Valve joins Linux Foundation

Most of you will probably have seen the news: Valve has joined the Linux Foundation.

At the same time, AMD's HSA Foundation has also joined the Linux Foundation. This doesn't bring a lot of new memberships, because most of the HSA members and supporters were already members of the Linux Foundation, but it means very specifically that the entire hybrid computing technology, which is the technological edge AMD has for the moment, is facing complete standardized linux kernel merger.It also probably means that Intel is still a long way from having it's iGPU's run as GP-GPUs, as AMD has already said they wouldn't want to make the transition on their own, so now they're doing it with Samsung, Qualcomm, Ti, and ARM, which will be very interesting.

Both of these are a big deal: Valve can actually open source a lot of useful gaming optimizations and have them merged into the linux kernel. That's the first step to standardization of graphics acceleration technologies, and a clear sign that open source drivers are the way to go on linux. Valve and HSA joining the Linux Foundation means that open source has won on linux, that Intel and AMD will become the prevalent graphics hardware suppliers for the future gaming machines (as nVidia won't do open source drivers). HSA Foundation joining means that AMD based x86-hardware and ARM-devices will work together better in linux, and that AMD's hybrid computing concept will probably soon become the de facto standard for the new generation of high performance PC computing.

So how long before Linux has full HSA support (if it doesn't already)?

Can't wait for Kaveri.

I already has support, although the tools to develop stuff and the drivers needed are not completely open source yet. But this week alone, two essential new features were added to the AMD open source driver, so AMD's focus is completely on developing the linux platform. The first step now is hybrid computing (aka "many-core-optimized" computing) optimized distros, and that will come in less than 1 week, as Fedora 21 will be the first ever mainstream many-core distro, and the Fedora 21 pre-release version is Fedora-rawhide, which will be Fedora 21 as soon as Fedora 20 hits release, which is in less than a week. The second step is integrating all of the drivers into the linux kernel, and that will probably happen with kernel 4.0, which has been mentioned a few weeks ago (a version number change of the linux kernel is a big deal, it means that revolutionary or game-changing functionality is added), which is expected in fall 2014, but it's impossible to set a precise timeframe for it. It's basically waiting for Intel now, they have to get their shit together, it's been due for a long time now, it's been almost a year since Intel reinforced it's open source graphics driver team to the largest team to ever work on graphics drivers (over a 100 devs fulltime working on it). I guess they were a bit taken by surprise by the required quality for open source, nobody has ever done this in the past, up until now it has always been easy to release unfinished buggy products, but in open source, the quality requirements are much higher, and it has to work with a lot more hardware, since the linux kernel is compatible with so much more devices than closed source platforms.

Well, this can only be good. Hopefully, Steam will be pushed open source by this - I find the fact that their free software is closed source, despite the rather close integration of Valve with Linux support and Linux supportive stances.