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Should we really be *happy* about AMD's release of specs?

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memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 5 hours 18 min ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12

AMD did not release free drivers for GNU/Linux. AMD did not release any new source code. They merely released specifications based on which Free Software developers can create drivers without the cost of reverse engineering. While this is progress compared to where we were, I am really thinking it is not a reason to be really happy and feeling all warm about AMD all of a sudden. Not if we believe that when we buy a piece of hardware we are entitled to everything that will make it work including everything that will show us how it works.

In other words, it is AMDs duty to release both specifications and free drivers for their cards. It is the ONLY ethical and fair thing to do. So to be happy that they released specs is like a chained man being happy for having its one arm being unchained even though the other is still tight under lock. It just doesn't make sense.

To make the situation worse, the specifications they released, as I last heard, wont even allow us to get rid of the controversial binary microcode that existing free reverse engineered R300 drivers use. In addition, as I read here, free drivers will still end up slower than the official proprietary driver. I doubt this would be the case if we got the full source code of the official driver rather than these pitiful crumbs.

So what exactly do we gain? Well, we gain free drivers support for the newer cards earlier than we would if it had to be reverse engineered, but with continued dependency on the annoying binary microcode blob. But that's about all there is to it. People who will want maximum performance and who don't really care about running Free Software will still prefer proprietary AMD driver.

That's what I call too little, and indeed too late. Why the heck is our community (me being so darn impulsive sometimes included) so naive to always jump up and down out of happiness when closed-minded corporations throw us such pitiful crumbs. Perhaps it is because most of the "community" we are talking about is all about "Linux" and barely anything about "Free Software". Most people would consider the relatively high quality of Nvidia's drivers as a great thing for which Nvidia should be applauded because they support "Linux" despite the fact that these drivers are proprietary and hence of no support for "Free Software".

Talk about a limited OS-centered fanboyism versus the serious issues seen in the big picture. The OS shouldn't matter as much as Freedomware.

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Daniel Memenode signature

User offline. Last seen 8 years 35 weeks ago. Offline
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They ARE helping the driver development.

AMD is partnering with Novell and community developers for the free driver development.

I assume the old driver is like Java, with outsourced parts. Since they haven't freed any of it, I guess a large portion was outsourced.

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idontknowctmwhatsthepointofcapitallettersorspacesorpunctuation

User offline. Last seen 10 years 17 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2007-10-26
libervisco wrote:
libervisco wrote:

...While this is progress compared to where we were, I am really thinking it is not a reason to be really happy and feeling all warm about AMD all of a sudden. Not if we believe that when we buy a piece of hardware we are entitled to everything that will make it work including everything that will show us how it works.

In other words, it is AMDs duty to release both specifications and free drivers for their cards. It is the ONLY ethical and fair thing to do. So to be happy that they released specs is like a chained man being happy for having its one arm being unchained even though the other is still tight under lock. It just doesn't make sense...

I stopped reading right there. I have been using Linux for the last 5 years and have come to realize that many of its users/writers are idiots. I guess I was naive in thinking that this movement would have fewer real whackos among its fanatics than Windows or Mac. I was wrong.

AMD is a for profit company. They make products that anyone is free to purchase and use. They set conditions and terms for the use of their products and to obtain support. If you don't want to use their product and abide by their terms/support you do not have to. If they offer you a slice of pie, don't be a greedy bastard and want the whole pie. Just because you have bought into all of Richard Stallman's ideals doesn't mean that AMD, or other Linux users have too as well.

I have never seen a movement whether human or technological whose incremental progress wasn't assailed by fanatics who wanted the Status Quo changed in a single day. Patience and perseverance are virtues my friend, consider embracing them.

memenode's picture
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MetalSpike wrote: AMD is a
MetalSpike wrote:

AMD is a for profit company. They make products that anyone is free to purchase and use. They set conditions and terms for the use of their products and to obtain support.

They certainly do, but that doesn't make these conditions any more fair. Once a piece of hardware has been purchased and therefore paid for it is the property of the buyer, not AMD or anyone else who it was bought from. It therefore should go without saying that the buyer should have all that is needed for this piece of hardware to actually work and for him/her to know how it works and even modify this to the practical extent (modify the driver) if (s)he so desires. This requires specifications and freely licensed source code of drivers. Of course, this seems too much to ask for you and so many other people today because we've been essentially trained to accept half-offers, pay for something and yet still not actually own it in the real sense.

So we keep depending, thinking it's a normal thing, and when someone suggests that this should never be happening because it is unfair, then (s)he is being considered a "whacko". How interesting. If I am a whacko for suggesting that users should have a bit more freedom over their own property then by all means I am.

