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Thread: UT2003

  1. #11


    yep, the new ati drivers can run ut2k3

  2. #12


    Well that's good news. I sure hope ATI keeps following through with letting it's 3d cards be open-source drivers.
    AMD Athlon 2200+ 1.8Ghz
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  3. #13


    Quote Originally Posted by SkyNet
    Well that's good news. I sure hope ATI keeps following through with letting it's 3d cards be open-source drivers.
    ATI is an active supporter of the open source community. Not like some other companies. We all know who they are. ;D You will see features and support for cards not present in the current open source driver sometime in the future.

    I will post a couple of comments Mike Harris made on the redhat-xfree86 mailing list.

    Jim H

  4. #14


    Comment #1

    From: Mike A. Harris <>
    Subject: Re: ATI releases Linux drivers
    Date: Sat, 23 Nov 2002 04:12:31 -0500 (EST)
    On Fri, 22 Nov 2002, Dave Reed wrote:

    >Yes, I made certain my Radeon 7500 was "built by ATI" when I
    >bought it. Does anyone know if the open source developers plan
    >to continue developing drivers for the new cards even those
    >these binary drivers will be out there?

    Do open source developers develop open source kernel drivers even
    though binary only kernel drivers may be available for the given
    hardware? Yes, of course. Why? Because of the benefits that
    open source provides.

    >Is ATI at least still releasing specs for their new cards so
    >drivers can be written (that's the reason I switched from NVidia
    >to ATI - I want to be able to upgrade my machine to the newer
    >Red Hat versions w/o worrying about the driver not working with

    I have not personally contacted ATI to get their latest specs for
    the 9x00 boards yet - mostly because I haven't needed the specs
    yet. I generally do not acquire docs for stuff until I need it,
    so I can't answer that question. My assumption is that docs are
    available as they always have been in the past.

    >If open source drivers are being written, I can be assured that
    >evenutally I can make that upgrade w/o losing the use of my
    >graphics card.

    It is impossible for anyone to answer that question. Until
    something exists, anything is nothing more than speculation.

    >If they're still releasing the specs and people are still
    >writing the drivers, I can live with buying a new card from ATI,
    >but if they've quit releasing their specs or there are no plans
    >for open source drivers, then there's no "moral" reason to buy
    >ATI and I'd look more closely at price, performance, etc. of ATI
    >vs. NVidia.

    ATI has not stopped supporting the open source community, and I
    see no reason why they would stop doing so. As I mentioned in a
    previous email, ATI contributed 2 large patches to
    this week (I receive all patch submissions automatically)
    implementing improved support, support for new hardware, and
    numerous other things.

    The biggest problem open source faces, is that 3D drivers are
    large, complex beasts, and take a LOT of time to develop.
    Writing 3D drivers requires a large range of skills, and
    understanding of kernel device driver programming, 3D hardware,
    OpenGL, Mesa, as well as XFree86 itself, and of 2D driver
    authoring. It is a large complex task, and takes a lot of
    dedicated time and effort to complete a driver. Anyone doing
    this on their spare time as a volunteer, is likely to take quite
    a long time to do it, and adding more developers only helps to a
    certain degree. (See Brooks law). Most of the work is work that
    needs to be completed serially, and so it doesn't lend well to
    parallel development by many people. As such, it makes sense if
    an open source project to support a given card is started 6-8
    months *after* the card hits the market, and is done by unfunded
    volunteers who have a real fulltime job doing something else, it
    is going to take a long time until we see support.

    And for the case of one of the vendors open sourcing their
    drivers, they have different reasons for not doing so, some are
    quite valid, and others are less valid.

    Some reasons a given random hardware (of any hardware) or
    software vendor might not open source their code:

    1) It may contain code they've licensed from some other company,
    and they may not have the right to open source it. Or it
    might contain patented algorithms, etc. that they have
    licenced from some other company and do not have the right to
    redistribute the soource.

    2) It may possibly contain patented intellectual property
    that they own, or even unpatented techniques, trade
    secrets, etc. and they do not want their competition to
    learn how it works, and then improve their own drivers.

    3) When a company open sources a driver, or any source code at
    all for that matter, they now run the risk that they may have
    infringed some patent UNKNOWINGLY in the code, and nobody ever
    knew, neither them, nor the person who's patent they might
    have infringed upon. An example being 2 completely different
    companies both inventing the same idea independantly without
    knowing it, and one of them patenting it. If the source code
    is released, the owner of the patent might end up reading the
    code and finding their patent used and suing the other
    company - even though no patent was knowingly violated by the
    other party. This is a very very SAD state of the patent
    system, but it is a fact of life.

    4) It is possible that a vendor has knowingly and purposefully
    infringed upon some patent, and simply does not want anyone to
    know abut it, as they could get sued. They simply wont ever
    release their code period.

    5) Their source code might be extremely hideous spagetti, and
    releasing it could be a major embarassment to them, in
    particular if paying customers see it. This could be a major
    black eye to the company for trying to do something good.

