The sad state of Linux OpenGL drivers: find the vendor!

The state of Linux drivers is a very old, sad and sometimes infuriating tale. I use Linux exclusively at work, 70% of my time at home; and still whenever I want to upgrade a driver, whether it’s ATI or NVIDIA, I throw a couple of Hail Marys just in case (and a couple of Bloody Marys most of the times after that). Rich Geldreich works at Valve, and is currently improving OpenGL support for games for SteamOS. His rantings about the drivers are pretty much spot on, but he doesn’t actually mention names of vendors. That’s left as an exercise to the reader Here’s a snippet to get you started:

Historically, this vendor will do things like internally replace entire shaders for key titles to make them perform better (sometimes much better). Most drivers probably do stuff like this occasionally, but this vendor will stop at nothing for performance. What does this mean to the PC game industry or graphics devs? It means you, as “Joe Graphics Developer”, have little chance of achieving the same technical feats in your title (even if you use the exact same algorithms!) because you don’t have an embedded vendor driver engineer working specifically on your title making sure the driver does exactly the right thing (using low-level optimized shaders) when your specific game or engine is running. It also means that, historically, some of the PC graphics legends you know about aren’t quite as smart or capable as history paints them to be, because they had a lot of help.

Vendor A is also jokingly known as the “Graphics Mafia”. Be very careful if a dev from Vendor A gets embedded into your team. These guys are serious business.

You can read the rest of the blog entry here. Take a wild guess who Vendor A, Vendor B and Vendor C are; I am certain you won’t have much trouble identifying them

Source : Rage3D Forums

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