April 13, 2005

VIA Open sources code

Guest writes "VIA Technologies has made an announcement that it is releasing the source code for its Unichrome video drivers as Open Source: link

This is a welcome move in some respects, it certainly shows that VIA now considers the Linux user as a valuable customer base that must be supported.

However, there is already a thriving open source driver for this platform: link providing code that was based on a version of VIA's code that they released to a limited set of open source developers a few years ago.

It is also worth noting that the "VIA Open Source" package still relies on a proprietary binary library to provide MPEG acceleration on their hardware. This library provides a completely non-standard API that applications must work to implement MPEG support. This contrasts with the Unichrome project's solution, who provide full source code for their MPEG implementation and have implemented the multi-vendor established standard XvMC interface for their driver.

The Unichrome project has also been responsible for implementing support for this MPEG assistance in Xine, MPlayer and MythTV, again this contrasts with VIA's solution to application support which has resulted in them producing forked VIA specific versions of Xine (VeXP) and MPlayer (VeMP) without involving the donor projects or contributing back to them.

It is, therfore, a shame that VIA decided to make this grandiose eye catching announcement, rather than simply getting involved in the existing open source communities and simply helping and contributing to the Unichrome, Xine, MPlayer and MythTV projects. That might have been less eye catching or press release friendly, but it would certainly be a better way to win friends in the Linux community.

The unichrome project can be found at: unichrome.sf.net

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