    6) Their code might do really really evil kernel hacks that
    sacrifice stability for speed, or other nastiness, and they
    do not want anyone to know about.

    7) Their code might violate the DMCA if open sourced (think of
    disabling copy protection on your TVout).

    There are many other possible reasons. I'm not trying to play
    devils advocate or anything, or justify why a company might not
    want to release their code as open source. I'm just trying to
    illustrate some of the reasons why a given company might decide
    not to open source.

    In the end, before a company open sources something, they are
    going to want to see what THEY get out of it. How does it
    benefit THEM, and their STOCKHOLDERS(TM). One could argue that
    by open sourcing one's drivers, the competition might be able to
    improve their own closed drivers, and that could possibly affect
    sales, and thus their stock price.

    So, it is not always a simple decision for a company to make on
    open sourcing their stuff. Do I personally want to see open
    source drivers? You bet! And I like many, want to see open
    source drivers, software, etc. regardless of all the other
    things, however - I do understand that a company may have some
    very good reasons for not doing so, and ultimately - they don't
    _owe_ us anything. It is up to us, the open source community, to
    both convince hardware vendors that open sourcing their drivers
    is good, and to show them how THEY will benefit. We can show
    them how WE benefit, but should they care? If we show them how
    THEY benefit, and allay any fears they may have, then it might be
    possible. However, the above points on patents ALWAYS will get
    in the way, as long as the United States, and some other
    countries have the stupid patent system and allow software
    patents to exist.

    Mike A. Harris
    OS Systems Engineer
    XFree86 maintainer
    Red Hat Inc.

  5. #15


    Comment #2

    On Fri, 22 Nov 2002, Dave Reed wrote:

    >I couldn't find source code - does anyone know if they plan to release
    >the source code for their drivers?

    The above drivers are ATI's proprietary drivers for XFree86.
    Originally, ATI produced proprietary drivers for their FireGL
    hardware. When the FireGL 8800 came out, they produced
    proprietary drivers for that as well. These are very high end
    boards that are very expensive, and not mainstream. At some
    point ATI decided that they would also tweak the drivers to work
    with the Radeon 8500 as well, since it is for the most part just
    a slower version of the FireGL 8800.

    While ATI was in the testing phase of testing the 8500 out with
    the FireGL drivers, someone else found out that the drivers
    worked with the 8500 too, and people posted to various lists that
    the FireGL drivers magically worked with the 8500 (like they were
    pulling one over on ATI, when in reality, ATI purposefully was
    working on supporting the 8500, but just hadn't announced it
    officially yet).

    Recently, ATI made an official announcement of Radeon 8500
    support in their drivers, and this latest announcement is just a
    newer driver version which also supports their newer Radeon 9x00
    hardware as well.

    These drivers are closed source, and most likely will remain that
    way, as they are merely provided to people mostly due to lots of
    people requesting it.

    ATI does however support open source as well, and contributes new
    open source 2D driver support for all of their new hardware to
    the XFree86 project very frequently. They also help developers
    such as myself, the DRI project, XFree86, GATOS and others by
    providing documentation to certain individuals, and in some cases
    providing sample hardware for open source development.

    ATI just sent patches to this week for example to add
    support for the Radeon 9500 chips, and fix many bugs, improve
    monitor detection and many other things.

    The DRI project is currently in the midst of completing open
    source Radeon 8500 3D support as well. This open source
    development would not have been possible without the help of ATI
    providing documentation, etc. to the DRI project.

    There is currently to my knowledge no project underway to
    implement open source support for Radeon 9x00 hardware, however
    it could be that it is being started quietly (as the 8500 support
    was), or it might be something that occurs sometime down the
    road. In general, open source support for new hardware like this
    is kept quiet until it reaches the state where it is remotely
    ready to be seen by the unwashed masses. Most developers I
    believe by now know if they acknowledge they are working on
    something, that they will be endlessly bombed with email and
    other communication daily asking if they can test things, asking
    if the code is ready, asking why it is not public, etc...

    In short, if you want to keep up to date with what hardware is
    supported by DRI with open source drivers, you might want to join
    the dri-devel mailing list. Judging by how long it will have
    taken to get Radeon 8500 support once it is released in an
    official XFree86 release, I believe it is fairly good assumption
    that it will take that long or longer to see open source 3D
    drivers for Radeon 9x00 as well.

    >This may motivate me to replace my Radeon 7500 with a 9700 (now
    >I can tell my wife what I want for Christmas :-)

    If you want open source 3D support, or want working 3D out of the
    box, right now the best card for 3D is the Radeon 7500. When
    XFree86 4.3.0 is released, if all goes well, then the Radeon 8500
    will fill that place.

    Radeon 9x00 hardware will have only closed source drivers for the
    immediate future. The difference now though, is that ATI is
    providing their customers with their drivers they've
    traditionally kept for their high end workstation customers, at
    least until open source drivers may appear.

    Hope this helps answer your questions.

    Take care,

    Mike A. Harris
    OS Systems Engineer
    XFree86 maintainer
    Red Hat Inc.

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