May 8, 2006
ATI: Open v. Closed Drivers
Since Stephen Shankland's article at CNET entitled New Linux look fuels old debate, we have been overwhelmed with requests to take a serious look at the frame-rate performance differences between the various open-source and proprietary contenders. Many of Stephen's thoughts had revolved around the recent push for Linux desktop eye candy through delivering 3D effects with such projects as AIGLX from the Fedora RenderingProject, and XGL. Some of his thoughts had also pertained to Fedora/Red Hat closing out proprietary kernel modules by shipping Fedora Core 5 with a flawed kernel. There also has been lots of open-source discussion since a disturbance that took place where the Free Software Foundation's Richard M Stallman was almost arrested at an event where an ATI programmer was speaking. Our first article on this topic, which will likely be the start of a series of examinations, is looking at the differences between the X.Org open-source ATI Radeon driver and that of ATI's official but proprietary fglrx display driver.