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AMD Graphics Novell Open Source X Hardware Linux

The Letter That Started AMD's Open-Source Strategy 92

An anonymous reader writes "In marking the fourth anniversary of AMD's open-source strategy for their Radeon graphics, Phoronix has published the letter that launched this open-source effort. It was a letter written by Novell SUSE X engineers and submitted to AMD management with their open-source proposal."
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The Letter That Started AMD's Open-Source Strategy

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  • by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Sunday September 18, 2011 @01:30PM (#37434698) Homepage

    Well now it doesn't _require_ firmware to be closed-source. And my understanding was that typically, devices that absolutely require firmware to even work at all, well those would be the cheap corner-cutters a-la WinModem - an unfortunate plague in the hardware industry. Really, if that's where we are, then motherboards might as well just give us a thousand socketed general-purpose output pins, and we'll push on whatever connectors we want and turn the whole thing into a glorified FPGA emulator.

    There's always this pendulum swing - shitty mfgs push more functionality into SW/FW, things get too slow, so along comes a bright-eyed new guy with real hardware again, that runs nice and fast. Then the new guy falls in love with money, starts peddling garbage again, and the cycle repeats.

  • by epine ( 68316 ) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @02:04PM (#37434844)

    The "what have you done for me lately" crowd has an interesting way with words that never fails to amuse me.

    However, congratulating AMD and holding them up as superior to everyone else when they are not is not the right way to accomplish this goal.

    Everyone else? There are three horses in this race, and a few ticks hitched to the feathers surrounding the coffin bone. 90% of the cells in the human body are bacterial. Sometimes you have to integrate over quorum.

    Intel isn't especially huffed about offloading high-demand computing to a GPU chip manufactured by somebody else. Without somebody else poised to siphon an artery, Intel would do everything in their power to level the field. We would have one coefficient of Moore's law governing performance, rather than two. Generally when you lash two horses together, the slower horse governs the pace.

    Fortunately, the GPU swallowed the blue pill before Intel could do much about it. On the side of the fence with the big Cheshire grin, we have precisely two spectral lines of any significance: red and green. But you have to remember that both of these companies exist in an ecosystem where the bully in the china shop hoovers up the vast majority of the resources like the human race arrived on a shiny new continent.

    It ain't easy feeding the sourdough culture known as Fab. It's the pudding mix in Sleeper, the plant in Little Shop of Horrors.

    If your Fab blows a bubble, you're in a world of hurt. Around this nightmare, you have to knock off some of the most technically demanding design projects known to man, year in and year out. After you build a Saturn V, everyone wants a Saturn VI. The Saturn VI blows everyone away--for a year or two--then everyone starts to itch and scratch for a Saturn VII.

    Back when the original Saturn V was crawling toward heaven [] at a top speed of 1mph, who exactly was "everyone else"? But let's not give the Americans any credit for trumping anyone else.

    The painful truth here is that if you love open source, sometimes you have to settle for second best. AMD is slowly making good on the promise of taking this track, although it's truly frightened to think of how much oxygen has boiled off in their seemingly perpetual state of launch readiness. It ain't called Fusion for nothing.

    At the bottom of the process this is an IP issue. Some people seem to think that open source happens in Wikileak time frames. It could work that way, but billion transistor designs would really stress out your onion router, and customs might seize your next mask set.

    I played a chess game not long ago where I settled into the Siberian Winter defense. In other words, my opponent was better than me, but he fired his powder a moment too soon.

    I was boxed in by the mate threat, and his mate threat was boxed in by my passed wing pawn on the other side of the board. If his quill armada didn't crush me first, my winter pawn would crush him later.

    If you're asking "what has AMD's wing pawn done for you lately" I suppose the answer is that it sits there doing not very much.

    In my case, not very much won me the game after 10 rounds of desperately accurate counter-parries.

    Three cheers for the winter pawn.

"The following is not for the weak of heart or Fundamentalists." -- Dave Barry