Posted by: Anonymous
on September 07, 2007 05:12 PM
The company I work for build a piece of hardware with 9 (8 bit) interface registers, documented it, and sent it to a customer along with schematics. The customer still asked a billion questions.
There were things with names that made sense to us but confused the customer's programmers based on regional and language differences. Some questions I had when I started working on the project were quickly answered verbally but never documented until the customer asked them. And there was the simple fact that I dug through the firmware code for our device and the specs for the processor used on it, but they just had an interface document.
AMD/ATi said that they don't own all the code in their drivers, and their specs probably have comments in them that say things like "register X is to be used by the Y routine as Z" where the Y routine is not owned by ATi. When a company develops versions of products like graphics processors for as long as they have you get leakage from the software levels back up into the hardware design and documentation. And ATi can't risk putting too many hints at the design of the code that they don't own without risking being sued by that code's owners. It's harder than it seems like it should be.