[sf-lug] Hot From the Red Hat Press: AMD to Open Source ATI

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu May 10 15:12:06 PDT 2007

Quoting krmdv at aim.com (krmdv at aim.com):

> Sorry for not making any of the recent meetings, but duty calls with
> work sometimes :) Anyway, I thought my friends in the SF LUG would
> like to hear the announcement of AMD is going to Open Source its
> Graphic Drivers. 
>> AMD will soon deliver open graphics drivers, said Henri Richard just
>> a few minutes ago, and the audience at the opening keynote of the Red
>> Hat Summit broke into applause and cheers. Richard, AMD's executive
>> vice president of sales and marketing, promised: "I'm here to commit
>> to you that it's going to get done." He also promised that AMD is
>> "going to be very proactive in changing way we interface with the
>> Linux community."...
> http://enterpriselinuxlog.blogs.techtarget.com/2007/05/09/amd-will-deliver-open-graphics-drivers/

We can certainly hope that Henri Richard actually _meant_ what the
unidentified TechTarget blogger claimed he said -- but less giddy
listeners have pointed out that Richard seems to have, actually,
carefully avoiding stating any specific commitment, and never actually
said anything about _open source_ drivers at all; that such comments are 
strictly in the minds of others _about_ what he said.

Don Marti at http://www.linuxworld.com/community/?q=node/556 has:

   ATI getting its act together on licensing?
   Submitted by dmarti on Wed, 05/09/2007 - 6:12pm.

   Live from the Red Hat summit: ATI marketing guy makes happy 
   noises about open source drivers, promises nothing specific. [link]
   (That's one step ahead of the old "our customers prefer proprietary 
   drivers" line.)

   Chris Ball comments,[link] "If AMD/ATI were serious, the first 
   thing they could do would be to allow Dave Airlie to release the 
   open-source drivers he's *already written*."

   Is Intel's pioneering move on drivers having an effect? See you at
   FreedomHEC[link] -- yes, we'll have Jamey Sharp of X there along 
   with many of the kernel crowd.

Commentary at Christopher Blizzard's blog entry (Don's first link)
includes other skeptics.  Kernel coder Dave Jones said:

   I had conversations with ATI years ago at OLS where they said pretty
   much the same thing. I wouldn't hold your breath.

"Axel" wrote:

  "commited to fixing the problem" could mean anything. Once there are
  actual open source drivers for modern ATI graphics cards, I will
  celebrate. Until then, I'm just waiting for Intel to release a 
  standalone graphics card with DVI out.

Christopher Blizzard replied:

  Well see what they do. Spot pointed out that he didn't say "open
  source", but the context for the statement was that they want to open
  up specs for people to be able to use the GPUs as more general purpose
  processors. I don't care if they open up their drivers or not, just as
  long as we have the support and the specs to be able to write our own.

  People are skeptical, and rightfully so, but I suspect that something
  here has changed. I'll try to gather more information during this week
  and see if I can get something more concrete on the topic. 

(And, in conclusion, Go, Intel i965!)

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