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XGI, VIA Release Open Source Drivers 315

An anonymous reader writes "XGI has announced the release of open source drivers for its Volari family of graphics adapters. Efforts at X.Org to merge the new code into the head branch are already underway. Almost simultaneously, VIA has announced the immediate release of open source drivers for S3 Graphics UniChrome, VIA ProSavage and ProSavage DDR. Could these moves signal the beginning of a period of rapid improvement in Free drivers for video cards?"
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XGI, VIA Release Open Source Drivers

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  • So what card? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @12:36PM (#12224271)
    So based on this news what is the best card to buy?
    • Nvidia makes some pretty good cards.
    • That very much depends on your application(s) and your budget. To be honest, if all your going to do is run X Windows it really doesnt matter too much if the driver is a bit suboptimal because all modern cards are darn fast for 2D applications.
      • Re:So what card? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Trelane ( 16124 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @01:00PM (#12224536) Journal
        While it's true that current Xservers only exercise the 2D portion of the graphics card, Xgl (OpenGL/DRI-based X11) is under heavy development, and will likely be the future of X graphics. Hence 3D performance will likely be of critical importance in the near-ish future (though how much of a difference good versus great 3D performance will make remains to be seen)

        What this translates to for me personally is that XGI, VIA, and Intel chips are all major contenders for my future desktop, as the current contenders (Nvidia, ATI) both have binary-only drivers that come with some pretty serious headaches (ati in particular, Nvidia much less). Again, I'd also very much consider older ATI cards, as their specs are available to X devs and (hence?) have good drivers. But given my current fight with my ATI card, I'm seriously considering not buying modern ATI again.

      • All I do "is run X Windows" (more correctly, "The X Window System"... there's some very old problems with calling it "X" or "X Windows" that MIT asked people to avoid by calling it by its full name)... of course, I run applications on top of it.

        They range from gnome-terminal to firefox to music visualization to video games like Neverwinter Nights to 3D screensavers to Celestia.

        I find that even for routine tasks like opaque movement of windows, a decent driver makes a huge difference, but of course for mas
        • I have seen some XGI banner ads around. That's about it... still, if their drivers are completely open source now, I might need to give them a better look. Has anyone here used their cards before? How do they compare to Nvidia and Ati as far as quality and power go?
    • I think what you're implying is that this release won't really make a huge effect on gamers per-se.

      But then gamers don't use linux and that old argument.

      I think the point is, there needs to be someone to slowly push graphics card manufacturers towards open source. And this (hopefully) is it. Eventually ATI and nVidia will (hopefully) follow suite.
      • The current FOSS ATI X drivers are based on information (and, OTTOMH, code) released by ATI and good for cards up to the 9200 series. Higher-powered cards will run also, but the more advanced hardware features aren't used.

        NVidia didn't even release the source to a commodity item like their nForce LAN chipset, so we had to clean-room our own for that one.

        The Volari cards look good. I'm pleased that the hard-working lab-rats there have finally managed to convince management to Open their 3D drivers too (the
    • In my experience, if you are looking for the "best video", then you'll need to install Windows or buy a Mac. Don't get me wrong - I've been using Ubuntu on my PC at home for almost two months now but this has really showed me the value in a copy of Windows.

      I have all these people telling me that I must be doing something wrong but they all get real quiet when I ask them to make an ISO of their drive for me to use.

      Hopefully, the VIA hardware isn't envumbered with patents and the whole friggin' thing will
      • I have all these people telling me that I must be doing something wrong but they all get real quiet when I ask them to make an ISO of their drive for me to use.

        Woah - what is that comment supposed to mean? Are you saying that Windows and Mac folks will make you an ISA of their drive? Are you trying to say that the tools do not exist in Linux to do this? Are you trying to comment on the installability of the OS?

        You're just kind of leaving the whole thing dangling, and while I'm sure most people assume

        • Woah - what is that comment supposed to mean? Are you saying that Windows and Mac folks will make you an ISA of their drive?

