Open Source R5XX Driver

June 13th, 2007 by Crusader

Jerome Glisse announcedon the X.Org mailing listthat they have reverse-engineered a driver for the ATI Radeon X1300 toX1600 series of graphics cards:

The current roadmap is:
- Find out missing bits for r520 and r580 hardware initialisation,
- RandR 1.2 support with a dumb memory allocator,
- Simple 2D acceleration (we will put more focus on 3D acceleration as now Xorg provides infrastructure to best utilise 3D drivers to display the desktop, thanks to the Glucose interface),
- 3D reverse engineering: We believe that this engine is very similar to the r300 3D engine which has already mostly been reverse engineered,
- TTM DRM driver for proper memory management,
- and likely port the driver to new DRM modesetting work.

Help is, obviously, welcome for any of these.

We are lacking people with time and interest for working onreverse-engineering r5xx. Don’t believe anyone who tells you that onlyrocket scientists can properly write a graphics driver: you mostly justneed to understand how a GPU works (not much more complex than a CPU’svector unit), and know how to code in C.

Of course here is the URL to grab source code:
git clone git://

Please note that this is intended only for people interested in workingon this and normal users should not try it yet as it actually needs you toadd your graphic card pci id in order for it to work.


I would like to take advantage of this announcement to stress thatAMD hurt its consumers by not providing specifications of theirhardware to the open source community which end up in providinga bad experience to them.

I also believe they are no sensible technical informations in thisspecifications as proven by others graphics manufacturer who giveout specifications: XGI; or good driver source code well documentedalmost as good as specifications: Intel.

So, AMD, please be respectful of the community and at least give adetailed motivations and reasons for not providing your graphicshardware specifications. I look forward to the day when theopen source community will be able to work with AMD for providingto AMD’s consumers the best experiences with their hardware onany open source operating systems.

3 Responses to “Open Source R5XX Driver”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I don’t like the statement in the news.
    If AMD don’t want to release their driver with an Open Source License, it is a CHOICE.
    As far as they provide the driver for multiple OS like Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, this is good.

    Open Source is like communism : they are talking about freedom but only want a way of thinking. That make me laugh, I am thinking about Hugo Chavez and his concept of freedom…

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Are you serious?! There are so many errors in your post that I don’t know where to begin! Lets start with the statement that it’s AMD’s choice. Wonderful, you spotted something obvious and stated it, good for you. I don’t think it was ever disputed in the above post that AMD absolutly HAS to release the source or even specs. They said that it would be respectful of them to, and that makes sense. Linux is a free kernel with free software built around it. The number of foss projects far outweigh the number of proprietary projects. The community is mainly about free software and using the source as you like. Thus, it would be RESPECTFUL to adhere to what the free software community does, modify and use free projects. Granted, there are a few people who would demand that everything be free, however they are a limited number of people. Further, since AMD has the freedom to only release the propretary driver, we all have the freedom (atleast in this country we have freedom of speech, perhaps there are some nations where this would be unacceptable) to tell them that it blows goat, and we would like to see it free, or at least have published specs (which is exactly what was done in the above post). Next is your analogy to communism, how does communism (and i’m talking about Marx’s version of it as is written in the communist manifesto, not Lennin’s screwey authoritarian communism [or state-captilism which is more what it was in practice]) force only one way of thinking? Communism is about maximum social freedom and minimal exploitation (as in minimizing exploitation done by the usual market workplace, enforced by our class structure [yes we have different classes, just a really big middle class in developed nations]). Can you please tell me where you read or heared that commmunism is about only one way of thinking, becuase it was most-likely not from a communist. If you site an authorian communist, then you are comparing apples to oranges, as we can then site authoritarian captialist states, let’s compare democratic communism to democratic capitalism. Also remember we are talking about ideals, not actual states as no state tends to keep things pure. If your intent in the subject line was to compare open source to a communist state, please state which state you are talking about. Lastly, exactly what do you think Hugo Chavez’s concept of freedom is? You have to realize, the big media tends to only repeate what the predential administration says, not what happens in reality, that’s why we have acedemic papers.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Open source is not Communism.
    And its about an NDA agreement, not an Open Source License.

    I think the Open source ATI drivers are starting to look up.

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