Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Graphics Software AMD Linux

How To Request Better ATI Linux Support 192

Posted by kdawson
from the worth-a-try dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Michael Larabel, the editor of Phoronix, has outlined some strategies for contacting ATI's customers (OEM/ODM/AIBs) to seek ATI Linux fglrx driver improvements. He opines that contacting ATI or AMD directly is the 'wrong approach.' He also states, 'I know for certain that at least one major OEM would like to see improved Linux support but is afraid that the Windows support would then be at risk.' Michael cites examples from the past where Lenovo had sought improved Linux display drivers, which resulted in several new features last year. He provides links to the feedback pages for a number of the vendors to whom ATI actually does listen."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

How To Request Better ATI Linux Support

Comments Filter:
  • Buy NVidia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dusty123 (538507) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @03:44AM (#18426211)
    Simple: If you buy a Linux desktop, take care that it has a graphic card from NVidia. These drivers may not be open source, however they are easy to install, work and have a decent performance.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @04:03AM (#18426293)
      The Intel onboard video cards are quite sufficient for modern Linux desktop.

      They have completely and 100% open and free software drivers.
      They are ahead of Nvidia when it comes to Linux desktop support. They will support sleep better, then will support hotplugging monitors better (when support for that sort of thing is added in X.org 7.3).
      They supported technology like AIGLX before Nvidia.
      They are quite fast enough for 3D desktop. The onboard GMA 950 can comfortably run either compiz or beryl 3d desktops with high efficiency.
      As the display technology for Linux progresses the Intel onboard video cards will be the first.

      Other advantages over Nvidia propriatory drivers include that they are much more inexpensive. The motherboards they come on have much better Linux support then the typical motherboards you find Nvidia onboard video drivers.
      Laptops with Intel onboard video drivers will have advantages in price and battery life as well as stability when it comes to sleep and other advanced power management features.

      The advantage that Nvidia video cards have over Intel is performance.

      If you require performance for LInux desktop that goes beyond free software 3d games and good 3d desktop support and have requirements for newer video games or need 3d performance for your work then you have no choice but to buy nvidia.

      There exists no open source 3d drivers that can support high end 3d performance nearly as well as what Nvidia provides.

      But if your looking for cost effective and stable (much more stable then Nvidia) 2d/3d performance then Intel onboard video cards are the logical choice.

      Plus they are open source.

      Using Intel hardware I have absolutely no need for any propriatory software to drive my hardware. No SATA drivers, no video drivers, no wireless drivers, no nic card drivers, or no audio drivers need to be proprietory in any way.

      (Intel is no freind of Free software, or realy even open source. They just see the financial advantage to supporting Linux properly.)

      The current chipset for Linux to look for if you want as trouble free install as possible is the Intel 945g with the integrated GMA 950 video device. For non-bog-standard resolutions (ie widescreen) you will need to use the 915resolution hack for now, but this should go away in the future.

      For special setups (for onboard devices) such as TV/componate/HD-out, DVI-out, and even dual DVI out you can purchase ADD2 cards for those features which plug into the PCI express port and interface the onboard intel cards. I don't know how well these work, but I am told by X.org folks that they _should_ work and will be _very_ interested if they don't.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        if your looking for cost effective and stable (much more stable then Nvidia)
        The Nvidia drivers were a tad unstable not so very long ago, but in my experience they've been rock solid for the last couple of years. And this is on Gentoo, with heavily customised kernels etc.
      • by camcorder (759720)
        You don't need driver for wireless? Theorically correct, however you need firmware anyways, which make it practically incorrect.
      • by pato101 (851725)

        hey are quite fast enough for 3D desktop. The onboard GMA 950 can comfortably run either compiz or beryl 3d desktops with high efficiency.

        As far as I know, not with vsync though. Vsync is a must when you try it once.
        However your points about opensource-ness are not refutable :). Hope the drivers keep improving. Nevertheless when talking about performance... the Intel cards are comparable to nvidia ones? I mean from hardware point of view- I'm not sure if gaming performance lack is due to drivers or to the

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @05:37AM (#18426695)
          I tell you my experiances.

          I am using Debian unstable, which currently uses the X.org 7.1 release.

          The drivers that are supplied with that are not well optimized. They are good for compiz and can run Beryl very well, even with high amounts of eye candy except (almost everything turned on) for the one or two features that require special shading support. (basicly water effects).

          It is capable of playing Quake2 and Quake3 well.
          Return to Castle Wolfenstien is _very_ playable.
          Enemy Territory is starting to push it and my currently favorite game, which is a full modification called True Combat: Elite is barely playable (it adds several more advanced features to the ET like HD lighting)

          Nexuiz is not realy playable. Tremulous is fine, warsow is very playable. Cube/Cube2 is mostly playable except certain levels.

