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Displays Graphics Software Linux

S3 Graphics Responds About Linux Support 114

Posted by timothy
from the progress-is-progress dept.
V!NCENT writes "Phoronix has an update on S3's Linux driver state: 'We are doing an internal build of the Chrome 500 Linux driver to incorporate some of the additional hardware features and upgrades (over the Chrome 400 Series GPUs). If you want to test the Linux now, the Chrome 400 Series drivers also support the Chrome 500 Series since it is a unified driver architecture.'" (This after the beef that Phoronix raised about S3's failure to deliver on promises of better Linux support for the 500 series.)
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S3 Graphics Responds About Linux Support

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  • I bet (Score:5, Funny)

    by jetsci (1470207) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @05:06PM (#26943595) Homepage Journal
    that this wouldn't fly with Windows. They always get top of the line drivers delivered promptly...

    /jealous
    • Re:I bet (Score:5, Informative)

      by Darkness404 (1287218) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @05:24PM (#26943757)

      They always get top of the line drivers delivered promptly...

      What version of Windows have you been using? Most Windows drivers are horrible! They require third-party apps to be run in order to use the hardware, frequently install "quick start" or other memory hog applications to be run always in the background, usually break when going from different Windows versions (and sometimes service packs), have little to no maintenance, are a pain to install, impossible to find without the CD or going to a site that seems suspicious, and more often than not are the cause of all Windows crashes.

      Sure, Windows has more third-party drivers than Linux, but Windows drivers are not quality, not at all.

      • Re:I bet (Score:5, Informative)

        by whoever57 (658626) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @05:42PM (#26943913) Journal
        I have recently found that ATI doesn't support XP SP3 for their legacy hardware. Try to install it and it claims that there is no compatible hardware.
        • by hairyfeet (841228)
          How legacy are we talking here? How old, which card? If you are going to make a statement like that please give details because I have a lot of clients using seriously old hardware with SP3(including one with an 8MB Matrox card) and so far no problems. So please give us some details.
          • by whoever57 (658626)

            How legacy are we talking here? How old, which card?

            Any of the Rage cards. Rage 128/128 Pro, Rage Pro, Rage XL, so I guess we are talking about cards introduced 10 years ago.

            • by fishnuts (414425)

              I beg to differ. I put a Rage 128 Pro (with capture) in my shuttle/athlon box, because the on-board S3 save sucked ass and used shared memory. XP SP3 recognized it without a hitch, and I just had to install ATI's older catalyst software to use the capture and enable the advanced video control panel tabs.

              • by whoever57 (658626)

                I beg to differ. I put a Rage 128 Pro (with capture) in my shuttle/athlon box, because the on-board S3 save sucked ass and used shared memory. XP SP3 recognized it without a hitch, and I just had to install ATI's older catalyst software to use the capture and enable the advanced video control panel tabs.

                Yes, SP3 installs MS's slow driver. As to ATI's driver -- I can't find a way to get it installed. All that is on AMD's site is the driver/software bundle, which refuses to install on my system because it

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by hairyfeet (841228)
              Let the old repair guy give you a hand there bud. And here [amd.com] you go. If that one don't work look up your specific model at driverguide [driverguide.com]. It requires a registration, but it is free to register and takes less than 5 minutes. I hope this sets you to rights.
      • They require third-party apps to be run in order to use the hardware, frequently install "quick start" or other memory hog applications to be run always in the background

        Frequent for Printers and Webcams perhaps, but even so, not always required.

        Take my Logitech Webcam (Communicate STX) for example. Yes, it installs a tray utility and a Windows Service, both of which can be disabled and the camera functions perfectly. In Linux? Dead as a doornail.

        • by Xabraxas (654195)
          The Communicate STX should work with the gspca driver included in the kernel although I haven't tried it myself. My Logitech Notebook Pro works fne with the UVC driver.
        • The Communicate STX works perfectly in Linux. That's the reason I bought the cam in the first place.

      • Re:I bet (Score:5, Insightful)

        by GF678 (1453005) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @07:12PM (#26944563)

        Sure, Windows has more third-party drivers than Linux, but Windows drivers are not quality, not at all.

        God I get really angry sometimes at comments like this. People assume that their own experiences are all that counts.

