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Intel Open Sources Graphics Drivers 345

PeterBrett writes "Intel's Keith Packard announced earlier today that Intel was open sourcing graphics drivers for their new 965 Express Chipset family graphics controllers. From the announcement: 'Designed to support advanced rendering features in modern graphics APIs, this chipset family includes support for programmable vertex, geometry, and fragment shaders. By open sourcing the drivers for this new technology, Intel enables the open source community to experiment, develop, and contribute to the continuing advancement of open source 3D graphics.' The new drivers, available from the Linux Graphics Drivers from Intel website, are licensed under the GPL for Linux kernel drivers, and MIT license for XOrg 2D & 3D rendering subsystems."
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Intel Open Sources Graphics Drivers

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  • Now... (Score:5, Funny)

    by infosec_spaz ( 968690 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:05PM (#15876992) Homepage
    If only a company who makes GOOD graphics cards would do the same!
    • Re:Now... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ant P. ( 974313 )
      If these Intel chips are any faster than my current GF2, mext time I upgrade neither ATi nor nVidia are getting my money.
    • Re:Now... (Score:3, Informative)

      by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
      The Intel graphics cards are good for anything but heavy duty gaming and CAD. Not a great video card but it will run XGL just fine and it is open source.
      Now if AMD will open source the ATI drivers we will be all set.
      • Re:Now... (Score:3, Informative)

        by rm69990 ( 885744 )
        I love Intel's graphics cards for that very reason. I don't play games, I don't do game development, I don't do CAD work, etc etc. I simply enjoy having the OS X eye candy with the neat dashboard effects, and all that fun stuff, and Intel's cards can handle all of this and is also way less expensive than Nvidia or ATI, which are extreme overkill for me. For regular desktop work with fun eye candy, there is no difference between my Mom's iMac with a Radeon chipset and my Mac Mini with an Intel chipset.

        I thin
    • Re:Now... (Score:5, Informative)

      by jambarama ( 784670 ) <jambarama@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @09:51PM (#15878013) Homepage Journal
      Actually, ATI/AMD is talking about open-sourcing [infoworld.com] their drivers too. nVidia already has pretty functional GNU/Linux drivers (albeit closed source), so with these other two GNU/Linux could finally have the support it needs to be a viable desktop alternative.

      Now if only we could get some open sourced drivers for higher end sound cards and more obscure wireless cards.
      • Re:Now... (Score:3, Informative)

        Actually, ATI/AMD is talking about open-sourcing their drivers too.
        You probably meant "a columnist is talking about ATI opening a subset of drivers", or do you have some other references?
    • Re:Now... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jmv ( 93421 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @12:34AM (#15878536) Homepage
      See, the interesting thing is that I wouldn't be surprised if *on Linux" the Intel cards end up beating ATI and NVidia just because of the drivers. I've got ATI cards in both my laptops and I'm not impressed by the speed with the open-source drivers (and I'm unwilling to live with all the trouble involved in the closed-source ones). I'm sure a machine with an Intel chipset and open-source drivers could easily beat both ATI and NVidia on Linux.
  • Wow. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bobintetley ( 643462 )
    This is a great move by Intel - I know which vendor I'll be picking for my next 3D card. I HATE that I only have the choice of Nvidia or ATI's "mystery binary blobs" to play games.
    • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) * on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:08PM (#15877014)
      Well, this isn't for discrete graphics cards, right - it's for the built-in graphics in the 965 family chipsets. That's my understanding, anyway.

      Still, a very nice move.
      • Re:Wow. (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Abreu ( 173023 )
        Still, this might have a positive effect on Linux Laptop users, wouldnt it?
      • Re:Wow. (Score:2, Informative)

        by mdcatlin ( 994306 )
        Intel doesn't make discrete graphics, but they make a hell of a lot of integrated graphics chips. The linked website lists the chipsets for which the open-source drivers are published: Supported Hardware and Driver Documentation The Linux graphics drivers from Intel support the following Intel® chipsets:
        Short name Full name
        965G G965 Integrated Graphics Controller
        965 Q963/Q965 Integrated Graphics Controller
        946GZ 946GZ/GL Integrated Graphics Controller
        945G 945G Integrated Graphics Controlle
    • I couldn't agree more.
    • Re:Wow. (Score:3, Informative)

      by d_jedi ( 773213 )
      Not that you'll be playing any games with Intel integrated graphics, either..
      • So long as the game's published date begins with a 19, I'm ok.
      • Well, it has programmable shaders. Anybody care to guess what the roughly equivalent card to this new 965 express would be? I'd like it if I didn't need an add-in card to do some gaming on my PVR box, and my TV is only NTSC so fillrate isn't a huge deal.
    • Re:Wow. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DCstewieG ( 824956 )
      Yeah! Damn those blobs, giving you all that performance!!