MetalSpike wrote:

If you don't want to use their product and abide by their terms/support you do not have to.

That's certainly correct. I can just abstain from every deal I consider unfair, but how does that change the validity of what I've said? I still maintain, regardless, that the deal is unfair and if I and nobody else never did that we'd be more and more worse off in the future. It is exactly because people have been complaining that AMD is moving in the right direction these days, even if their current progress isn't exactly breath taking. By your thinking we should probably just shut up and put up.. and don't buy their products.

And then again we'd be left with no options to buy. Both Nvidia and ATI, now AMD, offer the same unfair deal.

MetalSpike wrote:

I have never seen a movement whether human or technological whose incremental progress wasn't assailed by fanatics who wanted the Status Quo changed in a single day.

You can't be a confident judge of the expectations of those who you call fanatics. Just because they are vocal doesn't mean they expect a single-day change. However, it is exactly in big part because of their audacity and vocality that change is happening at all!

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Daniel Memenode signature

User offline. Last seen 9 years 31 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-08-23
MetalSpike, you're not

MetalSpike, you're not making much sense.

If libervisco thinks the deal offered by AMD is fair enough to be greeted with huge applause, that's his opinion. If someone posts an opinion on the web, that doesn't mean everyone else has to accept that opinion. It's his right to have and voice that opinion, and it's your right to disagree. Libervisco never said you should agree with him (or else what?), yet you respond as if he did. Knocking down straw mans, are we?

Furthermore you seem to think only Richard Stallman should be allowed to express opinions similar to those of Richard Stallman. Yes, wouldn't it be nice if it seemed only one person had those whacky ideas? It would certainly feel more comfortable than being surrounded by many more similar lunatics, right?

As you said, there are as many "whackos" on Linux as there are fanboys on Windows and Mac. But these aren't crazy about "ease of use" or "my OS is better than yours because it is, nyah nyah nyah", they talk of freedom and ethics. Being a "Linux whacko" requires quite a bit more intelligence than liking win or mac. If there are many of them - you say so - then perhaps there is some merit to their opinions?

I am intrigued by your last paragraph. If you tell libervisco to be patient and persevering, that implies you believe he will get what he wants if he uses those virtues, and that you want this to happen - otherwise you wouldn't offer this helpful advice. Don't tell me YOU also bought into all of Richard Stallman's ideals!

In conclusion, you think libervisco is a whacko, yet you agree with him. Interesting...

By the way, commenting on things you haven't read completely: bad habit. Sooner or later it's going to make you look stupid because you will make a remark to which a good response was already given in the part you didn't read. Heck, not reading the whole article makes you look stupid and arrogant regardless of how much sense your reply makes.

User offline. Last seen 5 years 27 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2007-02-26
"The reasonable man adapts

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
George Bernard Shaw, Long Long Ago.

Notwithstanding the merit in your points and discarding the language and tone, what interests me is the psychology of this reaction which you have experienced more than once. It almost seems as if you perceive views that more needs to be done as though they were a rule imposed along the lines that no one in the world can be happy so long as one thing is wrong.

Why get so upset at people who are making efforts to make the world a better place? Is it that you don't like to be reminded that the world is not perfect? Do you have the same reaction to people talking about climate change and other issues, as though they're out to spoil your party?

User offline. Last seen 9 years 27 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2007-02-09
You misunderstand the idea of "property".
'MetalSpike' wrote:

AMD is a for profit company. They make products that anyone is free to purchase and use. They set conditions and terms for the use of their products and to obtain support.

I say this with very little animosity, but I think you're accepting the RIAA's idea of "ownership" rather than... The logical view held throughout human history.

When you buy a set of silverware you do not sign an end user license agreement. You buy the spoon and take possession of that spoon - you control it, not the person who made it. They have no right legally and CERTAINLY no right ethically to impose restrictions on how I use that spoon. I'm free to eat oatmeal with it, or use it to make a metal sculpture, or to fling rocks or to give myself rhinoplasty. That's the beauty about ownership - it's YOURS.

I buy an AMD card. It is marketed as a "Graphics Adapter" just as spoons are marketed as eating utenciles. However, since I OWN it I have the right to use use it to do financial calculations (which video cards actually do much better than un-optimized all-purpose CPUs) or clean my cat's litterbox or whatever. If the device I purchased REQUIRES a piece of microcode to function, I consider the product defective if I am unable to modify that... You'd not consider a car missing an engine to be functional... the arguement "You can add one yourself" just doesn't hold - same with AMD's devices.

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