AMD unleashes open-source 3D code
Big bang in the GPUniverse
AMD has released "the fundamental Linux code" needed to develop open-source 3D-acceleration drivers for its R600 and R700 ATI graphic-processors series.
This is good news not only for those wishing to create drivers for those potent GPU series - known to non-AMD watchers by their marketing names of ATI Radeon HD 2x00, HD 3x00 (both R600), and Radeon HD 4x00 (R700) - but also for the legions of non-coding Linux-lovers who are lusting for access to the R600/700's 3D powers.
According to a Phoronix, the bulk of the credit goes to AMD engineers John Bridgman and Alex Deucher, who "sanitized" the code of all proprietary non-essentials, then shepherded its approval through the AMD honcho-gauntlet so that it could be released "without any NDAs or other string [sic] attached."
Coupled with AMD's announcement that it would support the recently released open-source OpenCL 1.0 spec, which enables GPUs to be used for general-purpose computing (GPGPU), it appears that the GPUniverse is moving slowly but steadily towards an Open Source Software (OSS) model - although Nvidia, from all reports, is dragging its feet when it comes to open-sourcing its drivers.
The OSS future looks bright for GPUs: Intel is open with its drivers and AMD is catching - has caught? - up. Apple introduced OpenCL, and Intel, Nvidia, and AMD/ATI have announced their support. OSS development should proceed apace, both in 3D acceleration and GPGPU.
As one poster on Slashdot waxed enthusiastically, such power would be "useful for cracking WEP/WPA keys." ®
@ A J
Well... I would confess some ignorance of BIOS specifics, but I am not sure you are right. BIOS is the interface between the core Mobo hardware and the OS level at load time, innit? Afterwards...? Sometimes I guess the OS hits the HW directly sometimes not. Speaking as a application dev, I think it would make sense to use the BIOS to decouple HW + OS a bit. Or at least query the BIOS to ask the HW capabilities?
Regardless of the theoretical underpinnings, my M2A-VM flat out refused to boot under Ubuntu 7.10 until I had flashed its BIOS to a more recent version than what came in the box. After flashing, the same Ubuntu kernel managed to boot up. Since then, and even after Ubuntu 8.10 , things have been mostly OK, except for intermittent refusals to load USB sticks. Which, of course, some in the Ubuntu community blame on... the BIOS. Who's right???
But, seriously, the Ubuntu team is doing an _amazing_ job and is very, very, much the exact opposite of "crappy-OS-Alex" and his fanboy chums. I think they are greatly improving Linux, mostly because of the newfound example they are giving of respecting end users who aren't making a living as sysadmins.
I seriously doubt it's anything to do with the BIOS. Once a Linux kernel (and its initial RAM disk) is in memory, it has no further truck with the BIOS. That's why in 2.4 at least, you had to have certain drivers compiled right into the kernel. Modern 2.6 kernels can just load modules from the initrd.
Anyway, this is great news. Now, if only someone would pass a law requiring full Source Code disclosure .....
"I do...you don't deserve any stability on that crappy OS."
Glad to see 2009 hasn't seen the end of immaturity and fanboy-ness. Always find it amusing when freetards resent people being free to choose their OS.
On another note, if AMD would extend that to their mobos as well, I would be happy. My Asus M2A-VM (AMD chipset) has been really buggy under Ubuntu. Running under XP, it is much better behaved. My guess is that the BIOS is dodgy and XP is better at working around it. More likely, the BIOS is written just well enough to avoid going belly up with XP. More openness will surely help here.
As Lou stated: Guys, you are selling hardware, so stop being so dimwitted about firmware + driver specs. Many of us will give preference to companies who are more open (iPods being my guilty exception here).