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Theory confirmed : Intel and AMD about opensource

When AMD begun to release specs for its GPU, I’ve read a theory about the fact that this move was motivated by the project to release hybrid CPU/GPU by AMD. Indeed, AMD CPU were also successful because Linux users like AMD too. However if AMD release an hybrid CPU/GPU and that the GPU part is only supported by a binary driver, it means for AMD/ATI that most Free Linux distribution won’t be able to support out of the box the AMD CPU/GPU and some Linux users may no longer buy AMD CPU because of this. So providing the doc, and allowing to have Free support out of the box was a must. As we could see, AMD is providing all the needed specs and microcode.

Intel is now doing the same thing. At first I believed this was only a strategy to not lose its role as leader in the X OpenSource community. However atfer the reading of the following article, I think I can understand better : Intel also is planning to release hybrid CPU/GPU. So to have a good support out of the box, they need to give the specs to have a good opensource support and be friendly.

Now we may eventually understand why Nvidia is not providing OpenSource drivers. Nvidia can’t provide hybrid CPU/GPU, and so their goal is to provide always the faster and most powerful GPU. For this they don’t need to have the OpenSource support, as professional users doing heavy graphical simulations will afford to use closed but heavily tweaked display drivers. Now the issue for them is to not be relegated to a niche market share of power users, especially with the « Green » movement which ask to save power and use more efficiently the resources. Nvidia GPU are like 4×4/SUV/Roadster, whereas Intel ones are like small cards ( Swatch, Fiat 500, Clio, 208, … ) and AMD may be like hybrid cars as they still have powerful GPU but with the CPU.

IMHO it will be very interesting to see how things will evolved in the future for theses 3 big players.


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