Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Hmm, Valve, AMD, Nvidia?

Hmm, so have Valve and the Gabester finally managed to do what common sense and economics couldn't?

That is, get AMD and perhaps even Nvidia to start working on proper GPU drivers for Linux?

Nvidia just announced that they're going to start helping the GPL driver effort all of a sudden. AMD are teasing about a GNU/Linux and game related announcement in under 12 hours. And Valve's "SteamStation" is being announced one way or another in under 12 hours too.

I guess we'll know soon enough ... it'll give me something to read in the morning unless I wake up at 4am again ...

I'm most interested in what AMD have to announce. The best we can hope for is a properly-free reference implementation of GPU + HSA for AMD APU machines - this is probably in the realm of dreaming but you never know because it makes a hell of a lot of sense economically. And fits some of their HSA related rumblings. Add in a range of "desktop" parts from low to high powered to match and it could be an interesting day. HSA has the potential to be the biggest leap in IBM compatible PC architecture in history - even if it is just all the way back to 1995 (Amiga).

SteamOS is interesting to me beyond the GameOS potential. Having an 'under tv' option which isn't Sony, or XBMC, or Google has to be a good thing. Android is a pretty sucky 'spin' of GNU/Linux. The optimistic part of me also looks forward to the announcement of some sort of OpenGL based display mechanism that would finally fuck The X Window System and it's other shitty replacements right off into to the dustbin of history where they belong. Actually I take back what I said about being most interested in what AMD have to say, a replacement for X that isn't just X-again wayland or ubuntu-i-can't-believe-it's-not-linux's mir would be very, very welcome.

One hopes that Nvidia's announcement is also genuine (and also involved in Valve's announcement) and not just a cynical response to something AMD/Valve are expected to say. Because of nvidia's shithouse opencl support and performance on their mainstream parts, they are still "dead to me" - but that isn't a universal opinion.


Well ... that was unexpected. A proprietary game api? Oh-kay.

So I guess AMD want to play the market power card? After wrapping up all the consoles?

I thought the whole point of the HSA design was to improve the efficiency of existing apis ...

Still at this point there isn't enough details to really make much of a judgement call. No real info about Linux either, apart from an "importance" of cross-platform support (but that could mean anything).

I guess this was an announcment of game cards, and game cards are bought by game players and game players buy game cards based on game benchmarks ... and a smaller API could definitely make a big difference there.

So I guess we'll just have to continue to wait and see on the APU and HSA fronts, and the same goes for the steam-machine. Poo to that.

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