        My experiences:

        * My Intel X3100 (965GM) graphics chipset runs faster and supports OpenGL 2 in Windows instead of running far slower and only OpenGL 1.4 in Linux. So, it's faster and more capable. I can even do things like force aspect ration when running at a lower resolution, something I can't do with these drivers in Linux.

        * My old Canon inkjet printer provides more information in Windows. I can bring up a window showing the ink levels so I can have a rough estimate as to when I should go out to get more cartridges. I can also force a manual clean of the heads if necessary, something I cannot do with the generic drivers in Linux.

        * My Realtek HD audio audio chipset has a really dodgy volume ramp-up in Linux. From about 0% to 50% it is fairly steady, but quiet. From 50% onwards it seems to change the amount of volume that is increased per each percentage tick. It's not linear. Very annoying since I end up lacking the fine-grained volume control that I can get with the drivers in Windows. A change in a volume tick in Windows at the higher levels is subtle, but in Linux it's much more noticeable. Might not sound like a big issue but it is when the volume doesn't work like your brain thinks it should!

        * My webcam in Windows has additional controls such as horizontal mirroring of the image, automatic gain control, etc. I am not presented with such functions in Linux due to the primitive development of webcam drivers.

        So in short - if you ignore what DOESN'T work very well in Linux, well then no wonder a lot of people try it, find it lacking and go back to Windows. Things will never improve in ignorance.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Xabraxas (654195)
          Well I have found that jack shit works with 64-bit versions of Windows and since I left 32-bit land 2 years ago I don't really want to go back. 64-bit driver support is definitely subpar compared to Linux. Hell, the whole 64-bit environment is subpar on Windows compared to Linux.
          • by daybot (911557) *

            [Windows] 64-bit driver support is definitely subpar compared to Linux. Hell, the whole 64-bit environment is subpar on Windows compared to Linux.

            Ah fuck it. The whole environment is subpar on Windows compared to Linux!

          • by GF678 (1453005)

            Which version of 64-bit Windows though, XP or Vista?

            Windows XP 64-bit is considered to be pretty crap, but Vista 64-bit is quite nice. For the record, every device on my laptop has a 64-bit driver providing exactly the same features and capabilities as the 32-bit ones, which was nice when I made the jump to 64-bit.

            But what do I know, apart from how to use computers. Heh.

            • by niteice (793961)
              I'm reasonably certain that to get the full Vista WHQL logo a manufacturer has to provide both 32-bit and 64-bit drivers.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          God I get really angry sometimes at comments like this. People assume that their own experiences are all that counts.

          My experiences, on the other hand, should be taken into consideration as something that counts.

          Wait, what?

          • by rusl (1255318)

            yeah!

            I wish I had more experience like the unrealistically linux optimistic guy than the pro-windows troll.

            Unfortunately most hardware drivers I have encountered are less capable or user friendly in linux.

            However, linux makes up for it by being so much more sane, something that makes sense and I can fix if broken, something with the most awesome free tools and most of the advice about it is useful vs. for windoze the advice is to either reboot or buy something I don't need. Also the hardware interaction isn

        • Re:I bet (Score:4, Informative)

          by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Sunday February 22, 2009 @08:34AM (#26947871) Homepage

          It varies. Lets leave it at that.

          The HP Printer drivers for Linux are *far* superior to the Windows ones in every way.
          Not only are they on SourceForge (but made by HP themselves), but they support every feature you can name. Network printing, fax, scanner, card reader and so on.
          Checking the ink levels is more precise than on Windows.
          They all tie in properly with the appropriate Linux subsystems. CUPS, Sane, etc...

          FYI I'm using one of their networked multifunction centers.
          Network autodetection on Linux is quick and painless and using it over the network doesnt add/remove any features compared to USB.

          Not to mention that the Windows drivers are 250mb to download, and the Linux ones are 11mb for the same thing.

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          * My Realtek HD audio audio chipset has a really dodgy volume ramp-up in Linux. From about 0% to 50% it is fairly steady, but quiet. From 50% onwards it [...]

