Re: [forum] Re: "Drivers? We don't need no stinking..."
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Sven Luther <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: > > Vote with your dollars. If you are committed to the Open Source-only path, > > the don't by hardware from vendors that don't release docs. This has worked > > in the past, rarely. > > Well, but not these days anymore, what would you end buying ? > Nvidia is out, matrox was giving docs in the past, but with the new > hardware (parhelia), i think there are not so open anymore, true, > who would buy a parhelia, but still. ATI does release docs, but > they don't release all of them too, especially in the Video domain. > I don't really know about the others, but none release docs without > you signing an NDA (BTW, are all the docs you offered NDA clean ?), > and anyway, often you cannot even buy their hardware. There is actually a really good reason for this. The hardware vendors like ATI listened to the Open Source community and made a genuine attempt at fitting into the Open Source model. The paid to have Open Source drivers developed for the Linux platform (full 3D drivers, not just 2D ones) and has the full source code released to the community. They also made the specs for that generation of hardware available for the Open Source community as well. What did they get in return? A bunch of free software zealots constantly complaining that "this doesn't work" or "please add this feature" or "I think you should be doing this". Their responses was "you have the source and specs now, go and do it yourself!". In the end they essentially had almost nobody in the Linux community working on fixing bugs and enhancing the drivers that they had made an effort to release, so when it came to the next generation of chips, they decided to change their policy. If they were going to have to fix the bugs and do all the code maintenance themselves anyway, then why the hell should they release source code and specs! Hence ATI's latest drivers are like NVIDIA's, in that they are closed source and ATI solely is responsible for fixing bugs and doing enhancements. IMHO the Open Source community *had* a big chance to change the way that hardware companies support the Open Source community in the graphics area a year or so ago, but they blew it big time. When it counted, all the Open Source people simple sat on their arses and complained, rather than putting up and getting their feet wet doing real work (it also probably didn't help that it took forever for ATI's patches to make it into the XFree86 CVS tree either). You can bet your bottom dollar that Intel, Matrox, NVIDIA and other companies were watching these events very closely, and I don't believe there is anything you will ever do to change their minds again now. NVIDIA was also completely closed from the start, and now with both Matrox and ATI going closed source and closed specs with their latest generation of hardware, I am sure they feel completely justified in the approach that they took (I just wish they would see the value in working with third parties under NDA like the other companies do however). Regards, --- Kendall Bennett Chief Executive Officer SciTech Software, Inc. Phone: (530) 894 8400 http://www.scitechsoft.com ~ SciTech SNAP - The future of device driver technology! ~
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