          I don't need help with Windows or Macs so I've never asked. But I would certainly make (and have done so) an ISO image of a working Windows configuration for a set of hardware.

          But you misunderstood my comment. When begging and asking for help with Linux, I've often asked for someone to simply ISO a drive from a bare configuration that JUST FREAKIN WORKS. I've actually offered to
          • Who told you to use "noatun" - I've never heard of it.

            The two major media players are xine and mplayer - try one of those instead.

            As one person once pointed out on IRC, "mplayer would play a turd if you plugged it in correctly to an IDE cable". xine is about the same.
            • noatun is a pretty nice KDE front-end to Xine, IIRC.

              Works great in SuSE.

              SuSE = complete OS.

              Gentoo = 99% complete OS for gear heads that like to customize.

              Ubuntu = 98% complete OS thats just not finished yet. Hopefully, soon.
          • Mind using SuSE?

            Stop fiddling. Dump Gentoo/Ubuntu.

            Yes, SuSE is not 100% guaranteed all free.

            But I can send you an ISO that will just work, or I can walk you through a (maybe 2 hour) setup process that will get EVERYTHING working, including synchronized audio/video (i regularly watch dvds, xvids/dvixs, AVIs, Quciktimes, WMVs, you name it).

            Occasionally, you'll run into a roadbump with SuSE. The only thing that comes to mind with 9.2 is that there will be a permissions problem burning to a USB-DVD writer i
            • Sorry to reply to myself,

              But if you grab either an x86 system, or an AMD64 system, you won't need to have special hardware (except for the recommended Nvidia graphics card).

              SuSE compiles everything including the kitchen sync as modules, so it should work on just about anything that has enough ram.

              I suggest 256 mb if you want eye candy.
    • Re:So what card? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by didde ( 685567 ) * on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @01:00PM (#12224542) Homepage

      A couple of weeks ago I managed to fry my highend NVidia GPU (don't ask how). At the local 'puter store they only had a bunch of ATI's available at that moment and since it's not easy to use the machine without a GPU I had to settle for one.

      I have to say, I've heard nothing but bad things about ATI cards under Linux as they're drivers are proprietary and rumored to be quite poor. Let me tell you, my X800 is working like a charm! It took me about 10 minutes to download the RPM from, run it through alien [] and then install. It Just Worked.

      Also the TV-out is awesomely overscanned form the get-go as opposed to the NVidias I have been using.

      Sorry for the offtopic, but I am rather chocked that ATI has such a bad rep among you Slashdotters. Proprietary or not, the drivers works flawlessly for me.

      (No I am not an ATI employee)

      • Try actually using that excellent 3d card of yours for playing GL based game, either native or through cedega and then we'll see how quickly you become a convert.
      • I didn't have any problems with the linux drivers for my ATI card (getting the config file right was kind of "fun", but it turned out to be pretty simple in the end) but it sure is a pain in the ass on Windows. I ended up going to the DNA drivers because the stock ones were crashy. The catalyst control center actually hard bluescreened my XP box to the point where it wouldn't automatically reboot. My 9600 XT was a fine upgrade from my GF4Ti4200 but the windows drivers are poop. (Linux does not support my RA
      • ATI still garbage. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @02:28PM (#12225608) Homepage
        Won't compile with 2.6.11? Check.
        Compiles with BIG, LARGE warnings about depreciated features being used in 2.6.10? Check.
        Won't work under x64_64? Check.
        2D part of drivers buggy? Check.
        Infrequent releases that don't correct problems? Check.
        No support for X RandR? Check.

        Sorry, the ATI drivers don't pass muster. Perhaps I should've realized sooner with the constant weird 2D bugs I had with the ATI driver. Or the fact it wouldn't compile on 2.6.11. Or the fact it just plain won't work as advertised on 64-bit Linux.

        I took out my Radeon 8500, put in a Geforce 2MX I had, and installed the nVidia driver. It was actually wrapped in an installer, rather than me having to manually untar and run scripts ala ATI. It asked if I wanted 32-bit compatibility OpenGL libraries. It told me that the 2.6.11 kernel fixed some AGP issues and was reccomended (which was good since I already had it, and only used the 2.6.10 because of ATI). X RandR started to work with the nVidia driver. 64-bit and 32-bit apps work flawlessly with each other.

