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ATI considering Open ATI drivers?

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  • ATI considering Open ATI drivers?

    Courtesy of OSNews:

    =========AMD is strongly considering open-sourcing at least a functional subset of ATI?s graphics drivers. It?s time for X Window System, OpenGL, and client virtualization for which ATI binary drivers aren?t available to escape the ghetto of the 1980s-era framebuffer. And what a boon for PR. If AMD?s graphics cards were the only ones with open device drivers, it might affect a buying decision or two.============

    It'd be nice if I could upgrade. Drivers is one of those things where I'm an OSS purist.

  • #2
    That would be an amazing move, to say the least. ATI drivers are better now than ever, but they still have a long way to go to catch up to NVIDIA.


    • #3
      I never would have seen this coming. Unthinkable! Awesome PR move if AMD pushes through. But, how much of it is going open source, that remains to be seen. Hmm... if they release a part of the driver into open source, it's up to the open source community to step up and fix it.


      • #4
        It's up to ati to stop denying us this ability. It's one thing to open source your drivers, or better yet make them free software, and quite another to also release all specs on their chips which are needed. I don't see it happening though. I've got my hopes on intel to produce a reasonable 3D chip with free drivers.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Rob Williams View Post
          That would be an amazing move, to say the least. ATI drivers are better now than ever, but they still have a long way to go to catch up to NVIDIA.
          Especially considuring there is already pretty decent OSS drivers for ATI cards.

          The r200 series is older, but they support up to something like the ATI 9250.. The R300 DRI drivers support up to the R400 era ATI cards (with a couple exceptions). My PCI express x800 card runs great with them.

          Now the r500 series don't even have 2d drivers! It's pretty bad.

          Anyways if ATI wanted to support OSS drivers they already pretty much exist and work fine. With ATI's help they'd get fast and get help with some of the more difficult features and accelerations.

          I don't know in the forseeable future if ATI open source drivers would ever be realy realy fast compared to propriatory Nvidia drivers.. (Nvidia probably has some very god-like OpenGL wizards working for them) but I bet they will be much more stabland support hardware much more quickly if we had ATI's help.

          And if ATI/AMD would be realy realy cool and release specs then you would end up with stuff that goes beyond OpenGL acceleration. For instance I bet a good programmer could figure out how to use the GPU to accelerate media encoding. Also maybe accelerated realtime Raytracing graphics.. which would be cool.

          For instance there is OpenRT, which is a attempt at creating realtime raytracing like OpenGL is for conventional 3d stuff.

          Like on that Boeing 777 page.. They took a CAD model of over 350 million triangles and got about 3FPS pixel accurate rendering on a dual 1.8ghz althon machine. The model was so huge that it took between 30-60 gigs of disk space!

          Could you imagine something like that, but hardware accelerated or at least accelerated with the assistance of the GPU? Like to say you had a 3ghz Quad core AMD cpu with dual 1-2ghz GPUs on the cpu socket? Stuff like that would be crazy in a game. You could probably render a entire moderately-sized city with fully rendered automobiles with people and everything all at once.


          • #6
            As for open driver support, Cherry says that things have gotten better in the last year, particularly with improved support for wireless devices and better support for video cards. He also says that "we have confirmation" that ATI is moving towards opening up its capabilities for video drivers since the company's acquisition by AMD.

            Feel free to voice your thoughts.
            Michael Larabel


            • #7
              Originally posted by Michael View Post
              Well, that'd be a pleasant surprise... I haven't seen anything to indicate that this was the case, though. If they were to do something like Intel did with their newest generation of GPUs and plans on doing going forward with all their other integrated GPUs, then this would be magnificent. But, again, I just don't see evidence of that happening yet from ATI- guess we'll just have to see what comes forth from today forward since they're now officially together as one company starting this morning...