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Legacy Mesa Drivers Receive Their Death Sentence

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  • phoronix
    started a topic Legacy Mesa Drivers Receive Their Death Sentence

    Legacy Mesa Drivers Receive Their Death Sentence

    Phoronix: Legacy Mesa Drivers Receive Their Death Sentence

    Last year at XDS 2010 Toulouse there was a discussion about killing old X.Org / Mesa drivers with fire. In particular, dropping all the old drivers that go un-maintained and have little in the way of users and modern functionality. Last year they decided to not really do much about it since these drivers cause little maintenance burden, but the topic has been brought up again and it sounds like these crusty old Linux drivers will finally receive their death sentence...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=OTgzMg

  • smitty3268
    replied
    Originally posted by Kivada View Post
    While that may be the case many coders make it sound like these kinds of things can be kept going in less then 5 lines of code that they could do in their sleep, if that is in fact the case then how much time could it possibly take them just keep gimping it along?
    That's NOT the case here. They've been gimping these drivers along for a long time, and it's finally come to the point where it's beginning to take a significant amount of work to keep them going. Therefore, the decision was made that the effort wasn't worth the result - if you'd like to take over this work, I'm sure they would be happy to let you. Most of the developers don't even have access to the hardware anymore, which makes it pretty difficult maintain when you can't tell if the change you made caused any problems.

    Maybe they can't possibly fathom why someone would be using old hardware, perhaps they've forgotten that the vast majority of people out there that are using a computer are using one that is more then 5 years old, that Linux has long been the champion of old tech users since Windows EOLs and newer versions run like crap on old hardware.
    We're talking more like over 10 year old computers here. The "vast majority" of users DO NOT use these drivers, not even close. We're talking sub 1%, probably sub .1%. In fact, it's quite possible some of these drivers being removed don't even work, and that we just don't know about it because no one has tried using them and complained about it. The GLDirect support didn't even compile anymore (it was a GL -> DirectX 7 converter that got deleted).

    I thought the game plan was to gain more market share, so as to make these OSS coder's skills more in demand allowing them to ask for more money when being picked up by an Intel or AMD. Isn't that the end goal? To get paid to write OSS code?
    I think there is only a handful of developers working on the graphics stack that aren't already employed by someone, which means they are driven mostly by what those companies want. Which is, better support for current hardware and future hardware, with less importance being placed on hardware > 10 years old. The handful that aren't employed are too busy working on other stuff, and don't have much interest in working on code that might benefit a couple of thousand people worldwide when they could instead work on code that will benefit millions.

    Leave a comment:


  • gilboa
    replied
    Originally posted by Kivada View Post
    While that may be the case many coders make it sound like these kinds of things can be kept going in less then 5 lines of code that they could do in their sleep, if that is in fact the case then how much time could it possibly take them just keep gimping it along?

    It's almost as bad as the coder that wanted to drop support for the ISA bus, when tons of devices in current gen hardware still uses it.

    Maybe they can't possibly fathom why someone would be using old hardware, perhaps they've forgotten that the vast majority of people out there that are using a computer are using one that is more then 5 years old, that Linux has long been the champion of old tech users since Windows EOLs and newer versions run like crap on old hardware.

    I thought the game plan was to gain more market share, so as to make these OSS coder's skills more in demand allowing them to ask for more money when being picked up by an Intel or AMD. Isn't that the end goal? To get paid to write OSS code?
    Again, if you're holding old (very) hardware, you're either using old, long-term-support Linux distribution (desktop) or server (in which case, vesa should work just fine).
    In the end, the Mesa devs needs to decide where their collective resources are better spent: Maintaining old (very, very) old hardware or better supporting new hardware.
    Needless to say which one gets my vote.

    However, again, if you really, really need old hardware support, why don't *you* do something about it?

    - Gilboa

    Leave a comment:


  • Kivada
    replied
    Originally posted by gilboa View Post
    You are missing the main point of OSS.
    OSS is *NOT* a democracy, its a meritocracy - as in, those who are willing to do the actual work, get to make the decisions.
    As long as no-one jumps in and offer to maintain the old drivers himself, these drivers will simply die. Period. End-of-story.

    So in short, yes, unless you are willing to pitch in, you opinions don't really matter. (Nor do mine )

    - Gilboa
    While that may be the case many coders make it sound like these kinds of things can be kept going in less then 5 lines of code that they could do in their sleep, if that is in fact the case then how much time could it possibly take them just keep gimping it along?

    It's almost as bad as the coder that wanted to drop support for the ISA bus, when tons of devices in current gen hardware still uses it.

    Maybe they can't possibly fathom why someone would be using old hardware, perhaps they've forgotten that the vast majority of people out there that are using a computer are using one that is more then 5 years old, that Linux has long been the champion of old tech users since Windows EOLs and newer versions run like crap on old hardware.

    I thought the game plan was to gain more market share, so as to make these OSS coder's skills more in demand allowing them to ask for more money when being picked up by an Intel or AMD. Isn't that the end goal? To get paid to write OSS code?

    Leave a comment:


  • gilboa
    replied
    Originally posted by Kivada View Post
    But this is just the opinion of a non coding heathen, so as usual my opinion will be completely ignored.
    You are missing the main point of OSS.
    OSS is *NOT* a democracy, its a meritocracy - as in, those who are willing to do the actual work, get to make the decisions.
    As long as no-one jumps in and offer to maintain the old drivers himself, these drivers will simply die. Period. End-of-story.

