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Re: Games doesent work in Fedora test 3

On Wed, 22 Oct 2003, Justin M. Forbes wrote:

>> So, die hard gamers out there, who also demand open source 
>> drivers on their systems, should at least investigate the
>> FireGL 8800, as it is as fast as things get in 4.3.0 currently.  
>Sadly it seems that we are getting to the era of no good 3d
>support in open source drivers.

That is subjective, and dependant on one's definition of "good 3d 
support".  That means very different things to different people.
Open source 3D driver support will *NEVER* reach the level of 
support of video hardware developed and supplied drivers, because 
the video hardware vendor knows their hardware the best and has 
complete documentation and knowledge of it's operation on every 
level including the hardware engineers who designed it.

>The FireGL was based on the 8500, and there is no doubt that
>development is under way for the newer chipsets,

Not only is their doubt, but I know for a fact, that there is 
zero development underway for open source 3D DRI support for 
newer ATI chipsets.  The hardware documentation is not available 
to anyone to do the work, so it just isn't going to happen.

Get used to binary drivers for now that are unsupported by your 
favourite Linux distribution vendor (any vendor).

>but without very strong documentation, that development takes
>alot of time,

s/without/with/   - If the complete documentation for all of the 
ATI hardware was published tomorrow (or Nvidia for that matter) 
for all of their hardware, it mostly would sit there untouched 
for a month or more.  It would probably be at least 8 to 12 
months before anything was remotely available and useable in 
terms of 3D support, and only then if some company funded the 
development of it, because the people who generally do this kind 
of work in the OSS world rarely if ever have the time to do the 
work purely as a volunteer in their spare time - they have full 
time jobs.

>and it seems to become usable code around the time that the
>chipset it is for is considered out of date.


>And now that the vendors are doing binary only drivers, I am
>afraid there will be less focus on open source equiv. making the
>cycle worse.

Exactly.  The 2D drivers are maintained extremely well however, 
and ATI at least makes constant contributions at least once a 
month if not more of numerous patches to improve support.

Don't expect to see 3D support for currently unsupported 3D 
hardware any time soon however, as that's likely to take 8-12 
months once the documentation is available and someone pays to 
fund the development of that support.  And currently the docs are 
not available, and nobody is interested in funding the 
development it seems.

While that may present a problem for Linux/X users who need 3D 
support, there isn't much that we can do about it, other than 
continue to advocate open source, and continue to ask vendors to 
support their hardware with open source support.  Before we see 
vendors supporting 3D in OSS drivers strongly again however, they 
wont turn their heads unless the revenue to be recognized for 
them is in their own eyes "non-trivial".

See my thread entitled "Rant" on devel xfree86 org about 2-3 
months ago for further details about the business side of things.

Mike A. Harris     ftp://people.redhat.com/mharris
OS Systems Engineer - XFree86 maintainer - Red Hat

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