      Y'know, I understand members of the Linux community choosing to buy this on principle, but come on. The Intel graphics are so incredibly far behind nV and ATI that it's ridiculous...unless you're not planning to play ANY recent games. I could see going with ATI over nVidia if they open sourced theirs (or the reverse) but going Intel just for that would be nuts.
      • Re:Wow. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bobintetley ( 643462 )

        Yeah! Damn those blobs, giving you all that performance!!

        Why would an open source driver be slower than blobs if the manufacturers created it?

        The way I see it, by giving ATI/Nv my money I'm saying "hey, it's ok to pollute my system with code I can't look at" (and yes, I am capable of looking at it, but even if I wasn't *someone* is and that's the point). So Intel will be getting my money when I buy a new motherboard.

        And it's not just about games - Xgl/compiz, xcompmgr, etc. etc.

        • If you're not playing games the open source nv drivers will work fine for you [hint: I use it on my workstation].

          But it isn't just the drivers that hold intel graphics back. It's the fact that GPUs from ATI and NV are huge and overdesigned for the task. Intel graphics chips are much smaller [re: fewer pipelines, non-dedicated memory, etc].

          The only way Intel could win is if they had more transistor real estate and a dedicated memory bus for the GPU.

        • I think he's implying that those blobs support ATI and nVIDIA cards, which are, on average, of a higher performance than any chipset Intel has out.
      • Re:Wow. (Score:4, Informative)

        by Fordiman ( 689627 ) <fordiman AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:39PM (#15877160) Homepage Journal
        Not for Linux users.

        Given that ATI and nVidia's support for Linux is next to nil, and that their mystery blobs are somewhat error-prone, (not to mention the inherent issues in using a generic binary - link conflicts, non-optimized machine code, etc.), I don't see how choosing an Intel card would be rediculous.

        Sure, they're behind, but the 965 series is better than, say, ATI's 8500 (the highest of their cards that is properly supported in Linux). Seems to me that Intel's just jumped ahead of the game by becoming available to a niche market.

        Meanwhile, I don't exactly trust the business-motivated hacks found in blobs from graphics card vendors (re: the quake.exe debacle). Having source makes a bechmarking far more auditable.
        • Re:Wow. (Score:4, Informative)

          by Tet ( 2721 ) <slashdot@astradynYEATSe.co.uk minus poet> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:54PM (#15877236) Homepage Journal
          Sure, they're behind, but the 965 series is better than, say, ATI's 8500 (the highest of their cards that is properly supported in Linux).

          Actually, the 9250 is the fasted fully supported ATI card under Linux. The r300 driver (9600, 9800 and X800) will probably soon be stable enough for widespread use, too. How the 965 compares to those, I don't know. But I suspect it'll be more than good enough for 99% of all users.

          • Actually, the 9250 is the fasted fully supported ATI card under Linux.

            This is anecdotal, but my experience (as of a couple months ago) is that the ATI 9250 SE doesn't work doesn't work properly with the open source driver. It renders, but appears not to be double-buffering. The screen flashes in a very ugly manner and I get to see frames of partially-rendered geometry. If I remember correctly, I got similar behavior with a radeon 7000. Currently, I'm using a cheap Nvidia card with the binary drivers (

      • Re:Wow. (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bhalo05 ( 865352 )
        Not everyone is a hard-gamer. If it is good enough to have decent OpenGL performance and it's valid for XGL, then choosing it because of open source drivers would be a no brainer. And I'm sure many others will agree.
      • by freeweed ( 309734 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @08:44PM (#15877789)
        You know, there's a lot more to do with a computer than play games. Especially amongst those of us that run Linux, we tend to do a lot less gameplaying than the average bear.