          Sorry to pick up on only one point, and it doesn't invalidate your argument, but:

          I've come across this before, and the chances are that what you're seeing is due to the windows drivers (in this one instance) not making full use of the hardware. Start alsamixer in a terminal, and check that each fader isn't showing more than 0dB gain. If it is, it's almost certainly only really adding distortion, and that's probably what's causing you to feel the volume change so much.

      • They require third-party apps to be run in order to use the hardware, frequently install "quick start" or other memory hog applications to be run always in the background....

        While often included, I have never known that trash to be strictly necessary to use the hardware. I just use that New Hardware Detected Wizard to select the .inf and .sys files from the CD (and favor .zip over .exe drivers from online).
        nVidia is a major thorn in my side over this issue.

        • Sometimes the extra apps are needed for some hardware-provided functionality, like running the display in portrait mode rather than landscape, color correction options, and for some of the odder resolution and multi-display options.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      They always get top of the line drivers delivered promptly...

      No, but whatever they're getting tends to be better than Linux users of the same hardware is getting. There are quite a few companies out there that seem to live in some kind of Dilbertish "What suckers can we fool into buying our product today?" and screw repurchases. Pretty much all this hardware with crap windows drivers are linux paperweights. Companies with good windows drivers are a mixed bunch when it comes to Linux support, but very few and far between are any examples I can think of where the Linux drivers are better. End result is that there's a smaller selection of Linux friendly quality hardware than quality hardware in general, and if you buy crap then really no OS will help you. No real surprise there.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Xabraxas (654195)
        It all depends on what you're doing. My linux wireless drivers support monitor mode and injection while the Windows drivers do not. Other than that there is nothing I can think of that the Windows wireless drivers do that my Linux wireless drivers cannot do.
  • by LordKaT (619540) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @05:09PM (#26943623) Homepage Journal

    Who the heck are these people using S3 cards nowadays? Why aren't they buying low-end (sub-$80) nvidia or ATI cards?

    You get practically the same performance (although 3D performance is far and away better on comparable nVidia/ATI cards) for the same price, the same small heatsink/fan, and better driver support.

    Is there a populous of severely brain damaged geeks out there that I don't know about? If so, are any of you female, because I've been feeling lonely lately.

    • Is there a populous of sverely brain damaged geeks out there that I don't know about

      No, there is a population of PC buyers where 80$ is important and that aren't geeks.

      • Is that not the same price that an "S3" card commands?

        I had infered that from the GP post but perhaps I Just assumed so incorrectly?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      most low-end motherboards with via chipsets come with s3 graphics onboard.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jurily (900488)

      Who the heck are these people using S3 cards nowadays?

      Tough question... the last S3 card I've seen was a 2Mb Trio.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Heather D (1279828)

        Who the heck are these people using S3 cards nowadays?

        Tough question... the last S3 card I've seen was a 2Mb Trio.

        Truth that. An old ATi or Nvidea card is a better buy and is more available as well. The only market I can see for them is OEM integrated and brick and mortar sales and I haven't seen an S3 card for sale in a local store since the 90's.

    • by SaDan (81097) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @05:57PM (#26944027) Homepage

      As an AC previously stated, motherboards with VIA's integrated video use the Chrome drivers.

      I bought an Everex laptop that uses Chrome9 drivers, and it doesn't do bad for what it is ($300 laptop running Ubuntu).

      My wife's PC is also an Everex system with a VIA integrated video using Chrome drivers. It's the $200 system Wal-Mart was selling a while ago.

      Why pay for a video card that costs half as much, or more, than the entire system? Video performance is acceptable for day-to-day use, even playing YouTube videos.

    • by Average (648) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @07:49PM (#26944819)

      There's the evangelism perspective.

      Look, if you're like me, and been primarily Linux-using since the a.out days (see Slashdot ID), you'll check every component and buy based on "what works great with Linux", and even "who's directly advancing open-source software, not being buttheads".

      Problem is, I, and much of the Linux community, want to be able to give an Ubuntu LiveCD to my friend Joe who just recently heard about this 'Linux thing". And have it work.

      I don't want to say "so, what kind of video chipset did eMachines put in your Walmart box", "what network", "what sound".

