Open-Source Graphics: Will You Bet On This Dark Horse?
The open source movement, whose efforts I regularly monitor, is a sometimes bemusing, sometimes bewildering, but almost always estimable mix of pragmatism and "pipe dreaming". Graphics is, along with Wi-Fi, a common sticking point for folks interested in garnering robust hardware support within their chosen operating system and applications.
Following up on my past coverage, I had a brief conversation at last week's NAB with Via Technology's Rick Clayton, who clarified the scope of the company's open-source graphics embrace. Unsurprisingly, it extends only to 2D hardware acceleration; a combination of third-party patent license restrictions and Via's own IP sensitivities precludes the company from releasing source code that supports its chips' and cores' 3D and video pipelines.
Other graphics providers such as AMD (formerly ATI) and Nvidia have similar restrictions.