          Benchmarks suggest that they offer decent enough performance for UT2k3 and UT2k4, but I don't know that for a fact.

          If you use:
          export INTEL_BATCH=1
          and run 16bit RGB then everything is mostly playable. Also manually allocating memory to AGP and Texture stuff helps. And then allocating memory to a special buffer will enable HD-sized XV support. (see the 810 man file) A little tweaking is very helpfull. Expect a 75% boost in performance from that alone.

          Now X.org, DRI, and Mesa folks (the DRI drivers are basicly made by taking Mesa and accelerating what they can), are working on efficient ways to manage video card memory, which is required for newer cards and usage patterns.

          They are working on a special branch of DRI drivers called 915tex_dri.so (were the normal is just 915_dri.so). This adds lots of optimizations and efficient dynamic memory management and allocation. Using this you get quite a performance boost over the default drivers.

          ET is very playable. As is True Combat: Elite and you rarely get framerates that drop below 20FPS. I keep my framerates limited at 70FPS and most of the time it's sitting at that limit.

          If your using LCD display there is no point beyond having the limit set at 60 FPS. But you need to have good performance to keep it dropping down under 30FPS for good online play.

          So the drivers are definately improving. I am expecting good things to happen with X.org 7.3. But due to the shared memory sceme and lack of accelerated texture and lighting effects these things will never be usefull for gaming, not like most 'gamers' expect.

          Now with the GMA X3000 aviable with G965 video cards they will offer acceptable gaming performance once the drivers are optimized. They offer hardware acceleration for texture and lighting effects as well as shader support and other such things.

          Technology-wise, at least on paper, they are on par with ATI's and Nvidia's entry-level video cards.

          You can find benchmarks on Phoronix for the GMA 3000, which is from the Q965, which is a bit lower end then the X3000. It completely lacks T&L hardware acceleration and other such features. So it's sort of like a X3000 core, but with the GMA 950 features.

          The X3000 should perform better then that, by quite a bit, but I don't think right now the drivers are realy all that optimized. Not until the memory management stuff gets worked out. Then it should meet the lower end requirements for Doom3 and Quake4 pretty well. At least enough to be playable.

          But realy if your a 'gamer' that is more then casual then Nvidia is about it.

          The nice thing about this is that you can get a 945G motherboard right now, get good 3d/2d support and if it doesn't work out for you then a Nvidia card is a easy add on.

          Probably with Feisty the G965-based motherboards will probably be a good choice, but unfortunately I don't own one right now for personal testing. If Ubuntu was smart they'd be paying close attention to those chipsets, especially since they will be in the majority of next-generation laptops that people will be trying to use Ubuntu with.
          • by TeknoHog (164938)

            Agreed! I'm not much of a gamer, but sometimes I fire up Tuxracer which runs very smoothly on my Intel 855/852 laptop. Beryl also runs fine.

            It seems that many people have some kind of religion against integrated graphics, and they insist on buying external monster graphics cards no matter what kind of use. These are the same folks that insist on dedicated graphics memory without looking at any real world performance, even though things like AGP were specifically designed for fast access of motherboard

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by psxman (925240)
        An additional little bit I should mention:
        Intel graphics cards, to the best of my knowledge, only come on Intel motherboards, which are only compatible with Intel CPUs. As AMD and ATI have merged, this means that buying Intel graphics cards causes ATI/AMD to lose out on three sales, not just the graphics card.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by tsalaroth (798327)
        Aren't you supposed to be posting this in the Opinion Center: Intel [tm] section?
      • Actually, I'd have agree here. For your normal desktop stuff, the i915 is pretty darn good.
        In linux anyhow (in windows the freakin thing won't even show my accelerated RSS screensavers properly) it actually behaved better than a supposedly higher-end ATI card when using Beryl, and was in fact a fair bit more convenient to setup than even my NVidia card.
      • by the_greywolf (311406) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @11:37AM (#18430299) Homepage

        They supported technology like AIGLX before Nvidia.
        They are quite fast enough for 3D desktop. The onboard GMA 950 can comfortably run either compiz or beryl 3d desktops with high efficiency.

        My complaint is that that is done entirely in Mesa. The GMA 9x0 is rasterization hardware - that's all. I'm not surprised GMA 9x0 drivers work so well in Linux, and, in fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they work better than in Windows. I'm not surprised they're open source, either.

