Archive for January, 2006

ATI Petition for Adequate Drivers

Monday, January 16th, 2006

There is a new petition available at petitiononline.com

It demands from ATI to produce adequate Linux drivers for the graphics cards and chipsets they produce.

In general, such a petition is a good idea. However, this one hasn’t been thought over properly.

First of all, the petition simply demands drivers that “work” at acceptable speeds. They claim that ATI currently released drivers are not performing to the users’ satisfaction.

With that, they mean speed, mostly. Other issues like working suspend/resume and energy saving options for laptops are not mentioned.

What is even worse, they do not demand for the drivers to be Free Software. The only demand they make is for ATI to “open source” the specs in case they do not want to produce the drivers themselves. In that case they demand complete “schematics and technical information pertaining to the video cards produced by ATI” to be made available.

Well, ATI will hardly ever do that. They might not even be allowed to do so for legal reasons. However, they could at least publish enough information to enable the FOSS community to write Free Software drivers, coudn’t they?

Besides, ATI already offers some drivers, but they are non-free.

It would have been much cleverer to demand the existing drivers to be licensed under Free Software licensing terms, in addition to demand technical documentation to enable others to write drivers, as well.

I signed the petition anyway, hoping it will put some pressure onto ATI.