Current instance: 11 December 2018
Graphics and Compute walking the walk to freedom
Graphics and Compute Freedom Day (GCFD) is the international day to raise awareness and celebrate expansion of openness in graphics and compute hardware and software. On this day, people around the world come together to run local events that let the public know about freedom of graphics, video, computation, and related topics. We are gamers, programmers, movie producers, hardware hackers, and enthusiasts of all kinds.
Join our movement by attending an event near you, help spreading the word or other ways of how to get involved. If there is no event near you, you can start one.
Why open source in graphical computing
Mainly, practical reasons. An extensive amount of software works together every day to answer our daily needs. Manufacturers need to have access to the underlying code, so that they can optimize performance.
Secondly, there is a limit to how much manufacturers can optimize their products. Sometimes, a user’s programs require custom configuration of hardware. That is possible and achievable (ableit with a non-trivial effort) if we have the needed code to configure.
Lastly, there is the knowledge that we are completely in control of program execution as well as our own computers. Whenever needed, we are able to modify and adjust computers to our needs. That can only be achieved with combined effort of manufacturers (such as AMD) and users.
This event is held each year on Tuesday in the third week of December. On Tuesday, December 15th, 2015 a company named AMD took a stand for openness of graphics and compute by choosing to base its Linux gaming and high performance computing strategy on the open source software. We have seen AMD in collaboration with the open source communities deliver the stable and performant open source software. And this is just the beginning.
Other hardware companies such as Intel have had the open source drivers for many years. There are also cases, such as NVIDIA GPUs, where the community stepped up to provide an open source driver where the company failed to do so.
Ultimately, we would like to see the open source applications running on the open source drivers driving the open hardware. While this might be a many decades in the making, we choose to start this journey now.
How to help the movement
As Peter Thiel noted: “Unlike the world of politics, in the world of technology the choices of individuals may still be paramount.” Support the manufacturers who provide open drivers, help them with testing and code contributions. Over time, the open source drivers will outperform the proprietary drivers.