        ATI is shit. Their card hardware may be good, but without a driver, it might as well be an ISA SB16 for all the use I get out of it.
        • by kangpeh ( 875381 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @03:11PM (#12226091)
          ATI does in fact run quite nicely under Linux using the fglrx drivers. With a little bit of effort (i.e., compiling the driver, loading it into the kernel as a module, re-configuring your x-org configuration to use fglrx rather than ati/radeon, and so forth), X-org will run very smoothly and rapidly with an ATI video card.

          Try comparing the amount of frames per second you get with glxgears using the Mesa 3D Open Source ATI drivers versus the proprietary fglrx drivers supplied by ATI. I think you will get 100 times more frames in a second with the ATI fglrx drivers.

          Using the fglrx drivers, I am able to play all games, including Legends, Cube, Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein, Americas Army, Frozen Bubble, Super Tux, Tux Racer, Counterstrike, and others, just to name a few.

          The only setbacks seen with the fglrx drivers would be that of the mentioned lack of XRandR support as well as a lack of XCompMgr support (for drop shadows/transparency). However, such minor setbacks on 'beauty' shouldn't be a big decision when choosing which drivers to use.

          ATI does not "fail it." While, they do not support the open source community as much as we would like (as, persay, NVidia Corp), they do in fact give us enough support as of right now to be comfortable. ATI's main clientele, as are most video card manufacturers/distributors, are Microsoft Windows users. You'll need to keep in mind, their programmers/staff should be put forth to work on what is important to the financial situation of the company rather than pleasing us Linux users - for now.

          After all, a company does not exist without money.
      • Re:So what card? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Java Ape ( 528857 )
        I had a similar experience a couple of weeks ago. I have been avoiding ATI cards in my Linux boxes, but I was converting a nasty windows box for a friend, and he had a decent ATI card in it. I decided to try to ATI drivers, rather than dredge through the parts box for an old nVidia card. The result was one of the nicest looking and most stable X-org setups I've seen. The only oddity I noticed was that highlights in 3-D mode seemed a bit overly bright. Overall, I'm far more impressed than I expected to b
    • From TFA:

      The UniChrome family display driver supports the VIA CLE266 and the new VIA CN400 Digital Media chipsets featured on the popular VIA EPIA M series and VIA EPIA SP series mainboards respectively, and will provide developers with the flexibility to autonomously incorporate support for latest applications based on VIA hardware.


      On top of the UniChrome drivers, VIA also offers display driver sources for the VIA ProSavage and ProSavage DDR integrated graphics controllers as well as the integrated

    • Unichrome is mainly for motherboards with embedded graphics eg ABIT VA-20 []
    • Well, the reigning champ [] of DRI compatible video cards is the Radeon FireGL 8800 which is a slightly faster version of the Radeon 8500. Some of the benchmarks of the Volari cards indicate that their performance is comparable to budget Nvidia and ATI cards. If their X drivers are as good as their Windows drivers, it's possible that top-end Volari cards are faster than the top end ATI cards when using the free software drivers. I look forward to trying one of these puppies.

      As far as the VIA drivers go...
  • by LiNKz ( 257629 ) * on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @12:38PM (#12224287) Homepage Journal
    It isn't like they have much to lose. They sell hardware, the drivers simply let that hardware operate. They probably also know this will earn them points with the Open Source Community.. which is always a good thing.
    • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @12:41PM (#12224327) Journal
      True, but a lot of hardware companies hoard their IP as though it has intrinsic value. They seem to assume that since it cost something to produce, it must be worth something.

      Hopefully this will result in an improvement in the drivers and a detectable increase in sales for this hardware.
      • by harrkev ( 623093 ) <kfmsd AT harrelsonfamily DOT org> on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @01:12PM (#12224670) Homepage
        Yup. This is a win-win proposition for them. They just scored major brownie points with major geeks (myself included). I can tell you that if I was looking for a new vid card right now, I would seriously look into their stuff. A week ago, I would have looked ONLY at nVidia.