        Personally, I'm ecstatic over FINALLY being able to purchase a system that will run Google Earth, that I won't have to fuck with every time a kernel update happens, or ATI breaks their latest blob and I have to spend hours googling for a fix, or nvidia hasn't once again broken something because they don't think anyone but 10 users still use this graphics card.

        There's *nothing* but good to be said about open source graphics card drivers that support halfway decent OpenGL. Even if I don't have the privledge of spending $500 upgrading my rig just to play whatever the flavour of the month PC game is out.

        If Intel would do this for add-on cards and not just integrated chipsets (which is what I hear is the deal so far), I'd be as happy as I've been ever since discovering Linux.
  • Happy now? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mobby_6kl ( 668092 )
    I can't say I particularly care (not using any on-board graphics), but this is a nice move on their part. Also, it would be interesting to see how this affects the performance/features in the long run.
    • Re:Happy now? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ruie ( 30480 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:52PM (#15877226) Homepage
      I can't say I particularly care (not using any on-board graphics)

      One area where on-board graphics is important are notebooks - especially those thin and light ones. A choice of video card is rare, especially if one cares about battery life.

      Traditionally, Linux support of new notebook video chips was very uncertain, as it is not possible to get a new notebook with a 2 year old graphics controller. Thus the fact that all-Intel notebooks are a safe choice (with not only 2d, but also 3d and wireless working under Linux) is a truly wonderful news.

      Also, the new Xserver features have to be implemented on something before there are binary blobs that support them. So having an open code to experiment with, say, Render, impacts other graphics cards as well.

      • Re:Happy now? (Score:3, Informative)

        [One area where on-board graphics is important are notebooks] Ain't that the truth? I have a Gateway Solo 1450 which is a pretty nice cheap laptop with an Intel 830MG chip set. It worked fine under Fedora Core 3 when Intel was apparently supporting binary drivers, but out of FC 4, FC5, Centos 4, and Novell/SuSE 10, only SuSE works - and then only if you don't do something rash like try to use virtual consoles which kill X. I don't need killer 3D performance on this laptop, but it sure would be nice if 2D 1
  • by thre5her ( 223254 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:06PM (#15877004) Homepage
    Hopefully AMD/ATI will compete by open-sourcing the drivers for their integrated chipsets. Some healthy competition would definitely help the Linux desktop.
    • They don't need to open source their drivers to compete..
    • by FlipmodePlaya ( 719010 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:16PM (#15877055) Journal
      http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=15446 [osnews.com] Looks like they're at least considering it.
      • Hah!

        First of all, that's really, seriously, just a rumor.

        Secondly, there is already an open source driver with a 'functional subset' of features for both ATI and nVidia cards. If they were to do this, nothing would change. Do you really think anybody who is upset about the current state of Linux graphics drivers would be satisfied in any way by crippled open-source drivers?
    • They like to compete instead by actually having good performance.

      Besides, graphics drivers are the least of Linux's desktop problems. In the home it's major roadblock is the Microsoft business development executives in charge of DirectX, and in the workplace it's Exchange/Outlook. Get those things covered, and desktop Linux succeeds. Get just the DirectX issue covered (including marketing and developer outreach) and the graphics drivers will follow.

      Don't believe me? Notice how MacOS doesn't seem to have the
      • When there is a unified graphics API, the driver writers have a finite set of things to test, and quality follows.

        -1, Troll

        Read Documentation/stable_api_nonsense.txt [linux.no]

        • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) on Thursday August 10, 2006 @12:07AM (#15878455)
          Also, that document is a complete lie. I don't care that it's in the kernel tree. There's lots of wrong stuff in there.

          A driver does not have to be in the tree to be stable, running driver, and the driver being in the kernel tree doesn't mean that it is either stable or running.

          And I should know, as I have written multiple closed-source Linux device drivers, two of which have open-source versions in the kernel that have at various times either not worked, or worked poorly, and both of which perform signifigantly worse than the closed version.

          Go actually read that document. The argument it makes is that a stable kernel/driver API is a bad idea because the kernel/driver API is unstable. It's a circular argument. The real issue is three-fold. One, there isn't enough agreement amongst the diversity of kernel developers to ever come up with a stable API, two, there is no dicipline amongst the people in charge to maintain that stability even if a consensus was reached, and three, there are some who would like to keep the interface unstable merely to keep this argument for open source drivers valid.

