Nintendo has quietly joined the Khronos Group which is a not-for-profit consortium of academics and media companies dedicated to managing open-standard graphics APIs like OpenGL and its successor, Vulkan.
A NeoGaf post, noted that Nintendo’s name was added to the list of Khronos Group contributing members earlier this month.
The news is somewhat surprising. Nintendo failed to make its membership public and it puts it on track to head down an unexpected route.
Practically it means Nintendo has joined up with companies like Microsoft, AMD, Sony, Oculus and Nvidia to exert some influence over the development and promotion of license-free, royalty-free products using Khronos.
As a Khronos Group contributor Nintendo has full voting rights and is empowered to participate in the group’s API development, but it doesn’t have a seat on the Khronos Group board and can’t participate in the final ratification process of new API specifications.
If all of them went with it, it could see the big names in the graphics business focused on a single open sauce standard. Vulkan does seem to be moving forward with AMD saying it should have a chip using the standard next year. The only problem AMD is facing is that some of the hardware needed might be proprietary, but will move to pure Open Sauce eventually.
AMD has confirmed that it has a Linux driver for its Vulkan card and have one prototype already – the only problem is that it is closed source.
Those who want their Linux to be totally open saucy will be completely disappointed. In fact, there is a lot about the project, which is closed source.
AMD said that OpenCL support will initially be closed and then opened later. They already have some basic OpenCL open-source support via the Clover Gallium3D driver; this is referring to OpenCL 2.1+ support with SPIR-V alongside Vulkan or the OpenCL Catalyst code.
Vulkan driver communicating with libdrm that interfaces with the AMDGPU kernel driver. AMD slides do not mention whether they intend to support Vulkan with the current Radeon DRM driver for HD 7000 through Rx 300 (non-Tonga/Carrizo/Fiji) GPUs. Instead, they only talk about the AMDGPU kernel driver just for the very newest AMD GPUs like the R9 Fury and Carrizo APUs.
However, AMD said that this is all transitory and Vulkan will eventually become completely open sauce. In fact, AMD has promised to focus more on open-source than closed-source in the future.
The problem is that closed-source software is needed for some workstation features, OpenGL 4.5, and OpenCL.
Basic support for AMD’s closed-source (Catalyst) OpenGL and OpenCL support riding atop the rest of the AMDGPU driver stack is complete. Their initial Vulkan driver is using DRI3.