A letter to ATI/AMD

Dear Ati and Ati’s daddy AMD,

A week ago, i needed to replace my graphics card and so after being an Nvidia customer for several years, i decided to go with an Ati card this time to support the company for choosing to open source their graphic drivers. I am a GNU/Linux user, and although Nvidia has worked great on this platform in the past, it has not kept up with the times and still chooses to withhold specs from the free software community trying to help them implement open source drivers for their cards.

Now, i realize that the open source driver for your cards is still not ready, and that’s ok. Just making the jump is a great effort on your part. However, your proprietary driver sucks. And hence, under Linux, your cards suck too.

You want some details? Here goes.

– The “Catalyst Control Center” is a joke. I mean i used to write interfaces like that too…when i first started programming… Ok, so maybe aesthetics in interfaces is not your thing(although you do manufacture graphics cards!), even in terms of functionality it hardly works. Trying to change any configuration using the control center produces an xorg file that messes everything up. I had to manually re-write it myself. Either implement a proper “control center”, or ask the community for help.

– Switching between virtual terminals produces transient weird graphic artifacts using driver 8.53.4. Using an earlier driver, X just locks up.

– Hibernating or suspending the computer causes X to also lockup. This seems to still be a problem even in the latest driver(8.53.4).

– Performance wise, the driver is terrible. I mean absolutely horrible. World of Warcraft runs with 10-15 fps on this thing. Definitely not what i would expect from a midrange sub-$200 card(i actually paid $160). Luckily, i still dual boot for when a windows VM does not do the job and under windows xp sp2, the performance is pretty good. So please, please fix your driver. I do not wish to change platforms just to get your stuff to work.

– The Ati bugzilla appears to be abandoned with tens(hundreds?) of unanswered bug reports. That is simply not acceptable, even if it is an unofficial bug database. You either want the community to help you, or you don’t. This just looks like you’re taking advantage of us.

– Oh, and this one is for Sahpire. Have you ever actually used one of your products? It sounds like you’re sitting next to a blender…

I have a lot more, but i think you got my point. I want to support you, i want to give you my hard earned dollars. But you’re making it very difficult. So please start acting like a good citizen or ask for help. Spend more time on your products, and less time on pretty PowerPoint presentations. Those do not impress us.