The ati petition

Alex Deucher alexdeucher at
Sat Sep 4 09:13:39 PDT 2004

On Sat, 04 Sep 2004 11:20:56 +0100, Hamie <hamish at> wrote:
> Alan Cox wrote:
> >On Gwe, 2004-09-03 at 16:23, Gene Heskett wrote:
> >
> >
> >>The machine?  AMD 2800XP.  Biostar M7-NCD-Pro Motherboard.  A gig of
> >>DDR333 dual channel ram, and an Extacy 9200SE 128 meg card.  I
> >>certainly ought to be able to run tuxracer.
> >>
> >>
> >
> >9200 3D works in CVS Xorg.
> >
> >Their 2D in CVS works up to the very latest PCI Express hardware - which
> >I think counts as pretty damned good support.
> >
> >
> >
> I'm not sure what the PCI Express hardware is sorry. But anything r3xx
> based (Radeon 9600, 9800 etc) doesn't have squat as far as acceleration
> goes AFAIK (I'd be grateful... extreemly grateful... If I was wrong...
> But unfortunatley, I don't think I am). AT least in open source... And
> that's the main problem.

They provide full 2D accerlation for all their currently available
cards as well as full support for both crtcs, non-bios mode setting,
and DFPs, LCDs, and CRTs.  The only thing that requires the use of
their binary module is 3D acceleration for their current chips.  Ati
is no different than any other chip vender at this point.  With the
exception of intel no other vendor has released opensource drivers or
databooks for current generation 3D chips. When you look the feature
set they support in opensource it outweighs what almost evey other
vendor provides.

> ATI probably THINK they're doing a good job with supporting Unix users
> and their fglrx closed source drivers. And for SOME users (OK. The
> majority) it probably works quite well. That's desktop people who don't
> use ACPI for power management, and who never need to suspend their
> machines etc..

Part of the problem is X (xorg/xfree86) has no support for ACPI.  They
are merely working within the framework provided by the windowing
system.  No X driver supports ACPI.  Full ACPI would probably require
at least some sort of kernel component and for the most part X is
completely userspace. Do any of the other binary-only drivers support
power management at all?  Until X gets proper power management support
don't look for things to really improve.

> Unfortunatly they have IMO missed the point... There is more than one
> windowing system (i.e. XOrg & XFree) and although their drivers probably
> work (Where they do work) in both systems at the moment, they may not
> tomorrow... Plus they work in a manner where the ATI developers decree
> they should work. It's hard to belive they even recognise that the
> drivers are actually used on laptops for example. Purely because on a
> laptop they are not the best shall we say at recovering from
> suspending... They also don't work with frame buffers... And I like
> 200x75 text mode...
> if ATI would just release the programming information there'd be any
> number of people willing to write GOOD and STABLE drivers that would
> work for ALL situations... And if they didn't work, someone (Besides the
> original author, who may not even know we have a problem after all)
> could fix them. Because all the information would be there...

Instead of complaining why not try and develop a power management system for X?

> Their model may work in Windoze, but even there the VENDOR usually does
> the drivers... At least as far as IBM laptops go... ATI probably never
> even deal with laptops in the windoze world. And thus would lack the
> experience required to truely appreciate what's required.

Most laptops drivers are tweaked by the laptop OEMs because they tend
to all be wired slightly differently.  different laptops support
different panel sizes and output types (dvi/hd15/tv/etc.) as well as
wiring different GPIOs to different laptop hardware so things like fn
key combos works.  The laptop oems customize all of that to give their
laptop the edge. As such they need to tweak ati's reference drivers to
fully support the way they wire everything up.

> Of course if I'm wrong I'm sorry.... I wish I was & that the ATI drivers
> were the best in the world (Because after all I have a laptop with an
> M10/rv350 in it). But unless ATI release the INFORMATION for CURRENT
> chipsets (Heck the 3xx isn't even state of the art any more, thats the
> 4xx isn't it?) taht's never going to happen.

I too would like to see full open source drivers for the 3d component
of current chips, but whether we have specs are not there are still
quite a few infrastructural changes that need to happen to X in order
to fully utilize every feature of the chips.  Plus even if they
released they specs, who'd write the driver?  Writing a 3D driver is
no trivial task.  Most developers work on X part time.


> H

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