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

Adrien Lamothe alamozzz at yahoo.com
Tue May 15 18:48:00 PDT 2007

AMD processors apparently are about to leapfrog Intel again. AMD expects to soon regain the performance lead and keep it until the end of 2008. Despite this, AMD definitely has to do something to gain market share. They actually have been doing well in the low and mid-range server market, where Sun Microsystems has been selling AMD based servers like they were hot cakes.

The big problem system vendors face, especially in the "consumer" end of the computer market, is that once they completely break away from Microsoft and WinTel, they may not be able to go back. So, unless they can make as much or more money after the break, they will be in big trouble. For this reason, I expect Linux to establish itself in a number of niche markets, with newer system manufacturers appearing to service those markets. Companies like ATI have to decide if the sum of those niche players equals the size of their current market.

krmdv at aim.com wrote:  I finally had a chance to speak with Spot about Christopher Blizzard's blog, and Spot did say that AMD was very vague with their statement at the Summit.  
 One thing to note, during the Red Hat Annual Kickoff meeting in March, AMD was a keynote speaker on one of the days.  AMD is obviously pushing their new AMD V chip sets and really want to continue the success they have had over Intel the past few years.  Obviously with the Pentium-D chipsets, AMD took a step forward while Intel had to fix their cooling problem.  Then multi-core hit, and next was Virtualization.  Intel has pretty much caught up from the Pent-D days, and are now starting to take more market share with the Virtualization support they provide.   Believe you me, AMD is watching this very closely and are pushing their AMD V chips very hard. 
 When we started the Q&A session, I was the first to ask AMD what their plans were for Graphic Driver Support.  They did give me the song and dance, but we at Red Hat have made it VERY clear that AMD must solve this problem.    I stressed that they open source frglx drivers and leverage the open source community.  They countered this quesitoning at the Summit with the response I had sent earlier.  Will this come to fruition?  I bevlieve it will.  AMD knows they need to get this fixed or Intel will leave them in the dust.  I work daily with one of the first T60p's that IBM/Intel released, and everday I wish I had a new T60p Developer model with the Intel i965 graphics chips.  If any of you have seen the new Gnome Desktop affects on RHEL5, then you will understand why I want the Intel Graphics chip :)
  I work with virtualization everyday and battle with the lack of graphics driver support for ATI with Xen.  There is one patch that is extremely outdated surfing around the net, but its not being maintained anymore :(  It really should not be that difficult for ATI, but I guess I we will have to wait and see...
 Hope to see you all really soon!
 -----Original Message-----
 From: rick at linuxmafia.com
 To: sf-lug at linuxmafia.com
 Sent: Thu, 10 May 2007 3:12 PM
 Subject: Re: [sf-lug] Hot From the Red Hat Press: AMD to Open Source ATI
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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