          Dispite all that, the only real roadblock between ease of binary driver development and what we have today is that there is heavy backporting amongst distribution vendors without incrementing the kernel version number. In other words, vendors lie about their versions in order to maintain the illusion of version stability for their customers... But even that is a minor issue, as it only makes the people who run on the bleeding edge suffer, and nobody runs on the bleeding edge in production.
          • Also, that document is a complete lie. I don't care that it's in the kernel tree. There's lots of wrong stuff in there

            BS, the document is not a lie, the document provides an explanation. An explanation can be false, it's still not a lie, just a bad explanation.
            And sorry, but I think GKH has way more authority than you on what is right or wrong in this explanation, as he did lots of the drivers in the kernel.

            A driver does not have to be in the tree to be stable, running driver, and the driver being in the ke
            • Yeah right. Meanwhile, real life shows us that what you describe is exceptions rather than a rule.

              That's only true if you use popular hardware.

              The driver being in the kernel means you can bug the Linux kernel devs to make it work with each new release of the kernel (hence stable).
              The driver not being in the kernel means they won't do anything about it, and you have no way of knowing if the driver will work or not.
              The basic premise is that the maintainer of a driver would support his driver in the Linux kern
    • It's about time made a serious effort, and this is a nice little gesture that isn't going to hurt them. I think it would be great if GPUs were, if not fully open, documented at the hardware level to the same degree that Intel CPUs are. ATI and NVIDIA give you nothing on the actual hardware, and only expose functionality through DirectX, OpenGL, and a few OpenGL extensions if you are lucky.

      I've also heard in various places that Intel could be the first to release DX10 capable hardware. "programmable ve
  • bravo, intel (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    will amd/ati take a hint? if not, it seems like intel is going to own the linux market. they already provide good drivers for their wireless cards (i'm using one right now).
    • Re:bravo, intel (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Jake73 ( 306340 )
      All it takes to "own the linux market" is good drivers. Not open-source ones. Most people will gravitate towards that which works. Having the source code available is only important for a small group of people.

      That said, having source code available may help improve quality, but it certainly isn't a foregone conclusion.
      • Pwn The Market? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by KagatoLNX ( 141673 ) <kagato@@@souja...net> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @07:12PM (#15877338) Homepage

        Closed-source Linux drivers can work well enough for a single kernel version in a controlled environment. You still don't get support from most distros that would want to build their own. Sure, if you cooperate you get in Novell and Red Hat's offerings, but not much further. You also get the onus of sinking the money into it to keep it working. Not to mention you pretty much guarantee being a problem to your users--think things like software suspend that never work right with closed drivers because certain problems can't be debugged or fixed (in which case improved quality *IS* a foregone conclusion).

        You either get SLES / RHEL, or you get SLES / RHEL / Debian / Ubuntu / everything else... Not to mention improved operation. Of course, gravitating toward what works is why people are using open source in the first place. Sometimes "what works" is defined in terms of avoiding vendor lock-in and extortionate licensing.
      • All it takes to "own the linux market" is good documentation. This has been common knowledge for years.
  • first reaction: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mihalis ( 28146 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:11PM (#15877033) Homepage
    Fantastic. Great work Intel. This puts your products in a different, more positive light for me personally. This could be really good for X11. I worked with it for about 10 years and have been very despondent about its chance in a world of proprietary drivers from ATI and NVIDIA being the only way to use modern graphics hardware. Maybe there's a chance for open source desktop after all.
  • by Rob Y. ( 110975 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:15PM (#15877052)
    The argument against nVidia and ATI opening up their drivers was always that it would give other vendors a headstart in cloning their chipsets. They'd be able to tell how they work (from a hardware API level at least), and have a driver ready to go if they copied that API.

    Now that there's a working Intel 3D driver with source, does this mean that other vendors might start making cheap clones of the Intel graphics chips? Or was the above argument really a red herring.