        The impact is that they will likely see a noticable improvement in sales because of this. And as far as their IP, nobody can even come close to nVidia and ATI. You only have to worry about your IP if you are concerned about the people behind you catching up. If you ARE in last place, you have nothing to loose ;)
      • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @02:24PM (#12225569) Homepage Journal

        This is not completely fair. Most hardware companies depend on code in their drivers that their staff did not write. As contracts generally go, the outside developer usually imposes limits on use and distribution of their work. It's invariably more expensive to purchase outsourced code without restrictions.
    • the drivers simply let that hardware operate
      Huh, there is no software development or IP involved with driver? More likely they don't have the programs that nVidia and ATI have and would like some open source chaps to fill the gap. Still as a learning tool and being able to play with Video card driver code it should be of interest.
  • Open is good (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Starraisin1 ( 560241 )
    I wish all other hardware companies did this.
    • Don't forget that recently Plextor opened their Plextor PVRs Tuner Cards [].

      Maybe these will be the start of a trend?
    • What? Open source a shitty old version of their drivers with 3D stripped out? nVidia already did this a few years ago.
  • C3 systems (Score:5, Interesting)

    by renehollan ( 138013 ) <.rhollan. .at.> on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @12:38PM (#12224292) Homepage Journal
    This is good news for fanless C3-based systems using CLE266 MPEG acceleration hardware: Via had released closed-source drivers (and, indeed, forked Xine to use them in a product called VeXP). These drivers were reverse-engineered to support an open source equivalent, which was less than completely reliable.
    • Re:C3 systems (Score:2, Interesting)

      The source they released doesn't compile. Apparently it is the source that was released on the developer portal that became the basis for the unichrome driver. In other words what they released is older, buggier, and less secure than the existing open source driver.

      Some are saying this is just VIA's way of dumping support for linux drivers on the OSS community while at the same time spouting how open source friendly they are.

    • Re:C3 systems (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Hoplite3 ( 671379 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @02:24PM (#12225560)
      As someone who uses a fanless C3 system with the open source unichrome /xxmc drivers, I object to them being called "less than reliable". I've had zero issues with them. In fact, when I was investigaing whether or not to use the VIA solution or the open source one, it came to light that that the via solution didn't work as well: ci d=25289&group_id=102048

      Moreover, VeXP isn't fully functional. It has issues with full screen play, other video codecs, etc. If you want to do something besides watch mpeg2, you need the open source solution.

      However, building mplayer, xorg, and unichrome to all play nice and use hardware took me several hours and a lot of curse words. It isn't exactly straightforward. (But maybe it improved from feb 2005.)
  • Well . . . (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @12:39PM (#12224298)
    You paying attention to this ATI?

    • Uhmmm... As I understand it, XGI and Via simly released the source for their 2D drivers. ATI, on the other hand, has released specs for the 2D core of their cards. They've also released specs for the 3D core of their older (r100 & r200) radeon cards. In addition, ATI releases binary-only drivers for all their radeon cards.

      Seems to me that XGI and VIA have some catching up to do.

  • Hopefully.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @12:40PM (#12224312)
    The quality of these drivers becomes extremely good in the X tree such that both ATI & Nvidia lose sales because of it.

    The only way those two will release their own drivers as open-source is when they feel a pinch in the pocketbook.

    • Re:Hopefully.. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Skjellifetti ( 561341 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @12:58PM (#12224521) Journal
      Matrox has had free open source drivers for their cards for quite a while. Hasn't seemed to impact ATI and Nvidia yet. Still, one can hope.
      • Re:Hopefully.. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
        Last time I looked, the Matrox drivers that were open source only supported basic 3D stuff, with everything else being in the mga_hal binary, x86-only, module.
        • Re:Hopefully.. (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Last time I looked, the Matrox drivers that were open source only supported basic 3D stuff, with everything else being in the mga_hal binary, x86-only, module.

