AMD in open source push

Chipmaker AMD wants to increase its presence on Linux and has hired two familiar names to the open source community.

Michel Dänzer and Christian König are well known Linux graphics driver developers. They are joining John Bridgman and Alex Deucher in working on the open source driver stack.

According to Phoronix, Dänzer comes from Vmware. König introduced open-source HDMI audio support for the Radeon HD driver. He later brought it to the xf86-video-ati DDX – and to the Radeon DRM driver.

AMD surprised the industry when it said that was going to officially back and provide support for open source drivers for video cards, and establish a solid full feature open source Linux video driver.

Linux had a problem that it was not designed for use with binary drivers. While it was possible to make Linux work with such drivers, it was tricky.

At the time it was said that by releasing open source drivers, AMD would have difficulty exposing how parts of their hardware work when it wanted to keep that information secret. However, when Nvidia started to release open source drivers it did very well, so AMD felt it also had to sign up.

However, in the last year, things have changed. While Linux has not made much of a dent on the desktop market, the rise of Linux based operating systems, such as Android and Chrome, has meant that having open source drivers for AMD chips has become increasingly important.

It would appear that AMD has worked out it needs to have a lot more in house open sourcers if it is going to have its chips working on as many machines as possible.