Re: [forum] Re: "Drivers? We don't need no stinking..."
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On Wed, 26 Mar 2003, Kendall Bennett wrote: > Sven Luther <email@example.com> 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. You are wrong on two counts: 1. There are quite a few people knowledgable about ATI hardware 2. ATI does provide documentation - which, in my opinion, has improved a lot. They have also switched their SDK to be Linux based (and not DOS/Watcom) Their binary drivers appear to be compiled versions of the SDK - though I am not certain abou this. best Vladimir Dergachev
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