          "man mga" reveals it's a bit more confusing:

          The second head of dual-head cards is supported for the G450 and G550. Support for the second head on G400 cards requires a binary-only "mga_hal" module that is available from Matrox , and may be on the CD supplied with the card. That module also provides various other enhancements, and may be ne

  • by suitepotato ( 863945 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @12:40PM (#12224313) the question about free drivers: yes, maybe, I certainly hope, all of the above.

    We already get our drivers for $free on most platforms. Free as in open and easy, I certainly hope so. While we've made great strides in compatibility over the years, getting the hardware people on board and co-operating is still lagging.

    When 95% of each sector of the hardware market is co-operating, then we'll just have to hope coders are doing something useful with the platforms now that they're working.

    I'll put this in my personal "Good News" category for future reference.
  • Doubt it (Score:2, Informative)

    by soniCron88 ( 870042 )
    "Could these moves signal the beginning of a period of rapid improvement in Free drivers for video cards?"

    I doubt it. Just a coincidence. Wishful thinking. Once nVidia releases open source drivers, you may start to think otherwise.
    • Re:Doubt it (Score:3, Informative)

      nVidia does release open source drivers. The nv driver in is maintained by nVidia.

      The nvidia driver, however, is not open source. The difference is the nv driver supports 2d acceleration only, whereas the nvidia binary driver supports hardware 3d.

      Unless I misread the XGI info incorrectly, this is exactly the same case with them - they have binary drivers that support hardware 2d and 3d, and they have open sourced their 2d code.

      Not sure about the situation with Via, but overall, I think this is a tr
  • Maybe when ATI and nVIDIA release open source drivers as they are the drivers (pun not intended) of graphics technology
  • by Progman3K ( 515744 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @12:42PM (#12224334)
    If the performance on those cards is anywhere near decent I'll be buying one.
  • by gmikej ( 856115 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @12:42PM (#12224335)
    I bought a XGI card for my HTPC thinking that it would be the ideal card for my analog TV (s-video was supposed to be great). It works alright- but it will not boot to ONLY S-video. That means that every time I need to reboot the HTPC I need to drag in my monitor.

    I've heard that newer NVidia cards can boot straight to TV.

    Now I just have to decide on whether I wait for someone to work out a Open source driver for the XGI card or just spend the ~$40 on a NVidia card when I have a perfectly decent XGI card already.

    heh- who am I kidding. I'm cheap. And patient.

    Come on guys- let's start reverse engineering these XGI drivers!

  • This is great news. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rice_burners_suck ( 243660 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @12:43PM (#12224348)
    Ha! Finally, hardware manufacturers are discovering the great secret: They're in the business to sell hardware! They're not in the business of producing software drivers for Microsoft.

    And guess what? I think this will ultimately increase their sales. As more drivers are available, choosing hardware to run Linux or some obscure OS won't be so difficult, so people will be more likely to buy a piece of hardware.

    I think this will also improve the quality of their products. Often, drivers, like any other software, contain bugs, which can cause it to appear as if the hardware isn't working as well as it should. Or perhaps the driver isn't quite as efficient as it could be with system resources, so it seems as if the hardware isn't quite as fast as it should be. When these things are released under open source, it is more likely that things like this will get fixed and improved, and that will ultimately improve the vendor's hardware product without requiring any significant effort on the part of the vendor.

    XGI and VIA are doing a smart thing. I'm heading over to write them an email about them and thank them. I suggest that others do the same. This is great news, and I hope other vendors will follow.

    • how about they have the balls to put a "compatable with linux" sticker on their hardware? hell have a disclaimer that says , "dont call us for support, we will tell you to sod off, but it works with linux."

      I'm tired of companies enjoying the sales to linux users but refuse to admit that it works or even act linu-phobic..

      that's great they released the drivers, now they need to stick a penguin on the boxes.
    • I certainly welcome more open-source drivers, but the reason there aren't as many isn't just because companies think they're in the business of producing software drivers for Microsoft. They also fear that opening up their drivers will give information to their competitors in the hardware market.

