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AMD Open Source Linux

AMD To Open-Source Its Linux Execution & Compilation Stack 81

An anonymous reader writes "According to Phoronix, AMD will be open-sourcing its Linux execution and compiler stack as part of jump-starting the Heterogeneous System Architecture Foundation. The HSA Foundation was started earlier this month at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit and AMD plans to open up its stack so that others can utilize the code without causing HSA fragmentation. This will include LLVM code, the HSA run-time, an HSA kernel driver for Linux distributions, an HSA assembler, and other components."
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AMD To Open-Source Its Linux Execution & Compilation Stack

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  • by DeTech ( 2589785 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @05:17PM (#40391025)
    Capitalizing on the Nvidia slam fest this week maybe?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pecosdave ( 536896 ) *

      I came here to say this. AMD is basically tea-bagging Nvidia with this.

      Sadly, before the ATI/AMD merger I was an Nvidia/AMD fan, and I still have an Nvidia card in my quad core AMD system and still don't like ATI graphics, but I'm beginning to question the logic in that.

      I'm so confused.

      • by Jeng ( 926980 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @05:25PM (#40391137)

        I'm so confused.

        Buy that which fills the needs the best regardless of brand.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @05:42PM (#40391359)

          Sometimes it goes beyond that.

          Would you buy from a company that best fills needs, but has some practices that you strongly disagree with? What about if you can get something that's (~90%) as good from a competitor, but they're behaving in a manner that you want to encourage?

          It's not always so cut and dry.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            I consider the whole picture, and “practices” to be part of “needs”. So if they have bad practices, they by definition don’t fill the whole of my needs.

            I do the math: I roughly weigh the factors, and decide on final score.
            Yes this may take more time, but I like doing it, and I like to go the extra mile of doing it right. (The old programmer's perfectionist mind, you might say...)

          • Walmart
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Wow, thanks for clearing up the moral confusion. I'm going to go sell grandma to the baby-murderers for some heroin-laced bread now... because it kills the hunger so much better than any other bread! It really fills the need, you know?

        • by mrmeval ( 662166 )

          I did. I bought a Sony camera that at the time filled a need. Then the CCD failed and I find I'm fucked because Sony won't fix the known defect. It could make my dick hard, my body 20 and my eyesight 20/5 in each eye and I'd not touch if if it's know to be an evil company that is of questionable moral or ethical character.

          Shopping the market without intelligence is for fools.

      • Intel needs to buy Nvidia, with all that cash it has, and put and put some sense into Nvidia and stop biting the hand that feeds it (no more binary blobs). Huge fan of NVIDIA hardware though, don't get me wrong. From Tegra to Tesla. Their binary blobs work great too in fact.
        • by Jeng ( 926980 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @05:27PM (#40391171)

          We need more competition not less.

          Nvidia should buy VIA.

        • Intel needs to buy Nvidia, with all that cash it has, and put and put some sense into Nvidia and stop biting the hand that feeds it (no more binary blobs).

          Then there would be no more driver.

          • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

            Intel has their drivers in the main tree. They work great. NVIDIA provides a binary blob that does not play well with others.

            • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @05:43PM (#40391369) Homepage

              > What?

              I believe that what he is getting at is that NVidia is still tied up in stupid "IP" licenses that might be revoked if they released source for their blobs or detailed specs for their chips.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by kthreadd ( 1558445 )

              Intel has their drivers in the main tree. They work great. NVIDIA provides a binary blob that does not play well with others.

              Great for Intel, I guess that's their way of doing business. It would be great if Nvidia did the same thing but they don't have to, that's their right. Nothing wrong with that, just use something else if that bothers you.

              • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

                Good for you. I meant that to explain why intel buying nvidia would not end the linux driver.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Since when was Linux "the hand that feeds" NVIDIA? If it weren't for CAD and scientific computing people using Linux there would be no Linux drivers. And those groups mostly give fuck all about the drivers being open source.