        Consider, though, that they were able to open the source because all they had to do was rip out all of their 3D IP and let Mesa do all the legwork. Looking at it that way, it's not at all very interesting that they opened the source - after removing all the 3D code, all you've got is a really fast 2D driver - so what's there for them to hide?

        NVIDIA has said on multiple occasions that the only thing keeping them from opening their source is all of the licensed 3D code they use in the driver. Until that can be stripped out, it stays closed.

        ATi has only gone so far as to contract a developer and give him specs under NDA to develop an open source driver - for their outdated and obsolete hardware.

        I won't be happy until an actual 3D chip has open source drivers - or perhaps until the GMA (X)3000 gets put in laptops. Until that happens, I couldn't give a rat's ass that Intel opened their drivers for their worthless hardware.

        • by imroy (755)

          The GMA 9x0 is rasterization hardware

          So it's barely better than the old 3DFX Voodoo I/II? IIRC, they were just texturing hardware. The CPU/driver had to rasterize the polygons, passing scan-lines off to the card to be drawn. That's why the original SLI setup was so easy - just pass odd-numbered lines to the first card, even-numbered to the second.

          • So it's barely better than the old 3DFX Voodoo I/II? IIRC, they were just texturing hardware. The CPU/driver had to rasterize the polygons, passing scan-lines off to the card to be drawn.

            Completly false.
            No data went between the Voodoo and the grafic card (proof is : if you didn't use special software that was aware of the Voodoo, when taking screenshots by dumping the VGA memory you got plain gray screens).
            If it worked like you suggest (transfering the data and displaying them from the VGA board) it would b

        • The GMA 9x0 is rasterization hardware - that's all. [...] all they had to do was rip out all of their 3D IP and let Mesa do all the legwork. [...] after removing all the 3D code, all you've got is a really fast 2D driver - so what's there for them to hide?

          No, it isn't. If it was, it would mean that everything else would be done in software and all 3d graphics will run slow. At "slide-show" speeds. Which isn't the case.

          3D acceleration is a complex task. On one hand you have hardware that is pretty low level

          • No, it isn't. If it was, it would mean that everything else would be done in software and all 3d graphics will run slow. At "slide-show" speeds. Which isn't the case.

            Intel states in their documentation that the GMA9x0 is absent a 3D T&L engine. They added one in the GMA 3000, making it the first card that isn't simply a rasterizer. The GMA 9x0 have pixel shaders, which, I assume, is used to handle texture processing and other basic operations, but all of the other work - Matrix transformations, persp

      • by AaronW (33736)
        Interesting. We got these crappy new HP machines at work with integrated Intel graphics that aren't supported by Xorg X11 at all.

        My team's requirements from IT were that these machines must support two monitors and must run Linux. Obviously without X11 the first fails. The integrated graphics only support a single monitor, so the second requirement also fails.

        Adding an nVidia card, which is what I would do for two monitors, turns out to be impossible since it only has a PCI-e 1x slot and the only cards o
    • Re:Buy NVidia (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mrbluze (1034940) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @04:04AM (#18426299) Journal

      I basically have to agree. nVidia drivers now seem to work well, after much pain over the years. They even managed to open up their development process up a tiny little bit by leaking beta drivers. Kind of like a prude who secretly has a little on the side anyway.

      Nonetheless, it behooves us to fight the good fight and annoy the shit out of graphics card manufacturers to reveal the eleven secret herbs and spices so we can fully enjoy the hardware we paid for. Discriminating against crappy support is a step.

    • Re:Buy NVidia (Score:5, Informative)

      by grolschie (610666) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @04:29AM (#18426395)
      Agreed. I am not trolling when I say that I believe ATI cannot even make stable drivers and software for the Windows platform. I will never again buy an ATI product after all the hassles I have had in both Windows and Linux with their so-called drivers. :-(
      • by drinkypoo (153816)
        Amen to that. I actually had a condition where running the catalyst control center was blue-screening windows XP. If I had it installed, then windows would blue-screen so badly it couldn't autoreboot every time CCC loaded. If I didn't have it installed, everything worked fine; the ordinary driver's advanced control panel did the things it should do, and the card worked fine no matter how badly I stressed it. This was with a Radeon 9600XT in an Athlon XP 2500+ system. ATI can't code their way out of a nutsac
      • especially since being bought out by AMD. A while back I stopping playing games on the PC, and I wanted good tv out since I use my computer for a home entertainment system, so I switched to ATI, figuring I'd have nothing but trouble with games but at least I'd get decent tv out ( Nvidia's tv out, at least on their cards from the TI 4600 line and back, suck). Anyway, I've been pleasantly surprised. It's played everything I've thrown at it out of my older games, and plenty of newer games just fine, and I have
      • Hmmm. I've used ATI cards exclusively in Linux for about five years. Not once have I ever been unable to get full 3D acceleration. With the 9500 it meant building a kernel module, but recently it's been a 15 second apt-get sequence. I run Beryl on various ATI cards and it works perfectly.