      • by Xabraxas (654195)
        The biggest issue I have run into is Lexmark printer support. It seems like everyone and their mom has either a "free" Lexmark printer or a "free" Dell printer that simply doesn't work with Linux. Intel has such a huge share of graphics drivers, wireless drivers, and chipset drivers that hardware support for the actual machine is usually very good in my experience but the peripherals and sometimes the specific applications like Quickbooks are what kills the deal. I love Linux but I don't promote it to ot
        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Thank you! Give tha man a cigar! That is why I quit selling low cost Linux boxes at my shop. Here Lexmark is king with a good 90%+ marketshare. Are you going to tell your clients that they have to throw out their all in one that they are quite happy with for a new OS? Me neither. Here they can get a Lexmark all in one for $40, often $30 if they are having a sale or if you add in the extras like photo paper bundled with them. And Walgreen's refills the carts for $10 each, so no problem there.

          If the Linux

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Xabraxas (654195)

            If the Linux guys want Linux to make serious inroads into the consumer markets they HAVE to support Lexmark.

            I have a better idea. Let's destroy Lexmark so no one has to deal with their crappy printers anymore! ;)

          • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Well, to each his own, it's your store... but at our surplus we sell 100% Ubuntu systems. I get FAR fewer returns than with when I used to sell (some) Windows systems.. they'd buy one, get viruses and crap IMMEDIATELY, and then want to bring it back or have someone "fix it" for them. (Which would be a great source of additional income, but we are not an actual store, we are a surplus disposal store so we are not to provide support except for hardware faults, and don't have the staff to do it either.)

          • by spitzak (4019)

            All the free printers I have seem to be Canon, so I'm not sure what you are talking about. There are two of those in the garage and the printer I have wired up is Canon as well.

            If somebody said "Luser get another printer" it is unlikely they would say "LOL winblowz", they would instead say "lexmark blows". You seem so proud of how condescending you can be that you cannot even get it right. And your childish attitude does not help get your point across you know. If you can document people acting that way, th

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)

      Who the heck are these people using S3 cards nowadays? Why aren't they buying low-end (sub-$80) nvidia or ATI cards?

      Who are these people buying graphics cards now? More than 50% of all sales of new computers have been laptops for a while, and they tend not to have their graphics chip on a removable board. Even desktops are more likely to use on-board video than anything else. And a lot of cheap machines in both segments come with onboard S3 graphics. Sure, they only have 1% of the total market share (Q4 2008 figures), but that still translates to a huge number of units.

    • by fenix849 (1009013)
      I think you're probably for getting a whole subcategory of users.

      Laptops users, one of the best laptops i've laid hands on the Thinkpad T22 had an S3 graphics card in it. (it could have been even better if they had chosen a s decent gfx card).
    • by knewter (62953)

      When S3 has an open source driver and decent performance, I will buy it over a comparable nvidia card + proprietary driver any day.

    • by bootup (1220024)
      If they put out a an open source graphics driver that worked well with suspend to ram in GNU/Linux then I would be one of them using their chipsets. When I was looking at laptops recently one of the few notebooks I found that was light weight, slim, available without MS Windows, and fully supported in GNU/Linux with open source drivers was a notebook that used an S3 graphics chipset. The only problem was it lacked support (at least an open source 3d accelerated driver) for that chipset.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 21, 2009 @05:18PM (#26943717)

    It is common for companies to issue 'forward looking' statements and clueless positive outlook synergestic lies. Usually by marketing, sales and PR, they totally ignore the engineers, developers or any other employee that may actually know what the fuck they are talking about, and quite often sneer at them for 'not getting it'.

    It is a syndrome that is quite common - a scientist says something like 'global warming is a problem'. Put a guy in a suit, call him a CEO or a politician, and his 'I'm confident . . .' bullshit will win almost every time.

    So I simply refuse to believe ANY STATEMENT by these guys - they have ZERO credibility left.

     

    • ... is that not only are you completely right, you're also one of the few (perhaps 2% at most) of the entire consumer base (which of course includes law makers) that even would notice such a trend in PR practices in general. The bulk of the rest of the population either doesn't care enough to pay attention or isn't smart enough to.

