AMD acquires ATI - What is in it for Linux ?

July 25, 2006
All the news sites and news television channels are agog with the news of AMD acquiring ATI - one of the foremost graphics card manufacturing firms which rivals Nvidia. In the future, when one buys a PC with an AMD chipset, there is a good chance that it will have on-board graphics as powerful or even more than the graphics cards sold by ATI. This means that we need not have to buy a separate Graphics card to meet our gaming needs. It might be an all in one solution. This is no doubt good news for the computer users in general.

What is in it for GNU/Linux ?
At present, the situation on the Linux front is that to play any OpenGL games or run a program which uses OpenGL to render its user interface - such as Blender, it is very much needed to use the proprietary graphics drivers provided by either of the two graphics cards giants - Nvidia and ATI (Now a part of AMD). Yes Linux has an open source version of the drivers for the ATI/Nvidia graphics cards but they are found to be severely lacking and fail to tap the full power of the graphics card. And suppose you do install the proprietary driver, if you so much as install a newer version of the Linux kernel, then there is a good chance that the propritery driver may not be suited and so one will have to fall back to the open source version of the drivers. This has happened to me a couple of times in the past.

So the question in every Linux user's mind is will AMD open source the graphics card drivers ? We can only keep our fingers crossed in this matter and hope for the best. But all the sound bites emanating from various news sites point in the negative direction.

Now I wonder when Intel will acquire Nvidia.... this is what is needed to heat up the war over the domination of the PC chip market.


  • Devon

    Thank you for explaining it so well, I have read several articles and still had no idea what this meant until I read this post. If they do indeed open source the drivers I will probably go out and get me a nice ATI card despite the fact that I like nVidia's cards a little more. If ATI open sources the drivers and it is a success (and I am 99% sure it would be) then NVIDIA would probably follow. Hurray, this could actually be a very good thing!