        I don't see what the problem is, why every comment for this article is negative. Maybe everyone's bad experience is due to the open-source drivers instead of the ones ATI releases...in that case it's not entirely ATI's faul
    • Re:Buy NVidia (Score:5, Insightful)

      by walt-sjc (145127) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @04:37AM (#18426419)
      I also agree, but there are open source 2D drivers for nvidia... True, they aren't nearly as complete, but for basic stuff they work fine.

      I really don't want DRIVERS from ATI or NVidia though, I want DOCS. We hear all sorts of whining about proprietary secret data, blah blah blah, but I DON'T CARE. If you want to sell me a fucking device, release the damn docs already. This goes for all the winmodems, winprinters, winscanners, wincameras, winwifi cards, winethernet, winsound cards, winkeyboards, winmice, winharddrive controllers too!!! I'm not buying WINDOWS hardware, I'm buying COMPUTER hardware. I want to be able to use it with ANY operating system. There is nothing so damn secret about how to program your device that would put you at a competitive disadvantage if everyone is releasing information. And if there really is? Tough shit. That is the price of being in the business.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by pe1chl (90186)
        It is this kind of wording and this kind of claims that keeps so many hardware manufacturers from supporting Linux.
        • Re:Buy NVidia (Score:5, Insightful)

          by walt-sjc (145127) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @07:38AM (#18427293)
          Frankly, that's total bullshit and you know it. Developers have been asking politely for years, and the problem has gotten WORSE, not better. It used to be that you could get technical programming docs for damn near EVERYTHING. Now it's the other way around where it's nearly impossible to get technical docs for ANYTHING. Manufacturers that used to cooperate are no longer doing so. It has NOTHING to do with user attitude and ALL to do with manufacturers wanting to keep data secret from competitors (which is short sighted, as their competitors have the know how to reverse engineer if they wish), and thinking that it's too costly to maintain public documents. It is also an attitude that everyone uses windows, and therefore releasing docs serves no purpose.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by andyr0ck (847274)
        yep, the open source nv ones work just fine for 2D. personally, since nvidia started the use of their 'installer', i've not had a single problem installing the drivers on slackware, which traditionally always requires a custom module to be built as there's no precompiled ones included. i recently borrowed a lovely acer laptop from work (travelmate 8100) and have had nothing but problems with the ATI X700 in it. i came at the problem with an open mind and tried installing ATI's proprietary drivers in all the
    • by Junta (36770)
      I used to agree, however recently I had the choice of no upgrade or a laptop with a FireGL V5200. I already was on a laptop with ATI, but the older generation where there are usable DRI drivers (before ATI ceased providing information essentially).

      So fglrx I had last tried caused occasional hangs on VT switches, hung on gdmflexiserver, and did nothing for sleep so the ATI chip was chugging down 5 watts of power in ACPI suspend. On resume the graphics would occasionally be corrupted. Just everything was w
      • Feature wise, the ATI driver is improving, also in terms of stability (at least repeatable crashes).

        My issue is performance. Performance-wise, a top of the ATI card performs more like an entry level Nvidia card, both using proprietary drivers.

        This sucks. I've waited through several generations of ATI cards (bought a 9800 Pro, replaced it with a Geforce FX 5900, now using an X1600 on my MacBook Pro), and Linux performance still is an order of magnitude worse than on Windows.

        Nvidia cards are, by and large, pe
    • Seriously, I have installed ubuntu linux on 3 different laptops with ATI graphics and several desktops also with ATI graphics boards - all of them newer than radeon 9500. I just followed the guide for ATI boards on ubuntu wiki and all worked like expected.

      Could we please do away with the ATI drivers doesn't work on linux mantra?

      Yes you WILL have problems with the fglrx drivers and older boards, but so fucking what? Those boards are 4+ years old, buy a new one!
      • Well, I use an ATI 9200 based board because it's passively cooled and therefore silent. I can confirm that ATI driver support for it under Ubuntu is crap. Some people get it working with a few caveats, others don't, the Ubuntu forums have entire threads dedicated to the topic. I ended up using the buggy open source driver since it was the only way I could get acceleration working on my system. YMMV.

