back to article HDMI Forum 'blocks AMD open sourcing its 2.1 drivers'

AMD says it has improved its FOSS display drivers for Linux, though the organization that controls the HDMI standard won't let it release them. As spotted by Linux benchmarking outfit Phoronix, AMD is having problems releasing certain versions of open-source drivers it's developed for its GPUs – because, according to the Ryzen …

  1. cyberdemon Silver badge
    Devil

    DisplayPort works

    As the Bootnote noted, DisplayPort is the better standard anyway..

    All the HDMI Forum have done is prove once and for all that HDMI is dead.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: HDMI is dead

      And that is all it deserves.

      The content nazis can go fuck themselves.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: HDMI is dead

        I was cursing the DP ports on my new monitors, not understanding why we needed a new standard.

        Now I understand - DP for me in future.

        1. Michael Strorm Silver badge
          Trollface

          More fun out-of-context...

          > "DP for me in future"

          Fnar fnar!

    2. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: DisplayPort works

      I really wish the world would just standardize on DP. It can do basically everything HDMI can do, and more, because HDMI 2.1 is up to roughly DP 1.4 in terms of bandwidth, with DP 2.0 already out. It'll never happen of course, because Sony is a major vendor and is not shy about pushing its own proprietary tech. For every one that "wins" (BD) there's usually two or three that fail (memory siick duo, UMD, etc).

      I just hope the HDMI forum doesn't copy the USB group and start making it next to impossible to tell what version something supports.

      1. Joe W Silver badge

        Re: DisplayPort works

        I found USB to generally tell you that,mostly...

        1. Jon 37

          Re: DisplayPort works

          There are several USB speeds. Up to USB 3.0, they were:

          * "USB 1.0" or "Low-Speed": 1.5 Mbps.

          * "USB 1.1" or "Full-Speed": 12 Mbps.

          * "USB 2.0" or "Hi-Speed": 480 Mbps.

          * "USB 3.0" or "SuperSpeed": 5 Gbps.

          Note that "USB 3.0" is ambiguous, since all the above comply with the USB 3.0 specification. So shady marketers would advertise computers with "USB 3.0 Hi-Speed" ports, which is technically correct, but you're only getting USB 2.0 speeds. Even shadier marketers would advertise those ports as "USB 3.0", which is again technically correct but misleading.

          Similarly with "USB 2.0 Full Speed" ports that were advertised as such, or as "USB 2.0" ports.

          I'm not even going to go into the mess that is USB 3.1 and newer speed naming. But, it is much worse.

          1. aerogems Silver badge

            Re: DisplayPort works

            I'm not even going to go into the mess that is USB 3.1 and newer speed naming. But, it is much worse.

            I was all set to reply with something like, "now do everything after 3.0" but then I see that. Ruin all my fun, why don't you!

      2. Proton_badger

        Re: DisplayPort works

        Let's not forget Betamax, which Sony only licensed out for absurdly high fees, while JVC gave away the VHS standard to everyone. It's wasn't porn that killed Betamax, it was Sony itself.

  2. Andy Non Silver badge

    Does AMD

    have to go through HDMI forums to release its drivers? Can't it just make them available via a different source?

    1. hayzoos

      Re: Does AMD

      I'm too lazy to go look it up, but my guess is HDMI 2.1 is not an open standard in the same sense which would be compatible with AMD open sourcing it's drivers. In other words HDMI Forum wants it's fees and that might be in jeopardy if AMD open sources it's drivers.

      1. Ozan

        Re: Does AMD

        Without looking it up, I would add patents as well.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Does AMD

          I could see an awful but enforceable patent on HDMI cables - but related software? Is that enforceable?

      2. Falmari Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Does AMD

        HDMI 2.1 is not an open standard the HDMI Forum have not made it's specifications public. https://www.phoronix.com/news/HDMI-Closed-Spec-Hurts-Open

        But it seems that was not always the case, the quote below suggests earlier HDMI specifications were made public. This feels like a bait and switch, get hardware makers to adopt HDMI by publicly publishing the HDMI specifications. Then when HDMI becomes the default/dominant* connector close future releases of the standard by not making the specifications public.

        "With the HDMI specification no longer being public but only to "HDMI Adopters" is complicating the open-source GPU driver support. "

        *HDMI seems to have become the default for GPUs, Monitors and TVs.