      With graphics cards in particular, there's actually quite a lot going on on the driver level, and some of the "trade secrets" are even how to write optimal drivers themselves---if nVidia's drivers are 10% more eff
  • Could be (Score:4, Insightful)

    by El Cubano ( 631386 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @12:44PM (#12224353)

    Could these moves signal the beginning of a period of rapid improvement in Free drivers for video cards?

    Only if nVidia and/or ATI follow suit. (I know that in some cases they can't, but they could take an approach like Netscape and Sun did, release everything you do own and leave out the stuff you don't).

  • by olafura ( 539592 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @12:44PM (#12224355) Homepage
    When looking through the kernel source code there is only support for 2D. Kernel bugreport [] bugreport []
  • Volari, oh oh, cantari, oh oh oh oh
    Let's fly way up to the clouds, away from the maddening crowds....

  • by GweeDo ( 127172 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @12:46PM (#12224385) Homepage
    Are we getting a fully open source GLX driver as well? Does that GLX driver exploit all the features of the chip? If there is hardware shaders can the GLX driver use those? Or are we getting something like the open source "nv" drive that only does 2D?
  • just a nit (Score:2, Insightful)

    ... merge the new code into the head branch...

    Does anyone here consider the head to be a branch? IMHO a branch is taken from the head. The head is just a trunk. Not a branch.
  • I'm glad to see this positive development from XGI. Releasing open source Linux drivers can't help but give them positive publicity. Back in November of 2003 [] I said we had "an opportunity to persuade [XGI] that supporting Linux by releasing drivers would gain them positive reviews and have an impact on sales." XGI has released the drivers, now it remains to be seen whether this drives sales.

    I don't know who persuaded XGI to make this commitment to open source but I fully intend to consider XGI for my next
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Read up on video cards and Macrovision ... if companies making popular cards like ATI and NVidia start open sourcing drivers, it'll allow end users to trivially circumvent DRM plans (also read up on the whole 'trusted path' idea ... encrypted straight from CPU to monitor).

    It's time to shift your support to companies that support open source (and by consequence, oppose DRM).
  • by Chordonblue ( 585047 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @01:09PM (#12224624) Journal
    Why? Well, I have a bunch of machines here that use the KM 266 Via Chipset and support is scarce. Even proper 2D support is rare (I've only seen it in Fedora 3 and SUSE). Other than that, most other distros will either report 24 bit color (it's 32), or force you to use the generic VGA driver (which is SLOWwww).

    And 3D support? Non-existant. Not that the 3D is spectacular on the KM series anyway, but it's certainly passable for screen savers, programs like Celestia, and other non-'Doom 3' purposs.

    And it's not as though the KM 266 isn't capable of better. Under Windows it performs just great for what most of my users want - just not under Linux.

    Thank you VIA, it will only help you...

  • I haven't managed to get the DRI drivers to compile, install, and run from CVS/SVN in quite some time - I keep hoping there'll be a new release that supports it (yeah, I know, it's not ATI or NVidia performance, but I can't exactly swap the graphics chip in my laptop...)

    I tried following the links, but the download section for my actual ProSavage/DDR chipset only has Windows drivers...

  • by jensend ( 71114 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @01:11PM (#12224654)
    The XGI release is 2d only (the kernel code is for fb support, not DRI), and from what I see on the Unichrome driver effort's mailing list archives the VIA source release is just making available to everyone what has been available through a "developer portal" for some time and does not make any more of the chipsets' features usable.

    So the only possible real news here is a shift in the attitudes of these companies. We'll see how that works out in the future (whether enough information is released to allow open-source 3d drivers for XGI and full support for the VIA MPEG enc/dec acceleration).
  • xgi (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DarkSarin ( 651985 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @01:13PM (#12224678) Homepage Journal
    who here has actually used an xgi card, and what was your experience?