    And if they did, what's to stop them from making chips that use the same API, but work much better?
    • by l2718 ( 514756 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:21PM (#15877079)
      Well, Intel's integrated graphics chipset is a far cry from the nVidia / ATI high-end accellerators. Cloning it will be next to useless (who'll buy a separate graphics card to replaace an on-board solution?) since most other chipset manufacturers already have on-board solutions of their own. I doubt this will change the high-end makers rationale for keeping their drivers secret.
      • The biggest issue with Intel's GPU versus ATI and NVidia is that it is onboard. The onboard ATI and NVidia GPU's don't really fare any better. The reason is that off-board cards have dedicated memory and buses, meaning that it doesn't have to fight for bus space with the CPU. If Intel made a non-integrated GPU with the same core, it'd do just fine.

        I'll also note that the i915 is just fine for running XGL/AIGLX and compiz.
        • It's true that the onboard ATI & nVidia solutions aren't much better than Intel's. I suspect, however, that they share significant API with the high-end non-integreated cards from the same companies which are the real cash cows and therefore the technology they are trying to keep secret.
        • You could still have dedicated GPU memory onboard, the only difference it makes is that it gives you the ability to build an architecture that isn't PCI, AGP, PCI-X, etc. Most game consoles do something similar. The Xbox GPU was competitive when it came out, without even having any dedicated memory, and while sharing a bus with the CPU.
    • by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) * on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:26PM (#15877110)
      I'd be willing to bet the REAL reason they don't open their drivers is because they're using stuff they know is the intellectual property of others. Just a guess, though; I have no real information on this, but I'd be very surprised if they can't dig into each other's hardware under a microscope to figure out what the other guy is doing, and reverse engineer each other's drivers. These are some very smart folks we're talking about here.
      • the REAL reason they don't open their drivers is because they're using stuff they know is the intellectual property of others
        Very good, it's called licensing. Yes it happens, yes there are things in the binary drivers from nVidida and ATi that neither own.
      • Chances are the you are correct. It is not that hard to reverse engineer. And yes, they all have ppl on board doing just that (now a days, they do it out of the country).

        As to intellectual propery, I would not be surprised. I know of several large companies that have outright ripped off GPL work. Funny thing is, that the company that I currently works at, has directors that are pushing this while at the same time they sitting on a ethics committe. Sad state.
      • They also may be using intellectual property from outside entities under license that they are not allowed to reveal. I know that this is the number one issue keeping many legacy applications from being open sourced.
      • Possibly.

        Another reason why they are unwilling to release the information might be because it would prove that they have been bullshitting us for a long time.

        Chances are that the difference between a £50 card and a £300 card is in the software: by changing just one bit in one byte in the huge, bloated blob of a driver, you could extract £300 performance from a £50 graphics card. It can't be economically viable for them to fabricate different GPUs to use on "cheap" and "expensive" cards. Instead, they have an I/O pin {maybe several pins?} on the GPU which they tie to 0V {so it reads as a 0} on the cheap cards, or leave unconnected {so it looks like a 1} on the expensive cards. The driver software reads the state of the pin and determines whether or not to run the card in "expensive" mode.

        {Then, of course, there are the various "cheats" built into games to make them run faster or better with certain graphics cards -- or, to put it more accurately, to make them run slower or worse with other graphics cards. Games companies are certainly not above accepting bakshish.}

        The RAW formats used by digital cameras are similarly undocumented for pretty much the same reason: the JPEG files are interpolated up to much higher resolutions than the sensor actually generates. Revealing the format of the RAW file would also reveal the real number of pixels on the image sensor, and likely open up camera manufacturers to prosecution under consumer protection law.

    • Are you suggesting a company reverse engineer a graphics core based on driver source?

      That is pretty much impossible.

    • Laptop chipsets with Intel's integrated graphics cost $3 or $4 more than otherwise equivalent chipsets without graphics as of July according to their price list.

      Good luck getting cheaper than that with your knock-off.
  • Nice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Morkano ( 786068 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:16PM (#15877056)

    I bet they're trying to preempt AMD doing the same with an integrated ATI chip.

    Well played, Intel. Well played.
  • Linux Laptops! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by db32 ( 862117 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:21PM (#15877080) Journal
    Ok here is the thing...ATI and nvidia can be a bit of a pain...but on a desktop you buy one or the other and you plug it in and go. Laptops on the other hand your selection is FAR more limited and you have to juggle hardware, and more often than not, something just won't work right or well. This makes the Intel integrated laptops even more attractive now instead of the ATI/nvidia ones. I really hope they go backwards with this to and open their recent chipsets up completely as well.
  • This chipset has been a source of problems for people running Linux. I predict this move will smooth those problems out in pretty short order, because we can deal with the problem ourselves rather than wait on Intel to allocate the resources to the problem.

