News ATI drivers official AMD confirmation

Bogdan Diaconescu b_diaconescu at
Fri Sep 7 13:08:26 PDT 2007

I wonder what are AMD's plans about AIW cards and the
video decoders on them. Beside the chips specs there
is sometimes need for some HW related info about how
the chips are connected on the pcb. Having this
information open is how I understand that AMD should
help the open source community.


--- "Hal V. Engel" <hvengel at> wrote:

> AMD officially confirms open source intent.  See
> It's official: ATI Radeon drivers to be open sourced
> By Joe Barr on September 06, 2007 (5:30:00 PM)
> Printer friendly page Print
> Comment on this article Comments
> AMD briefed this morning on a pending
> announcement regarding the 
> open sourcing of drivers for ATI graphics cards.
> It's official -- AMD will 
> make code and specifications for ATI graphics cards
> available on the Internet 
> on September 10.
> We spoke with Phil Hester, senior vice president and
> CTO at AMD, and Chris 
> Schlaeger, director of AMD's Operating System
> Research Center, along with Jon 
> Carvill, AMD's manager of public relations. They
> confirmed the rumors 
> reported earlier on Slashdot, that everything
> necessary for community-driven 
> and -maintained 2-D and 3-D drivers for ATI Radeon
> X1000 and HD 2000 graphics 
> will be made available next week.
> Hester and Schlaeger both stressed the point that
> the announced project is a 
> work in progress. Even the licensing terms are not
> yet finalized. Hester 
> says, "This has to be an open, collaborative
> process. This is not us just 
> dumping a bunch of stuff on the table and saying,
> 'We're done.' To me, this 
> is the beginning of a commitment to work with the
> open source community over 
> a sustained period to do what we need to to make
> them happy in both the 2-D 
> and the 3-D area."
> As far as the licensing is concerned, Hester says,
> "I think with good 
> certainty we know that the 2-D drivers will be a
> combination of MIT and GPL. 
> We haven't figured out a bunch of things on the 3-D
> license yet."
> The reason for the uncertainty on the 3-D side is
> two-fold, Hester explains. 
> For one thing, there is code in the closed source
> version that does not 
> belong to AMD, so they have to figure out how to
> provide the information 
> needed by the open source community without giving
> away code they don't own. 
> For another, the sheer complexity of the GPUs is
> enormous. Hester 
> says, "There are 7,000 to 8,000 control registers in
> GPUs these days. The 
> visible register set in a GPU is considerably more
> complex than the visible 
> register set in a CPU." As a result, documenting
> those registers in a way 
> that open source developers can understand is not a
> trivial task. Hester 
> believes it will take several iterations of AMD
> presenting information, the 
> community absorbing and commenting on it, followed
> by more information being 
> delivered in an ongoing process in order to work all
> the way through to the 
> point where everything needed for open source
> drivers to fully exercise the 
> 3-D capabilities of the cards is available in an
> understandable form.
> Work has already begun behind the scenes with
> developers at Novell. Why 
> Novell? Prior work together and an existing
> contractual framework made it an 
> easy place to start, but Hester says, "I wouldn't
> read anything into that. We 
> are very open as to who we work with."
> On the issue of maintainership, Schlaeger says, "We
> want to enable the open 
> source community to carry the development forward.
> We won't let them alone. 
> It's not something that we dump a bit of code, a bit
> of spec, and say, 'This 
> is it. You asked for it, you have it. Feel free, and
> have fun.'" He noted 
> that the company took a similar approach on the
> Linux port of Opteron. 
> Initially, it contracted with Novell to bring the
> project along, then made it 
> into a successful open source project.
> A formal press release regarding the open sourcing
> of the ATI drivers is 
> expected from AMD after market close today.
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