        1. Jon 37

          Re: Does AMD

          HDMI has become the default for TVs. But DisplayPort is in the lead in the computers market. Most high end graphics cards and monitors support both.

          1. Falmari Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Does AMD

            @Jon 37 "HDMI has become the default for TVs. But DisplayPort is in the lead in the computers market. Most high end graphics cards and monitors support both."

            I agree, I got it wrong in my last line about Monitors and GPUs. :)

            While high end graphics cards and monitors support both, with graphics cards it's usually 1 x HDMI and 2 or 3 x DisplayPort and with monitors it's the reverse 1 x DisplayPort and 2 x HDMI.

          2. Michael Duke

            Re: Does AMD

            In fact most graphics cards have MULTIPLE DP ports and only one HDMI in-case you are connecting to a TV.

        2. Spazturtle Silver badge

          Re: Does AMD

          Earlier HDMI was just DVI with a custom connector.

          HDMI 2.0 and onwards are a completely different spec, packet based like DisplayPort.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Does AMD

      > different source?

      Unofficial GitHub project, wikileaks, unsecured cloud server…?

      Otherwise some Chinese website could release them…

    3. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: Does AMD

      If AMD wants to be able to keep licensing HDMI specs for it's video cards going forward, and not be sued in the process... yes.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Does AMD

        Yes. I suspect that AMD very much wants to be able to write HDMI on the side of the box.

        But I also suspect that if e.g. they made a displayport output which just happened to go through a HDMI-style connector and claimed 'compatibility' they'd probably be fine: isn't this what the Raspberry Pi does?

        (I am not an expert at video at those sorts of resolutions - and how that applies to the higher resolutions I don't have the faintest idea.)

        1. aerogems Silver badge

          Re: Does AMD

          As TFA points, out, it's more than just a port a cable plugs into. There's HDCP, for example, which attempts to create an encrypted connection across all devices. If just one of them isn't compliant, compliant devices lock out a lot of functionality. The RPi probably isn't many people's primary computer, so the limitations aren't likely a big deal, but try telling a bunch of people who just paid $400US for a new shiny AMD video card and being told they can't watch Netflix at more than 720p with it, or some games may not work, because there's no HDCP support. Just think of the entitled twattery you've seen exhibited by people in other areas and you've got a good rough idea.

  3. Kurgan

    This is the result of DRM

    This is what happens when DRM comes into play.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: This is the result of DRM

      Sounds like a good reason to ditch HDMI where possible.

    2. mostly average

      Re: This is the result of DRM

      Yep. The AMD drivers probably don't even support HDCP anyway. Besides, pirating media via HDMI capture is too much work and too slow.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Wel, given that that is exactly what it was meant to do, then it's a success, isn't it ?

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          It is a success if there is no better solution, HDMI capture does not work, so people have stopped doing it. It is not a success if HDMI capture works, but other methods are faster, so people use them instead. It kind of sounds like the latter is what is happening. Since I have an HDMI capture system, though I don't use it to pirate things, I'm guessing it's not so hard to use that method if you decide you are going to.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Confused...Again!!

    My laptops (plural) all have HDMI ports.

    My TVs and flat screen monitors all have HDMI ports.

    I've got multiple HDMI-to-HDMI cables (see above).

    Please explain what would make me use ANYTHING ELSE...................

    1. Joe W Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Confused...Again!!

      My Laptops (plural!) don't

      Please explain why I should use HDMI....

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: Confused...Again!!

        because all *consumer* video hardware supports it.

        DisplayPort is computer hardware only, or those hardware that choose to support it.

        You can do HDMI from your Blu-ray...to your AV receiver...to your 80-inch television. No problem.

        1. Yorick Hunt Silver badge

          Re: Confused...Again!!

          People still use BluRay in 2024?!

          Stick your media on a NAS and stream it; no fear of scratches, no fear of your toddler feeding toast into the disc slot.

          1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

            Re: Confused...Again!!

            How do you get the media onto your NAS? I mean, in the old days I could read Basic off a punch tape, but these days I don't think my eyes are good enough to read a Blu-ray disk or DVD.

            1. aerogems Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: Confused...Again!!

              There are few problems in life that can't be solved with a liberal application of force from a hammer.

          2. Snake Silver badge

            Re: media on NAS

            Originally I believed in that as well, ripping source to NAS.

            Then I wised up.

