Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (5130 mails)

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Re: [SLE] Xgl on legacy nvidia cards
  • From: "Bryan J. Smith" <b.j.smith@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 23 May 2006 19:38:12 -0400
  • Message-id: <1148427492.2816.56.camel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Tue, 2006-05-23 at 11:10 -0300, Alvaro Kuolas wrote:
> Could you tell us the long story? :)
> According to this article:
> "On the flip side, Intel believes it can use open-source drivers to gain
> against Nvidia and ATI.

First off, remember, there are *2* _key_ components to today's CPUs:
1. Kernel-level memory/interconnect driver
2. User-space OpenGL on X11 (GLX)

Intel _withholds_ a lot of _key_ IP on #1. Intel does _not_ provide #1,
only #2. nVidia and, as of the R300 series, ATI provide #1 as well.
That's why Intel's Linux performance sucks -- let alone their GPUs are
lackluster in OpenGL/ARB extension support when it comes to #2 as well.

nVidia released 100% source code in the XFree 3.3.x days, and Intel (let
alone Microsoft, SGI and others) threatened to sue them over the IP that
was included. nVidia and ATI use a unified driver approach. They are
far more capable in OpenGL/ARB extension support than Intel.

nVidia used to not make their nForce AGPgart available. That changed
once PCIe came out. Intel no longer considered some IP that nVidia had
access to on AGP as a "trade secret." nVidia and Intel had a very tight
relationship _until_ nVidia started providing key AMD solutions.

> The strategy parallels the chipmaker's earlier move with wireless networking support
> <>,

Intel is a 800lbs. gorilla who can _force_all_ Tawainese vendors to buy
not only their core MAC logic, but their PHY interface chip as well.
That's why Intel's networking is rock solid.

Outside of Intel, far too many Tawainese vendors "mix'n match" different
MAC to PHY chips, etc... when it comes to networking cards. That's
where 99% of ATI, nVidia, SiS and ViA's problems come from when it comes
to NIC support. The driver works for the MAC logic, but not the PHY.

When it comes to wireless, the problem is the FCC more than anything.
Atheros "did the right thing" and they still got grilled by rabid Linux
users for it. Even Linus might address the greater issue that some
things for Wireless needs to be object code.

Most everything else is due to the "superstore mode" -- cheap, simple
hardware that is 100% OS driver driven. That code is typically licensed
from various Tawainese vendors from a few 3rd parties, who won't ever
GPL their core IP that makes them money from those licensees.

Because they are small vendors -- and not the 800lbs. gorilla.

> and it has won an ally in Red Hat. "Their partnering with the
> open-source community is a pretty strong advantage," Stevens said.

Red Hat is uber-GPL anal. They have their focus.
But even Alan Cox and I have corresponded about many of the IP issues.

> Intel has new plans for its open-source graphics driver work, though
> Hohndel wouldn't reveal details. "Our (graphics) drivers are open
> source. We are bringing out some interesting new stuff. It's not
> released yet," he said."

And at the same time, they don't include _key_ IP that ATI and nVidia
use. Again, it's a really _long_ story -- and you have to have worked
at least near the semiconductor industry to be exposed to the IP issues.

Bryan J. Smith Professional, technical annoyance
Americans don't get upset because citizens in some foreign
nations can burn the American flag -- Americans get upset
because citizens in those same nations can't burn their own

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