Fwd: AMD deciding _now_ what to do about Linux

youshi10 at u.washington.edu youshi10 at u.washington.edu
Fri Jun 15 20:07:49 UTC 2007

On Fri, 15 Jun 2007, Ali Mashtizadeh wrote:

> Hi,
> Sun's pushing ATI/AMD to provide good drivers for Solaris, so it means they
> will have to work on the portability issue of their drivers. It is probably
> the best time to influence AMD's decision since they are going to do what
> Sun tells them. Nvidia has an easier time porting their drivers since the
> core of the driver is the same across all platforms AFAIK. Hopefully, they
> will realize the best stratedgy is to open source their drivers, which there
> has been some hints about it recently.
> -- 
> Ali Mashtizadeh
> علی مشتی زاده
> On 6/15/07, Jeremy Chadwick <koitsu at freebsd.org> wrote:
>> On Fri, Jun 15, 2007 at 02:03:39PM -0400, Ali Mashtizadeh wrote:
>> >  Hey everyone,
>> >
>> >  This email went out on Xorg I thought it might be useful for all of us
>> stuck
>> >  with ATI cards. We should all show our interest in AMD helping out the
>> BSD
>> >  community as well! Just like Nvidia has been doing!
>> "Linux strategy" -- gotta love the use of the word "strategy", like
>> they're playing chess or Risk or Daisenryaku.  Yes, because supporting
>> an operating system involves "strategy".
>> Not to sound rude, but I wouldn't hold your breath over the statement.
>> Yes, *absolutely* mail them and show support for the BSDs, and tell them
>> you'll be happy to beta test whatever they put out (as long as they have
>> a good feedback method for reporting those bugs; not some defunct HTML
>> form web page that sends submissions to /dev/null).
>> I believe AMD/ATI cares about providing a good driver base (for Linux
>> and probably the BSDs), but no matter how many customers mail them, the
>> reality of the situation is a disappointing one: managers and executives
>> of sorts are who have say over all of this, who decide all of this, and
>> who ultimately make the statements on all of this.  As a Texan co-worker
>> of mine says, "too many chiefs, not enough indians".  nVidia has the
>> same "problem", for what it's worth.
>> --
>> | Jeremy Chadwick                                    jdc at parodius.com |
>> | Parodius Networking                           http://www.parodius.com/ |
>> | UNIX Systems Administrator                      Mountain View, CA, USA |
>> | Making life hard for others since 1977.                  PGP: 4BD6C0CB |

1. This shouldn't have been sent to the hackers@ list, because it's more of a discussion than a technical topic.
2. Please top post.

Disregarding those 2 comments, I have a few thoughts:

1. It doesn't matter which company you deal with, ATI/AMD, Intel, nVidia -- all are large corporations and swaying the interest of the execs and legal depts to release corporate secrets and technologies is a big deal because it's their competitive edges in the marketplace.
2. Intel did opensourced their graphics drivers, and of course there's been a great deal of followup discussion about nVidia and ATI doing the same thing, but like Jeremy said I have little faith in the companies opensourcing their drivers for at least 1-2 years because their secrets are their livelihood and they don't want competitors having access to them.
3. The ATI Linux drivers quite frankly suck right now. They're currently at the stage that nVidia was 3-4 years ago with Linux (working, but not on all distros, quite a few hacks in place), and I wasn't impressed in the least by them (hence I dumped my ATI card and purchased an nVidia one).
4. Sun is a lot different than Linux or FreeBSD. Sun is a software/hardware vendor with plenty of financial collateral behind them, so their getting support faster than FreeBSD is more likely, as long as the devs are there to support Solaris.
5. I did email ATI about support and apparently I sent my message to the wrong section (I should have requested a driver enhancement, not filed bug -- I hate some online forms and their lack of clarity). But since I purchased my nVidia card after the fact I never followed up on the reply I got from ATI. I highly doubt your message gets shuffled away into nowhere; it would create a bad corporate image to ignore current/potential customers ;).


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