Well, it’s been far too long since I’ve had the energy and the opportunity to work on this site in even the slightest, but I’m peeping my head above ground long enough for some very exciting news on the tech front. As the title says: AMD announced Sept. 7th that they are teaming up with Novell (openSUSE) to release their drivers under open-source.
For those of you who don’t know, AMD purchased ATI not too long ago in an effort to one-up their competition (Intel) once the Conroe series of processors stole AMD’s long-reigning crown of processor-par-none. This has since left nVidia out in the cold since Intel has their own integrated video solutions, and the two hardware giants have a very volatile relationship (to say the least).
What does this mean to the general public?
“The lack of open source drivers for graphics hardware has long been a major obstacle for Linux developers and Linux desktop users,” said Nat Friedman, chief technology and strategy officer for Open Source at Novell. “Our ultimate goal is complete, high-quality open source drivers for all video hardware. Today’s announcement brings us one major step closer. Novell is pleased to have extended our collaboration with AMD to deliver the initial drivers that will allow Open Source developers to make the Linux experience even better on desktops, laptops and workstations, and we look forward to contributing this initial code to X.Org.” Source
One only has to visit any number of Linux user forums to read about the nightmares involving ATI video drivers. The previous lack of support and apparent indifference of ATI towards the open source community has been a major sticking point with me, and a major deciding factor when I build computers, or make recommendations. NVidia has had my favor for years. With this bold move, ATI has opened a door to a users, like me, who would have never even thought twice about their products.
The true celebrations will have to wait, however. Rome was not built in a day, nor will ATI’s drivers. There are alpha quality drivers already available from Novell; however, it will take months before full stable releases will be available to the public. Moreover, AMD is initially releasing the specs for R500- and R600-based graphics cards, meaning Radeon HD 2000 and X1000 series. Anything integrated will likely have to wait even longer.
Maybe an ATI video card in my next computer isn’t such a possibility after all. We’ll have to wait and see what nVidia’s next move is. Will they release their GPU’s as well? What will it mean if they do? What if they don’t? Only time will tell.
Additional sources can be found here