        I'd actually be quite happy to buy a new graphic card to get better driver support if there was one that met m
    • by PitaBred (632671)
      What you have to do is you have to issue a press release [3dnature.com] to actually get them to take notice of any bugs in ANY of their drivers.
  • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @03:47AM (#18426225)
    These days email is cheap and simple. A real snail-mail letter grabs attention.

    Get yogether with your buddies and collect a pile of ATI and competitor proofs of purchase.

    With the ATI ones say that you are a customer and would really like to see Linux support. With all the competitor ones, say that you would have bought ATI but for the driver issue. make sure you youtube it, blog it,...

    • by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @04:37AM (#18426423) Journal
      I doubt that it would work. As far as ATI is concerned, the market for people who are (A) building their computer from components, _and_ (B) run Linux on it, _and_ (C) didn't buy a cheap 9200 or 5200, is very very very small. Especially look at that last part. Keeping even 1000 people satisfied when they bought the cheapest chip and made you barely a couple of bucks each, hardly justifies the salaries of a driver team.

      I know, we all like to think that the customer is king, and that just because you have a proof of purchase for an old $30 graphics card, it means that a major corporation must bend over backwards for you and catter to your every whim. They should instantly hire a big team to code whatever you fancy today, open-source all their programs... Why, they should even come over and do your laundry. Dream on.

      When cattering to mass-markets, you have to think in terms of ROI. If it costs X dollars to do something, will you even get those X dollars back? Is it likely that you'll even make a profit? If not, it's actually smarter to ignore that market segment.

      Drivers nowadays are complex and expensive things, and frankly the Linux hobbyist market is tiny. And then they're likely to buy the lowest end card, or not even that as they're busy bitching about how binary drivers are evil.

      So, basically, fully expect someone at ATI to at most have a chuckle as they dump your letter into the garbage bin.

      OEM's are a whole other affair, because they move millions of boxes. If one of those says "we need linux drivers", then:

      A. they probably know what their many corporate customers want. Dunno, maybe some major corporation or government department decided to standardize their desktop on Linux and actually needs 3D accelerated drivers. Basically if a big OEM bitches, they probably aren't doing it out of zealotry and fanboyism, but they know something about demand that you don't. You listen and take notes when those guys speak. And,

      B. even if not, you want to listen to those anyway, because they're the guys who make your money. They're the "R" in "ROI". The last thing you want is Dell or IBM (Lenovo) standardizing exclusively on nVidia cards because you told them to fuck off when they complained that lack of Linux drivers hamstrings their server sales. If that were to happen, you'll see a big dip on your income chart, and the mere rumour would make your shares dive and the shareholders demand blood and rolling heads.

      Basically you'll have a chance with your proofs of purchase when you fit at least one of the two criteria, preferrably both.
      • by BESTouff (531293)
        Drivers nowadays are complex and expensive things, and frankly the Linux hobbyist market is tiny. And then they're likely to buy the lowest end card, or not even that as they're busy bitching about how binary drivers are evil.

        If that was true, NVIDIA & ATI wouldn't even have written their binary drivers. But they did, and they maintain them, and Intel even wrote an open-source one ! What you're missing is that Linux isn't easily segmented into markets. The "hobbyists" are the ones fixing the bugs for

        • by Moraelin (679338)

          If that was true, NVIDIA & ATI wouldn't even have written their binary drivers. But they did, and they maintain them, and Intel even wrote an open-source one !

          The way I heard that story, ATI made the binary drivers at all, again, because a large OEM told them something to the effect of "we need Linux drivers to sell Linux servers." I.e., again, the loud mouthed hobbysts had nothing whatsoever to do with it, and the whole action was driven by OEMs.

          What you're missing is that Linux isn't easily segmented

      • by Curtman (556920)

        I doubt that it would work. As far as ATI is concerned, the market for people who are (A) building their computer from components, _and_ (B) run Linux on it, _and_ (C) didn't buy a cheap 9200 or 5200, is very very very small. Especially look at that last part. Keeping even 1000 people satisfied when they bought the cheapest chip and made you barely a couple of bucks each, hardly justifies the salaries of a driver team.

        Except, it is those 1000 people (I imagine this figure is a very low estimation) who th

    • by canuck57 (662392)

      With the ATI ones say that you are a customer and would really like to see Linux support. With all the competitor ones, say that you would have bought ATI but for the driver issue. make sure you youtube it, blog it,...

      I did this several times, never even got a response. I also had a ATI Video USB device, tried getting them to release the details needed to program it... no answer...

      So I now buy other products and will not buy a ATI based product. If AMD management "fixes" ATI management, I might reconside

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @03:51AM (#18426237) Journal

    Is there an actuall graphics card out there that IS capable of doing the eyecandy stuff, it don't have to do games, that is fully opensource with absolutely no binary bits.

