posted by Michael View Post
                It's taking a bit longer than expected as they are preparing slides for Phoronix

                Though hopefully the article will still be out in a week or two.
                Michael, I hope you haven't forgotten about this. Is it already posted somewhere?

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                • #18
                  Originally posted by niniendowarrior View Post
                  Michael, I hope you haven't forgotten about this. Is it already posted somewhere?
                  Nope, haven't forgotten about it. AMD is making some new slides for me, so it's taking a while.
                  Michael Larabel
                  http://www.michaellarabel.com/

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                  • #19
                    are you sure THEY haven't forgotten about this?

                    i can already see it. ati pushes out the slides and says "our developers were busy preparing the slides. no drivers this month"

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                    • #20
                      Originally posted by yoshi314 View Post
                      are you sure THEY haven't forgotten about this?

                      i can already see it. ati pushes out the slides and says "our developers were busy preparing the slides. no drivers this month"
                      Let me assure you, no they haven't forgotten about the slides and they have definitely not forgotten about this month's driver.
                      Michael Larabel
                      http://www.michaellarabel.com/

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