    I am extremely curious--they are cheap, but I want to know about performance.
  • by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @01:14PM (#12224691)
    ...are there open source video drivers for Windows? Can they even be made by an individual, or do you need special software for it (namely, libraries and so)?. Do they need signatures?

    I ask because outside nVidia, Windows drivers are usually lacking one way or another, specially when it comes to stuff like OpenGL. It could be interesting if someone worked independently on Win drivers for mainstream videocards.

    PS: It's great to see some companies realizing they are on the hardware buissnes, not software. Thank you. I had interest in the S3 Deltachrome/Unichrome series, and now i'll most certainly try one out.
  • I applaud the efforts of these hardware vendors to support Free drivers, but:

    These guys are NOT the market leaders - they are very much in a niche market. They are behind and falling even more behind in terms of market penetration - as more embedded systems move to Intel, nVidia, and ATI these guys lose ground.

    They are hoping that by having Free drivers, they will pick up some sales in embedded widgets that they might otherwise not get. Yes, these guys make their money on hardware, AND they don't feel the
  • Great... (Score:3, Funny)

    by TheCoop1984 ( 704458 ) <> on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @01:16PM (#12224714)
    So, in return for them being one of the first gfx card makers to release OSS driver, possibly starting an OSS revolution in the graphics card/hardware industry, we melt their web server?
  • ...I can play Unreal 2k4 and Doom 3 with my ATI Radeon All-in-wonder. It's not's fault though. It's ATI's fault because they are idiot arrogant bastards who won't release specs. I have two of those cards and they are sitting in boxes because there is no really good X driver that supports 3D acceleration. I've had to go over to the dark side and buy NVidia cards (they are the dark side because they killed off 3DFX who WAS Linux friendly). That's my only option though. Either that or just don't pl
  • Open Source Hardware (Score:3, Informative)

    by rinkjustice ( 24156 ) <{rinkjustice} {a ...}> on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @01:21PM (#12224813) Homepage Journal
    Could these moves signal the beginning of a period of rapid improvement in Free drivers for video cards?

    There's even open source hardware from the Open Source Project (OGP) coming out (info here [] and here [], and the /. story here []). for those who don't read the Developers section.

    The PCI version is due soon, and reported to have resolutions up to 2048x2048, dual-link DVI and TV-out (but won't be capable of playing HalfLife2 or anything like that).
  • XGI's "efforts" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Wienaren ( 714122 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @01:31PM (#12224938) Homepage
    Cool. XGI took a very old version of the SiS driver, stripped out many useful features, uglyfied the code beyond belief and calls this *their* effort of open source development.

    And the worst part is that my name is all across "their" source.

    Finally, probably needless to say, the 3D part is not included.
  • The chipsets in question are minimal-functionality low-performance cards which can't even remotely compete with top-of-the-line chipsets.

    Linux support for low-end chipsets has never been lacking. This release isn't news at all.

    If you want decent performance and reliability, NVidia's binary-only drivers are still your only option. :(
  • You guys can't even imagine how this IS important for wilde scale low-end computers out there. Binary drivers from VIA have been always crap, and let's hope in the right hands they will make Linux desktop expierence for lot of people much much better.

    p.s. Yeah, it is God with big G. Don't ask me :)
  • /*
    * Copyright 1998-2005 VIA Technologies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    * Copyright 2001-2005 S3 Graphics, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    * Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a
    * copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"),
    * to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation
    * the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sub license,
    * and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom t
  • For Linux? (Score:2, Funny)

    by lofi-rev ( 797197 )
    From the download site:

    To install the driver, save any unsaved work and close all applications then click on the driver download link (above). Choose the "Save File" option and save it to your folder under Windows where you file your drivers. Unzip the file. (To unzip the file right click and highlight "Extract All") Then double click on the Setup.exe file to run the installation program. Follow the prompts and restart at the end of the installation.

    Do you need WINE installed too or something?

  • Thanks to the hard work of Tim Roberts (and lately Alex Deucher) among others who have made it possible to run these cards for many years now. Check out the main site for Free Savage drivers []

When you are working hard, get up and retch every so often.