            Why? Why spend the money to buy the Blu-ray or DVD source and then spend again for the [double] storage space inside your home to store a copy? Why spend the time to rip as if you'll re-watch that movie endlessly, when simply grabbing that source disc will probably be conveniently nearby anyway?

            OF COURSE this doesn't apply if you wish to replay on your mobile device. Then you MUST rip.

            But I don't do that. So the effort ended up redundant and wasteful, popping in the source disc was an overall time saver.

            1. aerogems Silver badge

              Re: media on NAS

              But... can you really put a price on not having to get off your fat ass to chance discs every time you want to watch a movie/show?

              1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

                Re: media on NAS

                My fat ass has to climb into the loft, find the correct folder (I'm currently populating folder 8 - they hold ~400 discs), then flip through it to find the DVD I want while crouching on the joists and holding a torch. It would be a right royal pain. I also watch films on iPad when I'm away, so they're going to get ripped anyway.

            2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

              Re: media on NAS [Ripping Backups]

              As someone who has bought DVDs of shows, only to later have some of those discs go bad and unrecoverable, I believe in ripping. I can't buy a replacement copy of the bad DVDs, because the shows are now no-longer published!

              1. jmch Silver badge

                Re: media on NAS [Ripping Backups]

                Absolutely this. Discs don't last forever, even under normal circumstances. Digital copies aren't guaranteed to last either, but can be backed up, even offsite if necessary, moved from device to device and so on. And it has already been established in case law* that backing up of one's own private copy is not infringing

                *might differ in other jurisdictions!!

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: media on NAS [Ripping Backups]

                  "Discs don't last forever, even under normal circumstances"

                  But... so what? Neither does anything physical. Books, records, paintings, papyrus scrolls... entropy gets everything in the end. When I'm 80, will I really care that the DVD of "Clerks" I bought 40 years before works or not? I have a feeling I will have other things to care about.

            3. T. F. M. Reader

              Re: media on NAS

              I am with you. I have a fairly large (and still growing) collection of CDs and at home I play them on a fairly good audio setup.

              But a modern car no longer has a CD player/changer, so I have no option (no, please do not suggest Spotify as a substitute) but to rip my CDs onto a USB drive to listen in the car. I do believe it is perfectly legal in my jurisdiction since I own the CDs in the first place. IANAL though.

              1. munnoch Bronze badge

                Re: media on NAS

                Back in the days of Napster etc. I figured that if I'd already paid for the content and had the original media "onsite" somewhere, cassette, LP, even CD, then I was perfectly within my rights to obtain a digital copy by whatever means was available.

              2. CountCadaver Silver badge

                Re: media on NAS

                I'd suggest tidal which has above cd quality bit rates and supports both mqa and FLAC

                £19.99 a month

                Amazon music/Apple Music both do higher than XD quality for around £10 a month

                1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

                  Re: media on NAS

                  Assuming you're replying to TFM Reader - I don't understand your post. Why would they want to pay 19.99 a month to listen to music they have already bought?

        2. Joe W Silver badge

          Re: Confused...Again!!

          We were talking about computer hardware, weren't we? I guess having open source drivers for your blue ray player is not really that important / widespread ....

  5. JamesTGrant

    I was amazed…

    The first time I came to use an HDMI cable was in an AV installation (I was working at an AV company installing systems in crumbling old churches, pubs, clubs, schools etc). I was amazed at how crap HDMI cables are compared with VGA cabling. Fragile connections, thick short runs no more than 10m (and even that was somewhat unreliable) and at a resolution and frame rate less than much cheaper, longer VGA cable runs. It took about 15years after ‘HD ready’ (ffs) was announced before I could get a computer monitor at the same resolution as a SXGA over (HDMI compared with my old (and very heavy) CRT monitor.)

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: I was amazed…

      I forgot about those issues... Thanks for bringing that up. I now need a beer to bury my earlier HDMI experiences... (I'm not saying DP is better, just my experience has been better and more reliable, and it is less of an egg-laying-wool-milk-pig - thanks to ze Tschermans and Tom Scott's Lateral Thinking podcast)

      1. K.o.R

        Re: I was amazed…

        The Wiki article for that has a delightful picture.

        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a7/Wollmilchsau.png

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: I was amazed…

      You are missing the other issue with HDMI cables: no version/edition label. I’ve yet to come across an HDMI cable that is unambiguously labelled, so when you come to pull a cable out of the reuse pile you can tell what variant of 4K it can support.

