AMD opens door to ATI Linux drivers

AMD's ATI division is reversing its open source strategy by offering better open source drivers. The graphics chips maker has traditionally demonstrated a poor performance in allowing open source drivers. Dell, for instance, made a conscious decision to use Nvidia graphics cards in its Linux PCs because of ATI's lacking open source support and the poor performance of the drivers that were available.

ATI will now develop fully functional 2D and 3D drivers for Linux. Although the drivers are still closed source, the firm will release documentation that allows third-party developers to build and support their own drivers. The drivers and documentation will be released for ATI's Radeon HT2000 chipset and Radeon X1000 graphics processors and newer lines. AMD revealed its plans to create the open source drivers on Wednesday. The release of the documentation was discussed at the Kernel Summit that took place in Cambridge this week.

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News source: vnunet

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16 Comments

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For the most part, I have had no real problems in trying 5 or 6 different distros and my ATI 850GT-based card.
Since you still can't really run the better games in Linux yet, I don't have much urgency anyway because the standard drivers look terrific for me - desktop and notebook.

I run Virtual Box with 10 different virtual machines - all different OSs. Seven of them are Windows, one PC-BSD and 2 linux distros (Ubuntu and PCLOS). Granted the VMs use a virtual display driver - but they all look great.

That being said - this announcement is incredibly encouraging for the whole linux community as there are A LOT of ATI cards out there that could be used in nice low-cost systems for many people with a newly-usable "free" OS.

I say "Keep 'em coming!"

Well. It's kinda of late now. Many users switched to Nvidia already. I do not know, perhaps they realised something.

amroth said,
Well. It's kinda of late now. Many users switched to Nvidia already. I do not know, perhaps they realised something.

For me as a UNIX user the only viable ones on Solaris are Nvidia and Intel; Next time around I'll be going for Intel.

I've seen ATI promise the earth in the past and never actually delivering on it. The day when I actually see ATI deliver, that is when I'll believe their hollow rhetoric.

Maybe game makes will follow suit and put out more mainstream games for Linux as more and more people get frustrated with Vista....? After all, its not as if they all have to buy a new system as they would have to if they moved to OSX.

offering better open source drivers
Although the drivers are still closed source
plans to create the open source drivers

Right...

Apparently open source has two meanings.

Well... What it's about is really supporting the open source community with better drivers. That is, what NVIDIA has been doing. Yes, the article is a bit sloppy, and e.g.

AMD revealed its plans to create the open source drivers on Wednesday.

should be
AMD revealed its plans to create the drivers for the open source community on Wednesday.

Now if they could only fix that annoying Vista bug that has stopped me from updating my drivers, any new drivers fail to recognize my DVI display and so my dual monitor setup is ruined ... they're knowledge base thing says it applies to quite a few of their cards and versions of their drivers above 7.2 (we're on 7.8!) ... it says they don't know what causes it and thats it ...