Red Hat developer Christopher Blizzard has written a rather interesting update on his blog about AMD’s Linux graphics driver support plans. According to Blizzard, AMD executive VP and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Henri Richard attended the Red Hat Summit and “committed to fixing the ATI problems with open source.” Blizzard paraphrases Richard’s statements as, “most people are worried about what they will lose…[intellectual property], etc…we’re worried about what we can win.”
If this is indeed true, it would be a definite change of direction for AMD. In October last year, shortly before the AMD-ATI merger was finalized, we emailed ATI’s Software and Video Marketing Manager Terry Makedon about this very subject. He told us, “Proprietary, patented optimizations are part of the value we provide to our customers and we have no plans to release these drivers to open source. In addition, multimedia elements such as content protection must not, by their very nature, be allowed to go open source.” Makedon then added that, as of mid-October 2006, nothing had changed as a result of the AMD deal.