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AMD Displays Graphics Software Linux

AMD Intentionally Added Artificial Limitations To Their HDMI Adapters 256

An anonymous reader writes "NVIDIA was caught removing features from their Linux driver and days later Linux developers have caught and confirmed AMD imposing artificial limitations on their graphics cards in the DVI-to-HDMI adapters that their driver will support. Over years AMD has quietly been adding an extra EEPROM chip to their DVI-to-HDMI adapters that are bundled with Radeon HD graphics cards. Only when these identified adapters are detected via checks in their Windows and Linux Catalyst driver is HDMI audio enabled. If using a third-party DVI-to-HDMI adapter, HDMI audio support is disabled by the Catalyst driver. Open-source Linux developers have found this to be a self-imposed limitation and that the open-source AMD Linux driver will work fine with any DVI-to-HDMI adapter."
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AMD Intentionally Added Artificial Limitations To Their HDMI Adapters

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @09:33AM (#45069187)

    Tip of the Iceberg.

  • Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @09:34AM (#45069193)

    Seriously, AMD, Why?

  • Why do this? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @09:34AM (#45069201)

    Do they make that much on adaptors that they care?
    Since when?

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @09:41AM (#45069279) Homepage

    It was practically designed by the copyright industry so that they can control everything. I mean they have just about ruined the spec preventing it from being useful. Why does it need an encrypted signal? It kind of ticks me off. I recall troubleshooting and actually putting my amp system into the shop TWICE at the manufacturer's suggestion because they didn't recognize (or admit) that the problem I was experiencing was all about HDMI. (And to think all I wanted to do was play a video game through my amp and to the TV... what copyright interest is there in that?!)

  • Good thing (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @09:42AM (#45069281)

    Good thing they open sourced their drivers. Now profitable business decisions can be chastised by the linux community! Everyone boycott AMD!

    nVidia should release all their IP as well! That way everyone can shit all over their linux support!

  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @09:45AM (#45069311)

    It's crazy that companies go through all this trouble to protect a revenue stream from something as inexpensive and generic as a DVI to HDMI adapter.

    Not only that, but I wouldn't even know where to start to find a their branded version except in the box of a graphics card (and typically all those things when I get them just get tossed into a drawer - of the umpteen bazillion of them in there I doubt I know which goes with which).

    My guess though is that the actual sales they're trying to protect here are those to the card makers rather than end users. If the companies making cards using their chips have to buy the adapters from AMD instead whatever the cheapest source in Hong Kong is, then I'm guessing it adds up. The end-user is just collateral damage.

  • Re:Why do this? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @09:48AM (#45069347) Homepage

    So that they can choose when their hardware becomes obsolete.

    One of the biggest unspoken threats of Linux is the added longevity hardware picks up. People can use much older hardware because Linux has a much more broad range of support for hardware than any one version of Windows. Why is that? You could argue that supporting device X under all versions of Windows is expensive or some crap like that. But at the end of the day, Linux does this because it's just there... in the kernel source somewhere. But when hardware makers want to push new high-end devices, they sometimes encourage upgrades by disabling features, decreasing performance and all manner of dirty tricks.

    If people were wondering why AMD and NVidia have been holding back so hard on their Linux support, I think this is a much more plausible reason than "we outsourced development of the drivers and they patented and/or copyrighted stuff."

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @09:52AM (#45069383) Homepage
    this is a normal part of a functional modern consumer capitalism. planned obsolescence, crippled interoperability and limited features are all things corporations adopt in order to drive profit and increase sales yearly. its why your cellphone doesnt have expandable RAM anymore and your game consoles and processors routinely change size, shape, and pin count. The problem is not AMD, its the notion that any economic system constructed on a finite level of resources can questionlessly and consistently achieve percentages of growth regardless of demand. well built, creative and useful products serve no purpose, but are sometimes accidents of fortune in the creation of a product. once its established, each iteration becomes a steady descent into nothing more than a means to achieve what you had, and define yourself based on unrealistic expectations set by advertising and product research teams.

    this problem cannot be fixed, because we would have to stop purchasing the product. we cant stop, because the product is the standard by which we esablish our likes and dislikes, as well as our perception of everything from uniqueness to wealth and success. Put your TV on the curb, download a copy of adblock plus, and in six months this entire article will seem the very definition of the hedonistic treadmill.
  • Re: Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by _0xd0ad ( 1974778 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @09:59AM (#45069455) Journal

    Same reason as the newer RealTek sound drivers have disabled/removed the Stereo Mix recording device: DRM.

