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AMD Graphics Linux

XBMC Developers Criticize AMD's Linux Driver 212

Posted by timothy
from the pss-there's-a-conspiracy dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It's not only the NVIDIA Linux driver that has been publicly slammed over lacking support; the AMD Catalyst driver is now facing scrutiny from developers of the XBMC media and entertainment software. The developers aren't happy with AMD due to not properly supporting video acceleration under Linux. The AMD Linux driver is even lacking support for MPEG2 video acceleration and newer levels of H.264. AMD reportedly has the support coded, but they're refusing to turn it on in their public Linux driver."
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XBMC Developers Criticize AMD's Linux Driver

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  • by txsable (169665) on Friday June 22, 2012 @12:02PM (#40413457) Homepage

    What leeches? The drivers don't cost the user anything extra (far as I know?). If I've already paid for the hardware, I expect drivers that work and support all the functionality, and there is no valid excuse for any hardware manufacturer to withhold them.

  • Actually I care... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Friday June 22, 2012 @12:03PM (#40413465) Homepage Journal

    Just this past week I rebuilt my HTPC going from Boxee (which orphaned its support of Linux) and went to XBMC. I have personal knowledge of the dumb problems with the Catalyst driver.

    XBMC is a project whose users take a lot of advantage of old hardware. The other part are dealing with small form factor hardware. A lot of it does happen to be proprietary garbage. In my case I purchased a Dell Zino [wikipedia.org] several years ago for the task. There isn't much choice about for these items, and rolling you own at this size is often clunky (though a lot more feasible now than 3 or so years ago). You're going to find a lot of Nvidia (no fucking way) and AMD.

    So you have one group of people that are re purposing and one group with specialty hardware. Not a lot of hardware choice in either, really.

    So, yeah, this is a big deal. There is no real reason from my point of view not to provide a good driver for my platform of choice.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 22, 2012 @12:03PM (#40413477)

    Windows users don't pay for their video drivers. Both Windows and Linux users have paid the same amount for the hardware, though. You must be kind of stupid.

  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Friday June 22, 2012 @12:08PM (#40413549) Homepage Journal

    This is a dumbass troll, but I have to bite this one... how the hell do you figure this true?

    We're generally not the people calling support for help, we're the ones finding the answer and sending it in for free.

    Now go away and get an push-up pop.

  • by simcop2387 (703011) on Friday June 22, 2012 @12:17PM (#40413655) Homepage Journal

    Not yet, AMD hasn't opened up the specs of the hardware video decoder for fear of DRM and other problems with it. There is work being done to do the decoding with the shader processor and it sort of works for mpeg2 (at least for me anyway) but not for anything more advanced. For the nvidia open source drivers i believe it's the same situation.

  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Friday June 22, 2012 @12:20PM (#40413701) Homepage Journal

    The only reason it is a "poorly supported platform" is that they are CHOOSING to support it poorly.

  • by obarthelemy (160321) on Friday June 22, 2012 @12:21PM (#40413707)

    Well, drivers advertised as available at the time you purchased the hardware should be available and supported well enough. Drivers not advertised, on the other hand... OEMs can't support each and every OS, kernel version, ... especially when the market share is marginal, and revenue almost nil.

    I understand that sucks and, frankly, it's the main thing that' keeping me away, again and again, from Linux. But I also understand that companies are not charities and have to make a business case for investing $$$ in dev and support. Especially when, as is probably the case here, there's 3rd party IP in the mix, which would cost a lot to buy out and "open", or replicate w/o getting embroiled in endless lawsuits.

  • by SJHillman (1966756) on Friday June 22, 2012 @12:22PM (#40413719)

    He was replying to the AC that was apparently saying Linux shouldn't be supported because those users don't pay for software (generally). The AC which you replied to was simply pointing out the original AC's argument was faulty because Windows users don't pay for the software in question either. However, both Windows and Linux users paid the same price for the hardware, the price of which includes support for the drivers. If they offer Linux drivers, then it's only fair to expect the same level of support offered for other platforms.

