GPL flag for drivers

Hal V. Engel hvengel at
Tue May 15 16:12:03 PDT 2007

On Tuesday 15 May 2007 10:45, Alan Cox wrote:
> > The anouncement is not as clear as I would have liked but AMD does have a
> > history of supporting open source through their work on the Linux kernel
> > and this is a good sign that at some point we might start seeing open
> > source drivers for AMD/ATI hardware.  In addition this may put pressure
> > on nvidia to open up either their driver sources or their hardware specs.
> I wouldn't hold your breath. They've been saying stuff like this for a
> very long time and they still can't review a tiny bit of code and clear
> an NDA on it so we can get 2D support for their current chips.
> Their actions speak volumes and I'll believe any more when I see it and
> not earlier.

There is one big difference.  The "they" that were "saying stuff like this for 
a very long time" were a different "they" (IE. ATI not AMD).  AMD has only 
been in charge of the merged company since the end of last October.  Mergers 
like this take a long time before things settle down and any changes in 
direction actually takes place.  Having worked for companies that were 
involved in mergers of similar scale I can personnally attest to how long 
this takes as some things may not be settled for many years.  The AMD/ATI 
merger is just getting to the point where we will start seeing how this 
really affects their direction and their corporate culture.  You also need to 
keep in mind that one of the things that happens when there are mergers like 
this is that anything that is not "business as usual", like the code review 
that involved an NDA, grinds to a halt as issues about who is in charge and 
what the new policy will be get worked out.  The larger the merger the longer 
it takes to sort these things out.  

Like you I will not hold my breath.  But AMD actually has a good history with 
the OSS community unlike ATI.  Because AMD was a much bigger company than ATI 
I would expect their corporate culture and policies to eventually become 
dominate post merger.  The question is was the announcement more of the same 
old stuff or did it reflect a post merger change in direction?  At this point 
we don't know and only time will tell.


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