      1. Lennart Sorensen

        Re: I was amazed…

        They are explicitly not supposed to use HDMI version on cables because version does not imply the speed. They have names for each speed that cables are supposed to use and I know mine do, at least on the packaging, unfortunately not always on the cable itself.

    3. aerogems Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: I was amazed…

      But it does audio! Surely that makes everything better!

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: I was amazed…

        That was definitely an early advantage for HDMI (just one ,thin, cable between device and screen was a revelation when I first used one), but DisplayPort carries audio too.

  6. steelpillow Silver badge

    Always was crap

    I have always wondered why the connectors for HDMI are so crap - always wobbly needing careful attention, frequently bending/breaking or falling out. Seems the Forum has found another foot to shoot itself in.

    With USB C monitors available for all that TV/fillum streaming/downloads, who is still going to want an unreliable HDMI-only "home entertainment" dinosaur?

    1. cosmodrome

      Re: Always was crap

      There's nobody wanting to use it. There, however, is the content industry wanting you to use it so they can enforce DRM on you.

    2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: Always was crap

      With USB C monitors available for all that TV/fillum streaming/downloads, who is still going to want an unreliable HDM

      My laptop is only three years old and I connect to monitors and docks via its USB-C sockets. I'm now finding that two of the USB-C sockets are becoming unreliable as the strain placed on the tiny connectors is too great. I'm not rough with my equipment.

      1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

        Re: Always was crap

        I have to admit, I look at USB-C connectors and think they look "a bit fragile".

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Always was crap

      From my experience, USB-C connections are even less reliable that HDMI…

      1. CountCadaver Silver badge

        Re: Always was crap

        Yep I have a 4k webcam that only works if the usb c connector is inserted a particular way around, the other way makes it think it's connected to usb 2.0 and the resolution drops to 720p

  7. DS999 Silver badge

    This makes no sense

    I could understand them not wanting open source HDCP 2.3 code, but why are they blocking HDMI 2.1? Especially over 4Kp120 which is not used by any media (i.e. no one is broadcasting or streaming 4Kp120, 4Kp60 is the most you can get from anyone)

    For the most part this affects gamers, and they aren't using HDCP. There has to be more to this story, hopefully someone will be able to uncover it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @DS999 - Re: This makes no sense

      It's a matter of principle. In the eyes of the industry open source still equals piracy. The DeCSS saga humiliated and traumatized them.

  8. Fred Daggy Silver badge
    FAIL

    Open Standards

    Open Source is great, but it is Open Standards that enhance the exchange of information.

    The moment these pirates refuse to work with an Open Source group (that uses an OSI open source licence) they should lose both their tax-free status (they are often a non-profit) AND they should lose copyright and any intellectual property they rely on. This is pure discrimination.

    I understand if an organisation chooses to work with one person/business. I do not accept they work with “anyone, except you” (in this case the Open Source community).

    We have seen that “Security by Obscurity” is a dead concept, so no need to keep protocols secret. If you need to encrypt data, encrypt it before it is communicated.

    (Thinking out loud) Must submit a patch to the Emperor Penguin that shows a static image upon detecting equipment that supports the offending standard. “Equipment using this version has been disabled due to restrictions by HDMI forum. Please contact HDMI forum or your device manufacturer for details”.

    1. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: Open Standards

      You forget that the HDMI group is made up of a veritable who's who of asshole companies. There's Fox, which is working to bring about Rupert Murdoch's wet dream of replacing democracy with an authoritarian fascist system built on racism and nativism (especially rich given he's an Aussy). Then there's Sony which not only has its own content production arm, is also always keen to try to force its own proprietary tech on people. Sony's entertainment arm, as you may vaguely remember, was responsible for installing rootkits on people's PCs to try to prevent them from ripping CDs.

      https://www.theregister.com/2021/12/10/autorunning_away/

      Moving along, you have Disney also on the list. A company founded by an ardent antisemite, if there were a single company I'd say personifies Evil Inc, it's Disney. They're responsible for most of the ridiculous extensions to copyright durations in the US (and probably elsewhere) to make sure things like Mickey Mouse never wind up in the public domain. It's only just within the last month or two that the original "Steamboat Willy" version of Micky Mouse finally entered the public domain. While it's amusing to watch Disney duke it out with DeSantis down in Florida, it's important to remember that Disney isn't the good guy just because they happen to be doing the right thing in this one instance. Probably 99 times out of 100, Disney is giving money to the fascist assholes of the world to further their business interests, and when they're not doing that, they're probably suing a bunch of people for copyright infringement because they made a doodle with Mickey Mouse on it or something.

