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Choosing between portability and innovation

Choosing between portability and innovation

Posted Mar 3, 2011 18:08 UTC (Thu) by nix (subscriber, #2304)
In reply to: Choosing between portability and innovation by jensend
Parent article: Choosing between portability and innovation

The DRM/Mesa stack has seen a dozen new acronyms come and go in the past few years, without much real improvement for end users
Shaders and a shader compiler and acceleration and 3D support for lots of new cards isn't enough for you?

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Choosing between portability and innovation

Posted Mar 4, 2011 3:30 UTC (Fri) by jensend (guest, #1385) [Link]

It's true that there have been a lot of changes and advances in hardware and in OpenGL; keeping up with these takes effort and new ideas.

But if you go back a decade to when Linux graphics performance and hardware support (Utah-GLX and DRI) were closer to parity with Windows, things weren't simple then either. There were dozens of hardware vendors rather than just three (and a half, if you want to count VIA), each chip was more radically different from its competitors and even from other chips by the same company, etc.

While there's been progress in an absolute sense, relative to Mac and Windows, Linux has lagged significantly in graphics over the past decade. Graphics support is a treadmill; Linux has has often been perilously close to falling off the back of the treadmill.

I don't mean to say the efforts of those working on the Linux X/Mesa stack alphabet soup have all been pointless; nor do I claim that all of the blame rests with them. The ARB deserves a lot of the blame for letting OpenGL stagnate so long. It's a real shame that other graphics vendors and developers from other Unices haven't taken a more active role in helping design and implement the graphics stack, and while I think more could have been done to solicit their input and design things with other hardware and kernels in mind, they're responsible for their own non-participation.

Choosing between portability and innovation

Posted Mar 4, 2011 8:53 UTC (Fri) by drag (guest, #31333) [Link]

It's because the graphics in Linux was not so much designed as it was puked up by accident. It's just something that has been cobbled together and extended to meet new needs instead of undergoing a entire rework like every other relevant OS (aka Windows and OS X). You have no less then 4 separate drivers running 3 separate graphics stacks. They all have overlapping jobs, use the same hardware, and drastically need to work together in a way that is nearly impossible.

It's one thing to treasure portability, but it's quite another when the OS you care about does not even offer the basic functionality that you need to run your applications and improve your graphics stack.

Forcing Linux developers to not only improve and fix Linux's problems, but also drag the BSD's kicking and screaming into the 21st century is completely unreasonable.

Ultimately if you really care about portability the BSD OSes are the least of your worries. It's OS X and Windows that actually matter.

Choosing between portability and innovation

Posted Mar 4, 2011 9:15 UTC (Fri) by airlied (subscriber, #9104) [Link]

The problem was while Windows and Mac OSX got major investments in graphics due to being desktop operating systems, Linux got no investment for years.

So while Linux was making major inroads into server technologies, there was no money behind desktop features such as graphics. I would guess compared to the manpower a single vendor has on a single cross-platform or windows driver, open source development across drivers for all the hw is about 10% the size.

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