    I used to think matrox cards were the way to go but even they have a binary HAL bit that you need if you want the more advanced features needed for xgl and the likes.

    Anyway the matrox cards are not supported anyway, as they are listed as missing certain features that are required.

    The only lists I ever find mention ONLY nVidia and Ati cards. Yet I have seen some references that Intel was working on opensource drivers for its cards or at least hired some developers to do so.

    So, is there a graphics card out there that I can use that is simply fully opensource, no hidden tricks, that is capable enough to give me the candy?

    Because that would I think send the strongest message of all, if everyone who runs linux just buys a fully opensource card the others would be sure to take notice.

    • by Ihlosi (895663) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @03:56AM (#18426263)
      Is there an actuall graphics card out there that IS capable of doing the eyecandy stuff, it don't have to do games, that is fully opensource with absolutely no binary bits.



      Intels i810 and above are. Of course you can't get any graphics cards with them, since they're onboard solutions, so you're stuck with an Intel processor too. Which may or may not be a drawback.

      • They work fine for desktop use though. I've got one on my SLED 10 office PC, the i950 series chipset works great with the dual core processor, and yes, it runs XGL in all it's 3D-accelerated eye-candy glory. Hopefully Intel's new GMA X3000 will provide some better 3D performance for more intensive tasks though.

        Obviously I'm not saying the current chips are the quickest OpenGL graphics around, but really, for 3D graphics, how many choices do we have?
        * NVidia - works well, but binary only.
        * ATI - works mostly
      • by pe1chl (90186)
        This often causes practical problems when you want to use two screens, and/or DVI.
        Even though the newest Intel onboard graphic chips actually support dual screen, the motherboards often have only a single video output connector. And it quite often still is VGA.
        For example, nearly all Dell systems come with an Intel onboard video chip and have only a single VGA output. When you opt for DVI or dual-monitor, you get an add-in videocard which usually is something like an ATI X300 :-(
        (it used to be nVidia FX52
    • by RAID10 (1051554) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @05:23AM (#18426631)
      As someone already said Intel's onboard stuff is the best out there. Especially if you are building a new computer, which propably don't have anything but pci-e slots.
      With older hardware there were more options. I have an old Ati Radeon 9200 in my closet, just in case I need AGP graphics card. It's the last Radeon that works completely with open source drivers. (also 7000 and 8500 and 9000 work).

      So it doesn't look too good, does it..

      Well there is hope. Intel is working on discrete graphics chips. read more here [beyond3d.com] and here. [theinquirer.net]
      I believe Intel has no reason to change their Linux friendly policy. So I hope they come up with a decent discrete graphics card and release open source drivers with it.
      Since Intel is such a big player it just might encourage others to do the same.
      • by dpilot (134227)
        I'll bet there's an interesting political battle going on inside Intel over the release of discrete graphics chips.

        On the one hand, it's probably clear that the CPU groups of both Intel and AMD understand Linux, Open Source, and have enough of the "got religion" involved to behave in the right way. Since the graphics group is growing up inside a CPU company, the don't have the ATI/nVidia "closed religion," or at least not in a big enough way to wag the CPU-oriented dog. In this light, it's pretty obvious th
      • by Kjella (173770)
        Well there is hope. Intel is working on discrete graphics chips. read more here and here.
        I believe Intel has no reason to change their Linux friendly policy. So I hope they come up with a decent discrete graphics card and release open source drivers with it.
        Since Intel is such a big player it just might encourage others to do the same.


        Perhaps, perhaps not. There are certainly those that argue that in order to produce a high-performance 3D card, Intel will have to license certain technologies that don't allo
    • Is there an actuall graphics card out there that IS capable of doing the eyecandy stuff, it don't have to do games, that is fully opensource with absolutely no binary bits.

      I used to think matrox cards were the way to go but even they have a binary HAL bit that you need if you want the more advanced features needed for xgl and the likes.

      You're not right about this, as HAL is entirely optional. I run the Matrox G550 PCIe [matrox.com] card *without HAL* (pure source-based Gentoo distro with the standard G550/mga kernel/X1

    • As mentioned in an earlier post, I've found the Intel i915 series open-source drivers to be very nice. When setting then up with Beryl on my co-workers computer, I expected them to be laughable, but they turned out to be quite impressive indeed.

      I'd guess that they still aren't great for the current generation of games etc, but for desktop acceleration, and some old games, Intel's commitment to Open-Source has been quite impressive. Of all the companies out there, I've found that they're the most FOSS-frie
  • hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mastershake_phd (1050150) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @03:57AM (#18426267) Homepage
    at least one major OEM would like to see improved Linux support but is afraid that the Windows support would then be at risk.