    So in short, yes, unless you are willing to pitch in, you opinions don't really matter. (Nor do mine )

    - Gilboa

    Leave a comment:


  • DanL
    replied
    Farewell old drivers: http://cgit.freedesktop.org/mesa/mes...58f087bd8bf94d

    Leave a comment:


  • smitty3268
    replied
    Originally posted by libv View Post
    And now for some facts...

    intel i810 was releast in 1999. ATI R100 was released in 2000. The first VIA unichrome was announced in 2002 and i got it in the summer of 2003. Actual age has absolutely nothing to do with it.
    But how many people use them does. ATI R100 use was much more widespread the unichrome, hence it's not going away yet. Plus AMD is still willing to provide some (very limited) support for it through Alex Deucher.

    Apart from the concerns i raised (i still did not see an answer to my questions about which criteria make a driver suitable for continued inclusion, nor about which drivers then actually remain -- both are questions to which apparently the answers are not helpful to the proposal)
    I thought that was pretty obvious. The criteria is: any driver that has a maintainer gets to stay in. Any driver that doesn't have any developers willing to work on it, is in danger of being dropped. If you really don't want unichrome support to go away, then just announce on the list that from now on you intend to maintain it.

    where does this leave the X drivers or the drm drivers for these mesa drivers? Are they really thinking about _just_ the mesa bits, or is this the start of something bigger (it is of course something bigger, but they do not want to own up to it yet).
    Neither of us know. But we should focus on each proposal as it comes up, rather than trying to stir up fear, uncertainty, and doubt about future actions that may or may not ever happen. Focus on the present.

    And where will this end: will we only have 3 manufacturers cards supported in future across the board, only for linux, and only if the hardware is just old enough to have support, but not old enough to have its support broken again?
    Again, it just requires maintainers to do the work. Why should Intel be forced to subsidize via drivers? If Via or the community come up with someone to do the work, it will stay. Otherwise, tough luck. That's the open source way.

    Leave a comment:


  • ianromanick
    replied
    Originally posted by Kivada View Post
    Dropping these old drivers is just straight up lazy, I've given out lots of junked "ancient" boxes loaded with Linux to various charities, should all of those people be unable to update their software ever?
    That's rather the point. The drivers that are being removed haven't been updated in years. Folks can still build Mesa 7.11 and play Quake2 on their Voodoo3 or Rage128 to their heart's content....

    Leave a comment:


  • pingufunkybeat
    replied
    But this is just the opinion of a non coding heathen, so as usual my opinion will be completely ignored.
    Nah, it will be ignored because it doesn't make any sense.

    The new driver stack was needed in order to progress past OpenGL 1.5. The drivers could never progress past it otherwise. End of story.

    If there are 10-year old drivers that nobody is actively maintaining, then it's a problem.

    Leave a comment:


  • Kivada
    replied
    Originally posted by libv View Post
    And now for some facts...

    intel i810 was releast in 1999. ATI R100 was released in 2000. The first VIA unichrome was announced in 2002 and i got it in the summer of 2003. Actual age has absolutely nothing to do with it.

    Now, have you at any time in the last 3 or so years updated either of kernel, xserver or mesa with anything more than bugfixes? Do you realize the tight dependency that exists between those three parts and the libdrm in between, a dependency that has existed pronouncedly since libdrm grew driver dependant bits.

    Apart from the concerns i raised (i still did not see an answer to my questions about which criteria make a driver suitable for continued inclusion, nor about which drivers then actually remain -- both are questions to which apparently the answers are not helpful to the proposal): where does this leave the X drivers or the drm drivers for these mesa drivers? Are they really thinking about _just_ the mesa bits, or is this the start of something bigger (it is of course something bigger, but they do not want to own up to it yet). And where will this end: will we only have 3 manufacturers cards supported in future across the board, only for linux, and only if the hardware is just old enough to have support, but not old enough to have its support broken again?
    ^This. All of it.

    Dropping these old drivers is just straight up lazy, I've given out lots of junked "ancient" boxes loaded with Linux to various charities, should all of those people be unable to update their software ever?


    I'm really not liking this new belife system being taken up by the OSS devs that everyone has to run the latest and greatest everything or they can die in a fire. Things like Gnome2 and KDE3 worked great and only needed to stay bugfixed and security patched, there was no reason to force everyone to jump on to a new stack that felt like we had taken a decade long step backwards just so they could reinvent the wheel.

    So now we're going to see this with the GPU driver devs as well? And their answer is stick with outdated and insecure versions of a distro? Sorry but no, most of us don't need to rat race the FPS wall or couldn't possibly give less of a shit about whatever useless whizbang wobbly window effects you and think are cool, but anyone with the mental maturity past that of a 10 year old doesn't care about.

    We just want software thats up to date with security and just fucking works without having to rewrite it ourselves. Its the reason some of us started using OSS software in the first place, we wanted something that could do those things things and not get in the way and that was true up until very recently.

    But this is just the opinion of a non coding heathen, so as usual my opinion will be completely ignored.

    Leave a comment:

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