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XFree Developer Says Trident To Close Chipset Documentation, Company Denies Claim

Aug 31, 2001, 08:48 (12 Talkback[s])

[ Editor's Note: Egbert Eich has written a message clarifying this story, which may be read at http://linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2001-08-31-011-20-NW-CY-SW ]

In a message to the XFree86 Xpert mailing list, Egbert Eich announced that chipmaker Trident is halting its practice of sharing chipset documentation for X driver development:

From: Egbert Eich 
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 13:34:54 +0200 (MEST)
Subject: Trident changes policy providing documentation to open source

We have just learned that Trident Microsystems, Inc. has changed 
their policy of providing chipset documentation to open source 

So far it was possible to obtain this under an NDA which allowed 
us to publicly distribute our source code.

Starting with the CyberBladeXP chipset Trident does no longer 
allow this.
Therefore support for new Trident Chipsets will be very limited.

Their chipsets have been quite popular in portable systems like 
notebooks and have been widely used as on-board chipsets in low 
cost desktop computers.

For the CyberBladeXP this means that the chip is only supported 
unaccelerated by the XFree86 Trident driver as the acceleration 
functions are incompatible to those found in previous chipsets.

In the future we may not be able to support new Trident chipsets
at all.

If you would like to join our efforts to convince Trident to revise
this policy you may send email to:


However, Le T Nguyen, Trident's Product Marketing Vice President, sent a message to the editors of this site, Eric Raymond, Slashdot Editor Rob Malda, the webmaster at XFree86.org, and Egbert Eich, saying nothing has changed in terms of the company's relationship with open source projects. The letter appears to indicate that while Trident will continue to require developers to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), it will continue to provide documentation to its chipsets:

"On behalf of Trident Microsystems, I would like to state on the record that Trident has not changed our policy of providing chipset documentation to open source projects. Trident however continues to require an NDA to be signed in order to gain access to such confidential technical information.

Please be advised accordingly."

Though the issue, if it ever existed, appears to be resolved, LinuxToday will follow up if more information becomes available.