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Crowd-Funding Linux Graphics Card Driver Development?

By Tim - | Views: 10,331
Over the years many have brought up the idea of crowd funding open source graphics driver development in order to speed up development and finally close the gap on the Windows drivers. A few days ago I setup a small scale experiment to see if it could actually work. Rather than go all out trying to raise a huge sum of money I have setup a small project on Indiegogo as a type of proof of concept to see whether a larger project would really be viable. To make things a bit more interesting if I reach my stretch goal I will dedicate some of the time towards creating some documentation on Mesa based on my understanding of it throughout development. This would hopefully be useful to others considering contributing but with no idea where to start.

Basically my idea involves implementing the GL_KHR_DEBUG extension in Mesa which is required for the open source Linux drivers to eventually advertise support for OpenGL 4.3.

To see more information on what the project is all about please follow the link below to my Indiegogo campaign. Thanks for your time, and feel free to ask me any questions you may have.

http://igg.me/p/475220/x/2053460 Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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9 comments

FutureSuture 2 Aug, 2013
I am willing to contribute, just please answer my private message on Reddit before I do so.
Lord Avallon 2 Aug, 2013
So, you are the guy Phoronix was talking about on his site, it´s a great initiative!
gabsd84 2 Aug, 2013
I backed your campaign...hope you reach your goal. Would be great to see another OpenGL feature taken off the todo list.
Superuser 2 Aug, 2013
Could you explain a bit better how this will benefit us? Note that I know very little about how the kernel works internally!

For instance, you say it's only for open source graphics drivers, but is it for all of them? Gallium3D for instance (which I also don't know that much of) is not used in Intel's drivers by default.

Additionally, why do proprietary graphics drivers not use Mesa? Is it due to the restrictions of the GNU GPL?

Thanks in advance.
Guest 2 Aug, 2013
Quoting: gabsd84I backed your campaign...hope you reach your goal. Would be great to see another OpenGL feature taken off the todo list.
Thanks for the support.
Guest 2 Aug, 2013
Quoting: Lord AvallonSo, you are the guy Phoronix was talking about on his site, it´s a great initiative!
Yes that's right.
Guest 2 Aug, 2013
Quoting: SuperuserCould you explain a bit better how this will benefit us? Note that I know very little about how the kernel works internally!

For instance, you say it's only for open source graphics drivers, but is it for all of them? Gallium3D for instance (which I also don't know that much of) is not used in Intel's drivers by default.

Additionally, why do proprietary graphics drivers not use Mesa? Is it due to the restrictions of the GNU GPL?

Thanks in advance.
I have just written this which I will add to my campaign page as you main question is a common one:

So how will this benefit me? Will it help my games run faster/better?


The benefits to most Linux users will not be direct benefits, for example the GL_KHR_DEBUG extension will not magically help games run faster or better. The benefits to end users will be more indirect, these benefits include:
  • The OpenGL implementation lags behind that of propriety drivers currently it supports a maximum of OpenGL 3.1 which means its lacks support for 3.2, 3.3, 4.0, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 and the newly released 4.4. By supporting me to implement this missing feature required as part of 4.3 it will knock another missing feature off the list. The more missing features that are implemented the more time the full time Mesa dev's have to work on things such as performance and bug fixing.

  • Better debugging abilities for OpenGL/games developers working with your drivers. The intention of the GL_KHR_DEBUG is to enable developers to easier debug issues with their OpenGL code. Having better support for this extension should allow for developers to more easily track down issues with their programs running on the Mesa drivers.

  • Encouraging other independent developers to work on Mesa. One of the aims of my project is to show independent developers that it is possible to dedicate more time to Mesa than they would normally be able to by funding their work via an alternative means such as crowd-funding. I'm not only trying to fund myself but encourage more development on FOSS via alternative funding.

  • Part of my campaign is to provide some documentation of my experience contributing to Mesa, basically how I got started and what I discovered and did. I hope this will in turn be a good guide to jump start others into Mesa development.




Yes this is only for the open source drivers. For my campaign page:

"Which drivers will the extension be implemented in?
This extension will implemented in Mesa core so will be available on all drivers."

So yes it will be available for all open source drivers.


The proprietary drivers do not use Mesa probably mainly due to historically reasons such as never being up to date with the latest OpenGL version/ the old world view that closed source is better. Hopefully this is something we can help change. Mesa is MIT licensed so GPL restriction do not apply.

I hope all this helps clear things up.
Guest 2 Aug, 2013
Quoting: FutureSutureI am willing to contribute, just please answer my private message on Reddit before I do so.

Done.
berarma 3 Aug, 2013
Quoting: SuperuserAdditionally, why do proprietary graphics drivers not use Mesa? Is it due to the restrictions of the GNU GPL?

It has nothing to do with licensing, you can run propietary games linked to GPL software, I do it all the time. Manufacturers have their own implementations optimized for their hardware, they don't just compete in the hardware, also in the software.
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