  • Re:Oh No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Friday June 22, 2012 @12:30PM (#40413839)

    Yeah, only losers have choices.

    Yes; seems like I'm a bloody "lucky" winner. I bought a reasonably top end AMD card specifically because they promised open source support. Of course it turns out that only the proprietary driver works properly. Fine "support is coming; they do the right thing and give over the documentation; install it for now and to free later; I don't mind". Except that because it's stupid proprietary code it doesn't get automatically distributed by my distro vendor (today that's Ubuntu; who knows tomorrow). Every time I get an X-org update it breaks.

    I really don't care about the high speed graphics most of the time. The free driver will be fine. Just make sure they have the specs so that the colours can be made to come out right on decent monitors and I will buy your stuff. AMD; you almost have our goodwill; You've already made the investment; Just go that last few inches; get it finished and make sure you fully cooperate with the developers. We will pay extra for your stuff. We will be glad to never see NVIDIA again. You will get better integration to Android. This will be worth it.

  • Re:Oh No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by networkBoy (774728) on Friday June 22, 2012 @12:33PM (#40413865) Homepage Journal

    Not to be too much of a shill, but this is one area Intel seems to always be better.
    Their Gfx performance may not be up to the other two, but their support is better.
    Maybe Intel should takeover nVidia :-) *
    -nB

    * when pigs fly I assume

  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Friday June 22, 2012 @12:35PM (#40413887) Homepage Journal

    Fine. Don't support Linux. If you say you support Linux, then REALLY support it. There shouldn't be a middle ground in this issue. It's pretty simple.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Friday June 22, 2012 @12:41PM (#40413957) Homepage

    Intel cooperates with the community. That doesn't mean that their kit is better or that the associated drivers are better. It also doesn't make them a premium option of any kind.

    That cooperation also hasn't led to feature or support parity with the Nvidia blob.

    Intel is the same sort of force bundled cheap stuff that AMD is.

  • Re:Their wishlist (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 22, 2012 @12:44PM (#40414001)

    That's not the point. Offloading to a GPU for built in HW decoding means low power CPUs can control full HD media without breaking into a sweat. You don't need a full HTPC when you can have a simple and 100x cheaper SoC. Scene isn't everything, 4.1 hasn't been the baselines for several years even if the spec itself covers what the scene release.

  • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Friday June 22, 2012 @12:48PM (#40414059) Journal
    I think that my next one will have Intel graphics. They are not the top boys in terms of raw power, but their drivers are open source, and their linux support apparently complete. That makes them probably decent competitors to NVidia/ATI
  • by dark12222000 (1076451) on Friday June 22, 2012 @01:00PM (#40414243)
    You clearly have no idea what you are talking about... at all...

    A Linux Disto is a flavor - it's a set of pre-installed tools, features, etc. It's not a separate OS. Unless you're doing something *really* weird, you should be able to compile the same for the most part. In addition, AMD already stated they were going to open source the drivers, with FULL support - this isn't us just whining because we can, this is us asking AMD to live up to it's own promise.
  • Re:Oh No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by networkBoy (774728) on Friday June 22, 2012 @01:03PM (#40414277) Homepage Journal

    They tried (larabee IIRC) and failed. Intel == low-end graphics, that is just the way it is.
    I wish it were different, but such is the state of affairs. (They are getting better, but really only maintaining the gab, not closing it).
    -nB

  • by geekprime (969454) on Friday June 22, 2012 @01:14PM (#40414425)

    Would you care to explain how AMD/ATI's revenue is different because I choose to use Linux instead of windows?
    I still paid the same amount of money for the card.

    Furthermore, we all know for a fact (because it's happened for every other piece of hardware) that if they released the details needed for the Linux community to write it's own drivers, they'd never have to write another one for Linux, ever, AND they would benefit from being able to take the concepts and optimizations created by the Linux community and fold them into their windows drivers.