  • by trb ( 8509 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:30PM (#15877129)
    besides the desire/preference to have open source drivers for license compliance and moral/ethical reasons, there is a more practical reason why source access to drivers is handy. sometimes you need to recompile drivers from source in order to have them play well with operating systems features. for instance, if they need to respect the constraints of real-time systems such as rtlinux, rtai, or xenomai. these systems need to redefine cli/sti (clear/set interrupt) instructions (using macros) so that the real-time micro-kernel handles the interrupts rather than linux. open source drivers let you recompile with #include files that make this possible.
  • Kudos to Intel! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:33PM (#15877141)
    This is good news. Open Source won't fix a bad product (hello Netscape), but you can have an army of eager (unpaid!) geeks happily extending your product. The idiocy of companies that hold their driver source proprietary is beyond belief; Does nVidia and ARI really seriously believe it gives them an advantage? Hardly. nVidia's drivers are buggy and crash prone. I am sick of my nVidia card hanging, and the saps at nVidia's support merely send you an automated email "Have you installed the latest driver." Yes, and it also crashes. If I had the source, I could fire up MSDEV. But I don't.

    Intel made an earlier foray into 3D with the i740 which didn't do that well in the marketplace. But now they're back, and this is a nice first step. If they drive nVidia and ATI (and especially nVidia) out of business, I wouldn't shed a tear. Truth is even Microsoft by taking over Shaders with HLSL has done a better job that nVidia with their proprietary Cg language. Open sourcing their drivers shows good faith. Come on Intel!
  • I know it's a "why bother?" thing, but with this announcement, perhaps I'll be able to run compiz under Linux, booted off of an exteral drive (I think rEFIt allows for this), at maximum speed. For the time being, I wouldnt want to bother, since last I checked there were no accelerated Intel drivers for Linux.
  • What incredibly sensible move by Intel and what a great way to differentiate themselves from the competition.

    I hope this puts pressure on nVidia and AMD/ATI to follow suit. Although they probably don't want each other seeing how many of their respective patents have been violated or that their code is full of benchmark-enhancing hacks.
  • by sweetnjguy29 ( 880256 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:49PM (#15877207) Journal
    I know that all of us techies turn our noses up at integrated graphic chipsets, but I think that an enormous number of computers out there, including laptops, that utilize this technology. One of the more common complaints from people switching to linux is that the monitor resolution and graphics are sucky. A BSD and GPL licenced driver solution would be perfect to help more people make the switch!
    • From what I have been seeing, Integrated grahpics with a proper driver are just great for most things, including XGL.

      If you play games, well then they are not fine. But gamers are such a minority I dont their attitude should destroy a sensible purchase.
  • Are they making my plans to open source the rest of their graphics drivers ?
  • Slow down cowboy (Score:2, Informative)

    by tomstdenis ( 446163 )
    Remember ... to use this GPU [totally unrelated to the CPU] you *MUST* use an Intel processor.

    So before y'all get too far ahead patting Intel on the back remember that you are not free to use the GPU with say an ARM, MIPS, PPC or other x86 processor [via/amd/etc]. Not only that, but IIRC Intel GPUs are tied to Intel chipset motherboards.

    So while it's all good and said that the drivers are open source, that helps users, it doesn't help the industry and society as a whole. Making their GPUs independently av
    • Re:Slow down cowboy (Score:2, Informative)

      by eklitzke ( 873155 )
      Of course not -- you can only use the GPU on motherboards that support it, namely those with an Intel chipset. But since the hardware specs and drivers have been released under a free license, you are more than welcome to try to get the GPU to run on any hardware that you can dream of.
      • Yeah that sounds nice and smartassy except I doubt Intel will license the spec to [say] AMD or Via to include in their products. And failing to get a license you better learn how to remove the surface mounted ICs from your mobo so you can um I dunno, magically transplant them.

        OMG I can't get over how stupid your reply was... My head asploded!

  • Can somebody please explain this dual licensing scheme. Why do they even have the GPL in there? If you can obtain the source code under the MIT license, can't you do whatever you want with it, including dropping it in a GPL project?
  • I know this isn't the right place to ask. But is the 965 available for the older yonah chip? Or the new merom on up?