    Hmm, could it be Dell?
  • I don't know if you can get Intel graphic cards for your desktop (I got one onboard on my laptop, the 915GM one), but it works like a charm, actually better on Linux (out of the box) than on Windows (I had to hunt the driver as I lost the drivers CD).
  • In other words... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by babbling (952366) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @04:06AM (#18426309)
    If you want Linux drivers, you have to let these companies know:

    ASUS [asus.com]
    Lenovo [lenovo.com]
    HP [hp.com]
    Power Color [tul.com.tw]
    HIS Tech [hisdigital.com]
    Sapphire [sapphiretech.com]

    The suggested letter is:

    Subject: Product Feedback

    To whom it may concern,

    I recently purchased one of your [graphics cards || notebooks || desktops] that had contained an ATI GPU. While I realize your products are catered toward Microsoft Windows users as they are your largest consumer base, I wish to use this product with Linux. I had used the [your model number for their product] with the ATI Linux drivers, and while they have improved a great deal recently, I still feel there is much room for improvement. The drivers in their current form run much slower under Linux than Windows, lack support for AIGLX (a visual desktop feature), and other features found within the Windows Catalyst drivers but not Linux.

    I do realize you may not officially support Linux and that you have limited control over the development of these drivers, but I would kindly ask that you forward this comment to AMD and that you ask them to channel additional resources to the development of these drivers. In good time you should make Linux support from AMD a requirement. Another step that I would hope to see is including the ATI Linux display drivers on your support/driver CD. As the adoption of Linux on desktops continues to increase, I hope you are able to jointly improve your Linux presence with ATI/AMD.

    [your name]
    • The suggested letter is:
      Try to describe the issue in your own words instead. A thousand template letters screams "astroturf" instead of "concerned customers".
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by jellomizer (103300) *
        Well it is better then.

        Hay [Company Name]

        You guys are such jerks. Get with the times man! Open Source is everything release GNU Drivers for your [video card model] now or you will be sorry in the future. Unless you change I am not going to get any of your crap, and I am going to warn everyone from buying your junk. Common you guys can be 1337 too!!!!!!

        from
        [your slashdot alias]
      • Yes and no. Thousands of form letters also tell a company that the segement of their user base that has concerns is somewhat organized. That in and of itself can be a scary thing.

        Ideally you are correct and those who have the language skills should use their own words. Having a form letter to copy and paste is a good thing for people who have a hard time expressing themselves in writing though.
        • by babbling (952366)
          I absolutely agree with you that anyone who can eloquently express their views in their own writing should do so. I think there's no doubt that there's a number of people who are better represented by the default letter, though. Not because they don't care about the issue enough, but because they lack the written language skills required. They probably still have enough money to buy computers though, so they're still worth listening to!

          What is "astroturfing", anyway? Anyone who bothers to send the letter ob
  • GREAT! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @04:10AM (#18426323)
    now who do we contact to get them to write good windows drivers?
    • by iabervon (1971)
      You're using "good" and "windows" in the same noun phrase? You must be new here.
  • Free Drivers ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BESTouff (531293) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @04:36AM (#18426413)
    How about requesting ATI/AMD to take care of the already existing free X11 drivers, by giving informations about newer cards and manpower to develop all features, so that we have something readable (and working), and fixable by the community ?
    • by ardor (673957)
      While I do like the project, I am very skeptical about it. Yes, I believe they will succeed in building a basic video card, but nothing like a nvidia one. This is relevant because it means that OpenGraphics will be a niche product. Catching up with nvidia and ati from scratch is next to impossible, especially in a resonable timeframe.
  • by Jekler (626699) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @05:19AM (#18426609)

    Why should I have to prove to them that I want better support? They should prove to me that they are providing better support. Until then, I will only purchase Intel video.

    The Intel 950 GMA is sweet compared to any of ATI's cards with shoddy support.

    • by ardor (673957)
      I have a i965 with GMA. It *never* worked for me well regarding OpenGL. In fact, it didnt provide OpenGL rendering *at all*. I tried for days to get it to work, with zero success.

      Then I got me a nvidia card, and it worked out of the box. I also have a laptop with a mobility 9600. fglrx is an awful driver, but at least it provides OpenGL with DRI.
      • by Jekler (626699)

        I admit that stinks, but Intel has open sourced most of their drivers (including the i965), which leaves the door open for someone to create decent drivers for it. The i965 might not work but the i950 works flawlessly.