  • Re:Why? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @10:03AM (#45069503)

    it's cool--this information just seals the deal.

    my current AMD cpu/mainboard/video card system sucked--intermittent slowdowns/video lad, and certain games randomly crash. reloads/drvers/friwmare, tweaks, fans on everything--nothing fixes it.

    I will not be buying amd for either video or compute. abd more importantly--- i will REMEMBER how they shafted people.

    'tis a shame, they were my preferred choice for a long time.

  • by asicsolutions ( 1481269 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @10:06AM (#45069533) Journal
    gpl-gpu kickstarter launches tomorrow. A fully LGPL 2D/ 3D graphics accelerator written in Verilog. Currently running in an Arria IIgx. GPLGPU Kickstarter []
  • by tibit ( 1762298 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @10:16AM (#45069669)

    Yeah. I have a Sony TV and a Sony Blu-Ray player - both less than 2 years old. The crypto negotiation takes about a second, with blank screen and audible pops. On most Blu-Ray discs it happens at least twice before you get to playing the movie. With DVDs it sometimes takes place 4 times. I swear that an old CRT TV and a VCR were faster to cold-boot to a visible, playing movie, with inclusion of loading the tape, than the current generation of HD gear. It says something when a system that could, theoretically, be up and playing in 5 seconds from power-up is almost a factor of magnitude away from what the hardware allows it to do. It really takes the cake when such a system is about as "fast" as an electromechanical variant. Yeah, VCRs are nowhere near the quality of even DVDs, but still.

  • Re:Didn't know that. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @10:37AM (#45069907) Homepage

    It can't. The complaint is that a non-standard feature is only enabled for known non-standard adapters. The story is flamebait.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @11:19AM (#45070501) Homepage

    I assume it's some sort of hack done by an AMD engineer for a deadline DRM demo for the MAFIAA.

    The MAFIAA connected an audio recorder to the output, no sound appeared, they went away happy.

    Then the PHB from AMD told the engineers, "I don't know how you did that, but I want it in manufacturing by 4pm..."

    Result: An adapter with secret EEPROM hidden inside.

  • by gmarsh ( 839707 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @12:10PM (#45071239)

    If AMD put HDMI ports on their video card, they'd have to pay licensing/royalty fees to HDMI Licensing, LLC. By only putting DVI connectors on their video cards, ATI doesn't have to pay the fee. But for the small percentage of customers who *want* HDMI, they sell the adapter and pay for the licensing costs with that instead. Since they sell far fewer adapters than cards obviously, the overall license fees paid become much less.

    Presumably the EEPROM is in there because the HDMI Licensing lawyers aren't complete idiots, and required the card to make sure the adapter is licensed. Tossing a 10-cent 24LC01 or something in there with a magic byte on it probably didn't break the bank.

  • Re:Why do this? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dannydawg5 ( 910769 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @12:45PM (#45071725)

    We've been sending audio over DVI for at least 5 years. It is not a hack. It is part of the DVI-D / DVI-I standard.

    It is the go-to choice for small business manufacturers not wanting to pay expensive HDMI license fees.

  • Re:Why do this? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JeffAtl ( 1737988 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @01:42PM (#45072603)

    Are you sure audio is part of the DVI standard? I'm not challenging you, but just curious where audio is located in the standard. Everything I've found indicates that the Digiital Visual Interface (DVI) is designed for visual interfaces. I'm aware of some devices that utilize audio over DVI, but aren't those extensions of the standard?

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