  • by Verunks (1000826) on Friday June 22, 2012 @01:23PM (#40414525)

    unfortunately the truth is that amd/ati isn't capable of making decent drivers on both windows and linux, their cards seems to be always better than nvidia in terms of price and performance but in reality they rarely works flawlessy, either the driver crashes or the game glitches and you have to wait for some hotfix, there was also a news here on slashdot just a few weeks ago that the windows amd drivers disable dep/aslr otherwise you get a bsod

  • The ridiculous thing is, the video decoding portion of the hardware operates on a video stream which is already decrypted, so in order to use it you must have already cracked any drm scheme, or be viewing drm-free video.

    Or you could always decode the stream in software using the CPU... Or even using a different part of the GPU through OpenCL...

    There is no sensible reason why opening up the specs of the video decoding would make it any easier to crack a drm scheme.

  • by Zardus (464755) <yans@yancomm.net> on Friday June 22, 2012 @01:57PM (#40415019) Homepage Journal

    Nvidia (no fucking way)

    If you're enough of a dumbass to ignore the right solution (nVidia stuff *works*, binary blob or not, as opposed to ATI's, also binary-blob, braindead crap), you deserve to fail. Every media PC I've built has been nVidia; no problems on the graphics side.

  • Re:Oh No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Friday June 22, 2012 @03:37PM (#40416275) Homepage

    I need HD video processing. and Intel sucks at at. Nvidia owns the market at making a video chipset that will render any file format HD without any processor load.

    I really wished that intel would get off their arses and make their GFX chipsets not suck.

  • by tyrione (134248) on Friday June 22, 2012 @03:38PM (#40416287) Homepage
    If you ever read the LLVM/Clang Dev Lists you'd know they are releasing the stack for their Linux Community Drivers with OpenCL 1.x full support. They are cleaning up the code and the dump will soon begin.
  • Re:Oh No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday June 22, 2012 @06:12PM (#40417453)

    I don't think this is quite correct. I used to work at Intel, so maybe things have changed a little since I was there, but as I saw it, the main reasons they entered the 3D market was two-fold: 1) to secure their position in chipsets, and 2) to make money. When I was there (over 6 years ago), they were the world's largest GPU manufacturer. I imagine that hasn't changed. Yes, their GPUs were low-performance compared to the competition, but that wasn't all that important; their goal was to dominate chipsets, and they did then and I believe they still do now (honestly, it seems like very little has changed in the PC world in 6 years; lots has changed in mobile devices (phones, tablets), but not in PCs or laptops). Most PCs don't need high-end GPUs; most PCs are bought from places like Dell, in large quantities, and used in offices for corporate drones to read their Outlook email, write MS Word documents, etc. They only need 3D so they can run the graphical effects in Windows. Many more PCs (probably more laptops these days) are sold to individuals and corporate users, who again use them to read their email, use MS Office, and use a web browser. They only need 3D for graphical effects and to watch videos with GPU rendering. Some might play a low-end game here or there, but most don't. The people who do want to play games probably quickly find out that integrated graphics aren't very good for that, and upgrade to an Nvidia/AMD card, if they didn't do so from the outset.

    By having a GPU built-in to their chipsets, they were able to get a lock on much of the chipset market. Instead of a PC buyer need to buy a motherboard w/ chipset, and then a separate graphics card, they could spend a couple bucks more, and get a motherboard with integrated graphics, and forgo the graphics card altogether, saving a bunch of money. Remember, before Intel got into 3D graphics, there were a bunch of chipset makers; these days, many of them seem to have withered away. They couldn't satisfy the low-end users by building an acceptable GPU into their chipsets, so everyone just switched to Intel.

  • Re:Oh No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday June 22, 2012 @06:15PM (#40417483)

    They don't really need to; they've already succeeded at getting a giant majority of the chipset market by having an integrated GPU that sucks, but is good enough for average users who do little besides surf the web and maybe use MS Word.

    Saying they need to make a GFX chipset that competes with Nvidia's and AMD's mid-to-high-end offerings is like saying KIA needs to make a car that competes with Ferrari. Not that it wouldn't be nice (since Intel's open-source support is so superior to the other guys'), but it's probably not exactly high on their priority list when they're already making buckets of money by covering the low-end market.

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