      • by Xabraxas (654195)
        To me that's one of the benefits of open source. The developers are generally pretty honest about what their project can and cannot do. Too many times in the proprietary world companies claim all sorts of stuff that simply isn't true about their products. I guess that is one of the advantages of dealing with the programmers directly instead of salesmen.
  • Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @05:27PM (#26943783)
    These days, its sad if a hardware manufacturer doesn't support Linux. There are plenty of people literally begging for the specs of hardware so they can write clean, proper and free Linux drivers. If you are going to make low-end hardware as S3 does, you better make sure that Linux compatibility is one of the first things on you list.
    • Re:Sad (Score:4, Funny)

      by whoever57 (658626) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @05:39PM (#26943881) Journal
      S3 is obviously worried about their advanced technology being stolen by nVidia and AMD if they publish an open-source driver or the specs required to write such a driver.

      Clearly, as S3 slipped behind the competition in video card performance, they also let the clue train get away.
      • by 0123456 (636235)

        S3 is obviously worried about their advanced technology being stolen by nVidia and AMD if they publish an open-source driver or the specs required to write such a driver.

        They're probably more worried that they're violating some patent that they don't even know about, and hence don't want to give Nvidia or ATI any ammunition to beat them with.

        This is one of the reasons why the hardware company I used to work for was reluctant to give away programming information to open source developers.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Also why AMD took so long fulfilling it's promise on R600/700 3d Docs: They had the WHOLE reference run over by lawyers to make sure what got out wouldn't be something that 'came back' as it were :D

    • by LingNoi (1066278)

      Begging? I doubt it. I bet no one has even bothered to phone up the head office and contact someone, and no, email doesn't count.

      If someone bothered to officially contact the company I bet they'd get specs right away. Problem is computer hackers don't think like that, they send an email which reaches the lowest area of support staff, it gets deleted and they give up then bitch on slashdot.

      • by Rysc (136391) *

        And how would you contact a company except by sending them email? If I want to contact a company I'll find their web site, find a contact link and send an email. I cannot imagine what else you might do. Same procedure except finding and calling a phone number might be an option, but it is even less likely you'd get an intelligent result.

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      If you are going to make low-end hardware as S3 does, you better make sure that Linux compatibility is one of the first things on you list.

      Why?

      Not trying to troll, but I'm looking for an actual reason here.

  • Download (Score:2, Informative)

    by djupedal (584558)
    ...just so people know...the linux driver available for download is at least 3 months old.

    Chrome 400 Series: Linux Display Driver - x86
    File Name
    S3G-Linux-x86-Chrome4x.14.02.01.tar.bz2 (11,334KB)
    Version     Version: 14.02.01
    Date: 11/19/2008
    Description     Release Type: Beta
    - Initial release
    GPU IDs: 9043, 9045
  • by SaDan (81097) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @06:04PM (#26944081) Homepage

    http://linux.via.com.tw/ [via.com.tw]

    Get your latest Linux drivers there. I went there to get better drivers for the two VIA systems I own that rely on Chrome drivers, and the newer drivers worked great.

    S3's product site is here: http://www.s3graphics.com/en/products/ [s3graphics.com]

    • You are one of a small percentage of people where the drivers actually work out of the box it would seem. For the rest of us we have to contend with figuring out xorg.conf and the one magical permutation out of thousands that will bring our P.O.S. S3 chip to life. To be sure, once you do figure it out it all works great - Next kernel upgrade and things go back to the shit and you start over again.

      VIA, I hope you are reading this, your linux drivers are crap. You guys build the damn chips, so when I type ./i

      • by SaDan (81097)

        VIA's drivers ARE a work in progress. At least they offer SOMETHING to the Linux world, though.

        I do know my way around xorg conf files, and have no qualms compiling bits and pieces from third parties to tack onto my Linux based OS (I've never had problems with ATI cards under Linux either). That being said, when I did have troubles with the newer drivers from VIA, they were quick to respond to my emails, and they were helpful.

        VIA fell out of favor with me back when AMD relied on them for the bulk of their

        • Indeed you are right, I'm not saying they don't deserve a shot, quite the opposite. I hope they succeed, not only for the competition but because I have a fair amount of money invested in their tech. They've been around a long time now, might be fairly new on the Linux scene, and you are right in that they do respond to email and are quite helpful at times, but their drivers are still woeful in regards to set up and documentation.

          Thanks for the reply.

  • How do you know that there isn't a bug in modinfo? Look at the driver not at modinfo.

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