          • by unixhero ( 1276774 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @05:40PM (#40391333)
            Clearly Linux is feeding NVIDIA with a _platform_. Tegra is an architechture which will sell hundreds of thousands of units, benefiting NVIDIA immensely. It is a classic case of the tragedy of the commons, when a major player like Nvidia uses Linux as an engine of growth and gives little back. Yes, I know, they are providing the Tegra code upstream, so I guess it is kind if inacurate to use it as an example. In any case, any company with such a great success based around another entity's platform should provide some care and love back to that community. The one thing Linux/s needs is source code, and it is all in the interest of performance, usability, stability, interoptability; it's not asking for anything more. Yet, I do understand NVIDIA's conundrum. The driver has almost become an OS in itself because of the complexity of GPUs nowadays. I don't want to get too technical, because it is besides the point of this little post.
            • It is a classic case of the tragedy of the commons...

              No it isn't. Linux is not a scarce resource.

            • Hundreds of thousands of units benefiting NVIDIA immensely? If that is all Tegra is selling then Linux doesn't have a lot to offer. Some quick google puts the price of a Tegra chip in the $20-$25 range. Assuming that NVIDIA can claim $10 profit off each one (a high assumption) then sales of 500,000 only gets them $5m. That's not even a blip on the radar. That's not even a blip on the radar as a quarterly number. Monthly and it still wouldn't make the earnings report.

              If the Tegra sales numbers are anything l

              • That comment seems more like an Ad Hominem attack, because I think differently than you. Any success in the extreme hypercompetition which is computer processors, chips, chipsets and bleeding edge hardware is good for any company. So although that is a bleep on their radar, it is the CFO's radar. Remember the spillover effects throughout the organization. The learning that has taken place, the strain on the organization and the subsequent major success Tegra will be. So next time, please consider the bigg
            • by MSG ( 12810 )

              I know, they are providing the Tegra code upstream, so I guess it is kind if inacurate to use it as an example

              I don't think it is. The value of Linux should not be underestimated. NVidia is able to use that platform free of charge. Since the Tegra hardware isn't a discrete component, NVidia can't (or can't easily) make improvements in a module separate from the Linux kernel, and are obligated to distribute source. It's not unfair to believe that they would not otherwise do so. They meet the minimum requirements of the license, but the value that they receive from the Linux and Android development communities i

          • as stated elsewhere, I'm sure nVidia can write its own kernel and userland just fine.

            given nVidia runs very powerful GPU supercomputer clusters on linux, I'd say it'd be some preference. Its not like your going to port windows.
      • by DeTech ( 2589785 )
        I was in the same boat on my last rig (10yrs ago). I went all in on ati/amd merger during the bulldozer hype but luckily the driver support still has me smiling like a fan-boy.
      • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @08:14PM (#40392519) Journal

        Does AMD graphics do what you need them to? Do you wish to show businesses that supporting open specs is good for business? Then buy AMD, simple as that.

        In the end for those that wish to see openness supported you have to meet them halfway and give them numbers to show you are worth the money and effort and i think it would be damned hard to argue that AMD isn't doing everything they can to be as open as possible.

        • I don't know.

          I know ATI graphics did NOT - it's been a while since I've given them a chance.

          During the Rage II days I don't know how many screens I saw with the horizontal line that wouldn't update.
          Then I had a Radeon that died without reason and wouldn't even do 3D in Linux at the time. I replaced it with Nvidia, which not only worked with Linux but I was still dual booting back then, Alice and UT99 both looked better with it.
          While working on other people's since then I've had a driver nightmare or two wi

          • Sign up for the Tiger emails friend if you are looking for a laptop, they have been having some pretty crazy sales on AMD Fusion powered systems, such as An Aspire Quad for $400 without MIRs [] which if I wasn't already happy with my E350 EEE netbook I would be sorely tempted, thanks to turbocore those units can ramp up pretty decently when you are using only one or two thread and that unit has dual graphics, with both a discrete and the fusion APU, nice.