        I think they may have perceived their open-sourcing as relinquishing responsibility. Kind of a "Ball is in your court now" gesture. If only things were that simple. Still, I must commend them for providing open source drivers, while ATI and nVidia refuse. Getting a better driver than AT

  • by ajs318 (655362)
    Or you could write to your MP and ask them to push for a new law, obliging manufacturers to provide documentation that would enable the creation of drivers if they want to be allowed to sell their hardware at all.

    If you don't get any harsher a punishment for selling heroin cut with brick dust than you do for selling pure heroin, then some drug dealers are going to cut it -- which means that if they want to stay in business, all dealers end up having to adulterate their product. The consumer doesn't know
  • by nbritton (823086) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @05:53AM (#18426769)
    It's who you ask, not how... although being nice always helps:

    Dirk Meyer [mailto]


    His executive bio is here [amd.com]. Please ask him, nicely, to open the hardware documentation, and if he could provide some resources (people, money, hardware) to the X.org team so they can build drivers.
  • Why bother (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jason Straight (58248) on Wednesday March 21, 2007 @06:03AM (#18426815) Homepage
    I gave up asking for and waiting for ATI to wake up to Linux. If they don't want to play on linux they don't play on my computer. When I buy computers I do make sure I at least mention to the sales staff that I want Nvidia or Intel because all other gfx cards have crappy Linux drivers, I hope I may be educating the salesperson so they know if someone else mentions running Linux they'll offer them a real gfx card. I don't buy from big names, because then I get big headaches, and bad support. So my hopes of my OEM somehow having any influence over ATI isn't going to happen.
  • Composite support! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kazade84 (1078337)
    The only thing that really is disappointing me about the ATI proprietary drivers is the lack of composite support! Even the open source drivers have this, hell my crappy work Matrox card can run AIGLX/beryl. The open source drivers are great but don't have enough functionality (or speed) for what I wanna do, the ATI ones do, but I cant use the nice desktop eye candy I'd like. I thought when they started to do monthly releases, this would be one of the first things they'd implement... I'm still waiting.
  • I have put off buying ATi in favor of nVidia for years. nVidia used to have the hands down better hardware, and the drivers have been outstanding for years. ATi has gotten the slight upper hand on hardware for the price point now most of the time with slight model deviations between them and nvidia. However, what's the point of better hardware if you can't take advantage of it?
  • ..at least you didn't purchase an sgi prism [sgi.com] which probably cost us $15k+, has dual ati firegl's, uses the same shitty fglrx drivers, with all the same shitty problems found on ati's unofficial bugzilla [cchtml.com].
  • As a longtime AMD user I think contacting AMD should yield results.

    AMD will soon be bundling chipsets and CPU's. Linux users are not huge by volume, but they are a good part of the "technical group" that influence others. Forcing those people to become Intel adherents(the only open source alternative) is not a good business move for AMD.
  • If you own stocks, and if your friends also owns stocks, and a whole lotta nerdy little Linux users owns stocks, they can make demands. Isn't stranger than that :)

  • I've simply never understood why they don't just release the source for their Linux drivers under a GPL compatible licence. I think ATI and NVidia both need to come to terms with the fact that they are HARDWARE manufacturers and should eliminate as many barriers to usage as possible. If they were to release the drivers as GPL, then the Xorg/DRI people could commit the drivers to the respective trees and would save a great deal of maintenance efforts on the part of these companies. It just boggles my mind
  • A lot of large companies are now buying equipment at a yearly basis, hoping for the best standard equipment for their organization. Although their number of Linux computers are low, they still need to take care of this minority when selecting the future systems-of-choice. Thus if they have troubles running Linux on ATI, they will go for nVidia as standard, as they know it make little difference for Windows.

    Reading the news archive of slashdot might make you think that Germany is a pro-Linux country makes it
  • Pressuring a peripheral company to make drivers for Linux is best done by the people they get their money directly from - not the end users.

    I've said all along that IBM, HP and other companies making money off Linux should be supporting - and even financing - driver development by peripheral companies.

    And when corporations finally get fed up with Microsoft and start seriously moving to Linux, we will see the peripheral manufacturers tune change dramatically as Dell and the others decide to start selling ful
  • I work in the defense-industrial complex, and I'm seeing a lot of expensive UNIX systems being replaced with high-end PCs running NVidia cards. OpenGL simulations and applications that used to run on large SGIs, HPUX, and Solaris boxes that cost $100s of thousands have been ported to $5000 Linux boxes.

    This market is especially lucrative because oftentimes the company usually wants to spend at least $5k on each computer so it counts as a capital investment instead of an expense for the bean counters. So th

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

Working...