    I'm just trying ot figure out if Apple could update the GPU in the Macbooks and stick with the yonah to still differentiate the Macbooks from the Macbook Pros/
  • by MrCopilot ( 871878 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @08:11PM (#15877645) Homepage Journal
    First, Brilliant move. They know, they just know AMD is going to blow open wide the company formerly known as Ati's drivers. They drop this announcement before the paperwork is even dry on the AMD/Ati deal. Bravo, kudos, well played... etc.

    Second, Thank You Intel, so very much.... BECAUSE Even the laziest of our part-time hobbyist programmers will be able to improve your driver performance.
    All these years I just refused to believe Intel could develop and ship newer and newer Card/integrated Video chips that were lightyears behind in performance and features. I instead chose to think of them as a Hardware Company full of Hardware Engineers who look down on the few "soft ones". I can understand how that might develop there.

    I believed, some day, they would come around, and hire some PC Software/Driver Engineers. Someday the driver would rescue their possibly brilliant designs.

    Well this is even better. We get our open graphics card with every e-machine.

    Except, Of course Intel doesn't pay for it and yet reaps the rewards, and naturally perpetuates the undervalued view of us software guys.

    Vicous cycle.

    /rant heh, And then there were 2.

    • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @08:41PM (#15877773) Homepage Journal
      Second, Thank You Intel, so very much.... BECAUSE Even the laziest of our part-time hobbyist programmers will be able to improve your driver performance.

      Erm... I doubt it.

      For the past few years, off and on, I've been porting the XFree/Xorg Intel 8xx graphics drivers to BeOS, so I have a fairly close relationship with that code, and unusually detailed knowledge of the chip series. Unless this represents a completely different codebase (which I doubt), it's really not that bad. Unless you're planning on turning it into a full kernel-mode driver, taking advantage of native interrupts and so forth, there's not a lot that could be improved.

      The most annoying part with this driver release is that it still needs the BIOS to set display modes. BeOS can't access/execute the BIOS, so the driver has to be full native. I'll probably still have to do some fairly icky things to make it work...


  • by t35t0r ( 751958 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @08:36PM (#15877751)
    The i855gm/915 has a docbook almost 500 pages in length with all the specs for the chip. If you go to intel's page for drivers you'll see that their drivers are created by Tungsten. If you run the most recent xorg, xf86-intel-video drivers from freedesktop (prior to this announcement), and mesa you'll have almost fully working DRI. This announcement is just to show that the OSS drivers now support the new 965 chipset. Nothing new here move along!!!
  • by willy_me ( 212994 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @08:39PM (#15877766)
    Open source is great and all but one still needs full specifications in order to make a high performance driver. Just look at the open source ATI drivers, they lack the features and performance of the binary drivers.

    So my question is this - does Intel also fully disclose the full specifications and internal workings of their chipset? My guess is no. Most likely, the drivers will be developed by Intel employees with access to internal documents. Those drivers could then be debugged and possibly optimized by the community but the community will still be locked out of development.


    • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <{atd7} {at} {cornell.edu}> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @11:41PM (#15878391) Homepage
      Intel DOES release full specifications.

      Their silicon is just crippled - there's honestly no way around that when you're effectively producing a $5 graphics solution (which is approximately the cost difference between Intel chipsets without integrated graphics and Intel chipsets with integrated graphics.) Even if a technology is economical to implement in silicon, at that price point it's not feasible to license technologies from other companies unless absolutely necessary, such as S3 Texture Compression, which was the technology that basically started the branch between closed-source and open-source ATI chipset support.

      It does what it's designed to do extremely well (unlike many other "el cheapo" solutions which are designed to do more but just don't do any of it well), it just simply is NOT designed to do very much.
  • by Hobart ( 32767 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @09:24PM (#15877926) Homepage Journal
    This seems like a good on-topic thread in which to mention the freedesktop.org (X.org folks) effort to write a 100% open source 3D driver for the NVidia cards -- nouveau

    http://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/ [freedesktop.org]

    If you're an owner of an nVidia card, please do all you can to help contribute! They appear to be suprisingly far along.

    Slashcode bug # 497457 - unfixed since December 2001 - Go look it up [sourceforge.net]!

I've got a bad feeling about this.