Tuesday, April 08, 2008

VIA says it will be more open-license friendly

VIA has announced their intentions to be more friendly towards open licensed software at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit. The press release, for those interested, is here : http://www.via.com.tw/en/resources/pressroom/pressrelease.jsp?press_release_no=2088

Those with long memories, such as myself, might question how serious VIA actually is. Case in point would be the 2005 controversy over the UniChrome project, as reported on Linux.com here : http://www.linux.com/feature/44550. Another controversy erupted in 2006, as reported on Linux.com here : http://www.linux.com/articles/54151. The 2006 article opened up with this quote:
The company's record with open source developers is rife with criticism and concern, and has consistently fallen short of expectations and norms for open source developers, who claim VIA is more interested in the marketing buzz of its open source development than providing good code for developers.
I found myself agreeing at the time, since every time I had been invited to speak with a VIA rep, or had the chance to drop by a VIA booth at an E3, nobody wanted, or was able, to talk about Linux support. Thus I find myself seriously questioning how open VIA intends to be with their driver support, or if the new initiative will wind up being a repeat of the failed interactions in the past.

In VIA's favor they have not been generating any ill will towards themselves over the past couple of years, so this might be a good time to take a shot at establishing a good track record with those in Open-Source. What could be interesting to watch is whether or not VIA opens up the driver development for their Chrome branded graphics cards in a manner similar to how AMD has opened up the Radeon brand. A similar approach might be enough to regain lost credibility.

I've also been asked before if I have VIA graphics hardware on hand to work with. No, I haven't gone out of my way to obtain VIA graphics. While I have a couple... okay, several... sound cards based on Via Envy's chip, the graphics cards were never worth picking up. However, if VIA follows through on supporting Open-Licensed software, I might be needing a Chrome card afterall.

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