Funding Radeon driver development

Alex Deucher alexdeucher at
Sun Apr 15 20:22:40 PDT 2007

On 4/15/07, Russell Shaw <rjshaw at> wrote:
> Daniel Kasak wrote:
> > Firstly, I thought I'd start a new thread instead of replying the the
> > original one, as I'd like to get maximum exposure and not just people
> > interested in tv-out ...
> >
> > Hanno Böck wrote:
> >
> >> Hi,
> >>
> >> One of the most missing features for me in linux is my non-working
> >> tv-out. (well, it can work with the proprietary ati-driver, but that's
> >> not really what I want)
> >>
> >> Now, I heared that some people were working on that, but never saw a
> >> patch that made it work for me. As this would make things much easier
> >> for me, I thought that I might donate a small amount of money if
> >> someone is willing to pick that issue up. I also think that I could
> >> gain some more donaters via a public announcement in my blog.
> >>
> >> My question: Would such an initiative be welcome by the xorg-devs?
> >> Anyone probably already interested in getting such a bounty?
> >
> >
> > I've been meaning to suggest something similar, but I've been snowed
> > under in work and stuff. I think the bounty idea is a great way of
> > motivating both users and developers...
> Geez, i've had *months* of free time to write drivers for *free* and have
> tried just that for the ATI 9200 card i have.
> The failure of xorg is to document anything about writing a card driver,
> how existing ones work, and how DRI works.

There is a fair amount of documentation, what aspect were you having
trouble with?  Also, I've said this before, and I'll say it again, if
you need help understanding something, please ask!  Email the list or
me directly if you want.  I'm happy to explain anything I have
knowledge of:  crtcs, outputs, drawing engines, how a mode gets
programmed on a radeon, etc.

> Even though i've worked out a lot of it by looking at source code over
> years, there's too much undocumented stuff such as the dozens of card-
> specific non-vga registers and configuration code that makes it
> impossible to understand the hardware well enough to write and debug
> X driver code.
> The first thing that could be done is to document what driver code
> is based on proprietory NDA data, and what was reverse engineered.
> Money spent on X driver documentation or howtos is far less wasteful
> than X conferences (of which i'll never go to anyway).

Well, what sort of documentation do you want or think you need.
Seriously.  Perhaps we can start putting something together.  I feel a
lot of people say we need documentation, but no one can clarify beyond
it's too hard for me to understand and then a bunch of hand waving.
What aspect of the driver did you want to work on?

> If i had've had enough information to hack my radeon card, the ati driver
> could've been by now *bug free*.

Unfortunately pretty much everyone is in the same boat here.
Databooks are not some magical panacea of knowledge.  They are pretty
much what you see in the driver reg.h files: register offsets and bit
fields, often without descriptions.  You really just have to dive in
and start playing with the driver and asking questions.  Working
source code is *invaluable*.


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