  9. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Another obsolete cable in the junk box

    HDMI has too many features that it doesn't do well at. There's power, Ethernet, audio, return audio, and remote control. You can assemble a home theater system with mid to high range components and be certain that HDMI interoperability is terrible. Now the HDMI forum is adding video to the list of things it can't do well.

    Goodbye, HDMI.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The 5$ random device is quite interesting, but limited to 4k @30Hz, a little bit far from the 120Hz of HDMI 2.1.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      > The 5$ random device is quite interesting, but limited to 4k @30Hz, a little bit far from the 120Hz of HDMI 2.1.

      Yup. I was not proposing this as a perfect answer, you understand, merely saying that:

      DP -> HDMI = easy

      HDMI -> DP = hard

      All I wanted was to drive an old HP 1080P monitor as a second display on my old Thinkpad T420, which has no HDMI socket. A DP-HDMI convertor was cheaper than buying a DisplayPort cable, and I have other DP cables anyway. Secondly, in future, that convertor could well be useful again.

      For retrocomputing stuff, where you're trying to upsample something like 320x256 to 1080P, then a Pi Pico powered framebuffer-scraper-and-resampler is enough.

  11. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    DisplayPort is better, but the consumer experience is mostly worse

    Fine if you're connecting one display device to one video source.

    Troublesome if you want to switch between devices - it's likely you'll be paying considerably more than an HDMI switcher, and have to use a KVM rather than just a switch. The amount of advice online will be somewhat lower than for HDMI.

    A pain if you want to run multiple monitors through one cable using DisplayPort MST. The tools for understanding the limitations of each MST hub in the signal path and what is actually happening to the signal appear generally non existent. Not to mention driver support can be distinctly variable.

    I do like the fact I have a working setup using USB-C and DisplayPort hubs to drive three monitors off a small number of cables, but a multi port HDMI switch was mostly an awful lot easier to source and set up.

    1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

      Re: DisplayPort is better, but the consumer experience is mostly worse

      That's a case of the tail having wagged the dog so much. Everything you describe is down to the HDMI camp having pushed it harder thanks to their vested interests, and I'd imagine having done some shenanigans behind the scenes as well. I don't know if HDCP can be done on DisplayPort, but if it can't then vested interests will have actively blocked many activities users might want to do - like just watching the disk they've just paid good money for. If that's the case, then (for example) DVD players aren't going to have DisplayPorts because they couldn't play most disks - hence HDMI becomes the primary options, TVs have to have HDMI in, so users expect HDMI out on everything (including laptops), and so DisplayPort becomes a low volume market (relative to HDMI). And with volume and ubiquity comes competition and economies of scale - hence why HDMI switches cost less than DisplayPort switches* and so on.

      * Actually, from memory when I was looking at options a couple of years ago, from the same manufacturers their DisplayPort switches didn't cost much more than their HDMI switches on a like for like basis. But while there seems to be a gazzilion manufacturers of HDMI switches, only the more "premium" manufacturers seem to make DisplayPort ones.

      1. RAMChYLD

        Re: DisplayPort is better, but the consumer experience is mostly worse

        I also see that the DisplayPort switches don’t support features like Adaptive Sync while the HDMI ones do. Also many of these switches are still stuck on DP 1.4 while having moved on to HDMI 2.0. Infuriating.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: DisplayPort is better, but the consumer experience is mostly worse

          I thought Displayport didn't need features like ActiveSync because it's inherently variable frame rate? It only sends data which has changed.

  12. mlorenzati

    Glad my project got mentioned here, but it's honest to share mentions to library developers

    The project https://github.com/mlorenzati/pico-rgb2hdmi aims to make an on-a-budget RGB2HDMI converter which uses a https://github.com/Wren6991/PicoDVI DVI renderer (not hdmi)

    I achieved as a test HDMI on https://github.com/mlorenzati/PicoDVI based on Wren6991 work and the RGB2HDMI is by default DVI to avoid any licensing issue, if you plan to use it on your own as HDMI you should be fine if you dont productize it (the HDMI licensing thingy)

    Thanks you shared it and best for you all

    Marce

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