May 2007 Archives

It seems there is some amount of question as to whether the report about AMD delivering open-source drivers, made by Enterprise Linux Log, is entirely correct.

Wishful thinking? Perhaps. What Henri Richard apparently said was that AMD/ATI would improve relations with the community. Dave Airlie doesn't seem completely convinced:

So a marketing dude said something about open drivers for AMD/ATI gpus and working with the community.

Can people get excited when AMD/ATI actually do something rather than showboat for media headlines?

Like ATI won't let me release my r500 source because I shouldn't have used a utility they gave me under NDA on those cards, now the thing is I done the correct thing and contacted them asking if I could release the code, so far this has just been stonewalled by their Linux driver management and their "legal" department, this isn't the action of a company trying to interact with the community or one that gives a rats arse about community..

I don't know for sure, but Henri Richard's e-mail address might be If AMD is indeed interested in improving relations with the community, perhaps we should e-mail them asking for them to clear the release of Dave Airlie's r500 source?

I just saw this myself: AMD is committing to freeing its graphics drivers.

AMD will soon deliver open graphics drivers, said Henri Richard just a few minutes ago, and the audience at the opening keynote of the Red Hat Summit broke into applause and cheers. Richard, AMD's executive vice president of sales and marketing, promised: "I'm here to commit to you that it's going to get done." He also promised that AMD is "going to be very proactive in changing way we interface with the Linux community."

If they make good on this promise, it will be fantastic for GNU/Linux users. Currently, ATI graphics support is very lackluster on the platform. NVIDIA offers a proprietary driver that mostly works, but their closed development has injured the community's ability to advance the state of, and challenged the ability for GNU/Linux distributions to "just work".

I commit that if AMD makes good on this announcement and produces a reasonably working free driver for Linux and, and NVIDIA has not matched their offering at the time I need to upgrade, I will definitely purchase an AMD/ATI card.

I currently have a little over 20 domains registered via Lately, I've been going through my various accounts trying to retire an old e-mail address, and so I had the task of doing owner-change updates for these domains. As I'm not a reseller and hence cannot use the e-mail gateway or HTTP API, I had to do the owner changes by hand. That required several-second load times per page: quite a nuisance.

I thought about becoming a reseller, but becoming a reseller appears to require a $250 deposit. My next step was to start working on a Perl script based on the excellent WWW::Mechanize to help with future changes. Along the way, I started to think about switching registrars.

One of the challenges in writing reliable server software is determining how to look for errors without having a big impact on performance, while recovering gracefully from any such failure.

You can use the GCC builtin __builtin_expect to inform the compiler that a certain test is expected to be false most of the time. In doing so, GCC (hopefully) lays out machine code such that the CPU's branch predictor doesn't trip over your assertion and cause a pipeline stall every time it is hit. The Linux kernel does something like this: