[rescue] x86 power question

Charles Shannon Hendrix shannon at widomaker.com
Wed Nov 15 00:14:04 CST 2006

Tue, 14 Nov 2006 @ 17:03 -0500, Sridhar Ayengar said:

> I'm hoping for decent UNIX support for their graphics chips.  AMD has 
> always been great in this regard and ATI has been hopeless.

The other nice thing about that happening is pressure on nVidia to

They produce decent drivers for Windows, Linux, and FreeBSD, but nothing

If AMD/ATI will produce good drivers and also good documentation, we
might see good drivers for a lot of platforms.

Of course, it won't be the panacae people think it would be, to have
documentation for a GPU.

GPUs are very difficult to program, and the political/business side of
it might be even more difficult for an open source project.

I'm not sure any open source group is up to all of that.

The skills.... probably, given time.  Maybe a couple of years and the
project would gain the people it needed.

But what I think will be hard is the following:

Liason work with software vendors.  They would have to be active on this
part so they know what is desired in the future.

The discipline to maintain compatibility, reliability, and software
polish. This is a huge problem in the open source world. For example,
the Gnome project. Looks neat, has a lot of features, but is almost
totally lacking in project discipline, stability of the API, design, an
features (so 3rd parties can maintain software easier), and reliability.

Liason work with the owners of IP and patents in the 3D industry. That's
just a fact, and an open source GPU project would have to be willing to
leave GNU-like politics aside. A GPU project would almost certainly have
to be a truly free license.

R&D: the project would stagnate without this.  If they can't get
permission to use the research of others, then they'd have to be willing
and able to do it themselves.

Liason work with kernel developers. Right now there are no standards
for interfacing GPUs to the various operating systems, which is really
silly. It's 2006 and we are supposed to know how to do this kind of
thing. A major stumbling block to this kind of effort is the Linux
kernel hackers and their refusal to create and maintain a stable binary
API. The irony of that move is that it is bad for open source software,
which they claim to be trying to protect.

Not impossible tasks, but I really think that all the people crying out
for an open source GPU project have very little understanding of just
how much work that would involve and how deeply it would interact with
the politics of open source.

shannon "AT" widomaker.com -- ["Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny." --

More information about the rescue mailing list