            And I can tell you that on the Windows front i was right

            • I could totally go for that Acer if I had the cash, I carry an Aspire One and I love it, my only complaint was it was nearly impossible to get bluetooth built in. I bought a replacement mini-PCI-express card.

              I ditched Windows before .NET came out - Windows2000 either didn't have a service pack or it was at service pack 1 at the time, I don't recall, but a number of factors lined up and I declared Windows a waste of hard drive space. I probably didn't use Windows for more than two months after the bad Rade

              • Well if you want a cheap one check out the Fusion builds, especially the E350s, as you can often find them in a nice HTPC kit for like $100. And if you want to use XBMC then check out Open ELEC [] which has builds for the AMD Fusions that covers the E series as well as the newer A series chips. It is only 120Mb and has everything already to go, just install. I've built a couple of HTPCs using the E350s and although my customers went Win 7 HP I can tell you those chips do make for nice media centers, full 1080P
    • Impossible. The legal review takes a lot longer than that. HDMI open sourcing, for example, is taking... Ages! Although that is DRM (rights) stuff...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Rock on! This is great news. I still don't think a lot of companies understand just how much penetration Linux and FOSS have. FOSS should be the norm not the exception. IMHO, software licenses that do not respect people over profit have no real use to me and I do my best to avoid them. I'm not a fanatic about not using proprietary software like some, but given a choice, I buy documented hardware and support people and companies that fuel the idea that people come before profit.

    NVIDIA should be shamed until

    • Almost. They do nothing to impede F/OSS driver work, and some say secretly contribute.

      nouveau hit mainline kernel this year with a stable ABI. So its not like FOSS is in the complete dark.
  • Exceptions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @05:29PM (#40391205)

    the full Linux execution stack (compiler/runtime/kernel drivers) in open source form, except for one commercial third party piece (the C++ parser front end)

    Is this missing piece a proprietary parser of C++ for LLVM or a proprietary shader parser implemented in C++?

    Kudos to AMD. It is getting easier for me to imagine buying ATI based GPUs for my own use after ~10 years of NVidia cards. A full execution stack may lead to at least more stable drivers (via users debugging), if not more efficient. My #1 objection to ATI has been instability of Linux drivers.

    • Re:Exceptions (Score:5, Informative)

      by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @07:23PM (#40392147)

      My guess is that it is probably the EDG C++ front end (Edison Design Group.) Aside from GCC and Microsoft's C/C++ compiler the EDG front end seems to be used by all the major C++ compilers (to manage the clusterfuck of C++ parsing.)

      Note: While I love C++ from a programmer's point of view, having worked on a professional C++ compiler, C++ makes we want to puke at the hack grammar and language design.

  • by rrohbeck ( 944847 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @05:37PM (#40391293)

    I didn't see any mention of opening the 3D graphics drivers or video acceleration. So the open compute code is going to call an opaque blob?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So... AMD, thank you!

  • Is this... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lisias ( 447563 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @05:41PM (#40391351) Homepage Journal

    ... "the finger effect"? :-)

  • Oh AMD, (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    why ist thou seducing me with your open ways?

    Keep it up, AMD!!! Your good will, collaboration, and support towards the Open Source community is being noted and remembered each time I consider purchasing a new system!

    /linux exclusively, of course

    • You mean being considered then discarded?

      On Linux, Nvidia is still clearly the best option as long as you're ok with proprietary drivers.

  • I'm in (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @06:06PM (#40391587)

    Way to make this decision easy. I was already convinced in principle, just not moving on it. Now I'm moving on it. Fusion FTW!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why this is not getting as good coverage as Linus giving the finger to nVidia, that's just his usual way of dealing with things, nothing special, right? Linus will give people/companies the finger if he feels the need to, people forget that he's not a business man, he's an engineer, and mighty good at that, he does not have to be very diplomatic if he does not want to, and he even gives a perfectly good explanation to why, in the very same lecture in which most people just focused on the finger.

    This on the

The next person to mention spaghetti stacks to me is going to have his head knocked off. -- Bill Conrad