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TLM : ATI Driver Progress

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I spent alot of yesterday ranting in various locations about how useles ATI/AMD's driver dev team were with regards to OpenGL and how I wouldn't be buying ATI/AMD hardware in future.

Part of this fuss was kicked up on the OpenGL board and after a bit of discussion and general 'grrr'-ness which can be found here, Humus weights in with a reply;


Let me clarify the answer from devrel above. There's no plan to fix it in the current driver, that is, the legacy driver that currently ships on XP. However, the new driver that currently ships on Vista is a totally redesigned driver built from scratch, the famous "OpenGL rewrite" that's been rumoured on the net for quite a while. I don't know if the same problem exists on that driver, my gut feeling would be that it probably doesn't, but I haven't tried so I can't say for sure right now, but if it does, then certainly it will be fixed in that driver. This new driver currently only ships on Vista, but soon enough it'll ship for all platforms and hardware and the legacy driver will be retired. The legacy driver has been on the backburner for quite a while now while the majority of the driver team has been working on the new driver. Since this project hasn't been public until very recently it could easily have been perceived from the outside that ATI stopped putting effort into OpenGL, while the truth was actually the opposite. Rewriting a driver from scratch is a major undertaking, and the project has been going on for a couple of years. During this time guys like me have had a hard time defending the fact that certain issues would not get immediate attention. While it certainly did not help me do my job, in the long run the new driver will be a better foundation to build our GL implementation on and won't have some of the architectural problems of the legacy driver and the situation should improve now that the new driver is out in the wild and developers start using it.

Basically, what I'm saying is that while I easily understand that it could have looked that way, it's certainly not the case that ATI doesn't care about OpenGL, it's just that rewriting the driver has been a massive task and unfortunately (like most software projects) has taken longer than originally projected. The good news is that the new driver is now out there and I encourage everyone trying it out on Vista if you get a chance.

(yeah, it's long...)

The key point from the above being there is a new OpenGL driver, it'll first be in Vista and then appear else where.

This is great and all, shame no one has bothered to tell us devs about this, the reasons for the apprently lack of giving a damn, and that it took it a rant to get a straight answer from someone... lets face it; if I hadn't kicked up a fuss like this I still wouldn't know.

So, with this in mind I figured it would be worth testing this out on Vista;
- Full screen is apprently no go. Now, as to if this is my code or something else I don't know... I'll look into it.
- FBO101 example shows screen corruption, however this goes away when things are forced to re-render by dragging a window about. This could be a freeglut thing as I don't see it with my Windows lib.
- No PBO support in Vista atm... this sucks but ok, not critical wrt to OGL2.0
- MRT + GLSL = decent framerate! I tested this with the MRT example from FBO201, which wasn't running great in XP and appears to have a decent framerate in Vista. Might be a z-buffer issue however, need to check on this.
- GLSL compiler gives slightly better error messages
- GLSL compiler is more strict. On XP it has let my shaders compile with 'f' on the end of floating point values; the Vista version picks them up and throws errors at you.

So, generally an improvement... I'm still skeptical however, years of no real updates/bug fixes is going to make you see things in a certain light, however my future purchasing will be made dependant on how OpenGL support develops between now and when I can afford a new card.

Lack of PBOs however means my project doesn't work in Vista so I still have to go back to XP for that... noooooo [sad]
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So does this mean the ATI OS X driver will improve, or will it continue to do fun things like "refresh the screen diagonally" and "cause absurd errors inside the kernel from slightly malformed FBO queries"?

Will their devrel start becoming concerned by GL bug reports?

I'm glad to see they're going to backport this driver to XP and "all other platforms"; when will this happen?

Will there ever be an ATI driver that works well enough on Linux that I can trust it to update my Beryl window when I type into it?

ATI has no idea how badly this is hurting them.

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I will be the first to welcome you to the light side of the force Luke! :)

Nah just messing around. I like ATI also, just wish they would get their shit together. As of now Nvidia seems to be doing better with GL stuff at the moment.

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