April 03, 2008 -- In the first Nouveau Companion this spring, the free software developers reverse-engineering the NVIDIA Linux driver have provided a new status update. Most of the progress recently made to this open-source X.Org driver is for the NV50 GPUs found on the GeForce 8 and 9 series. There is a new test program for directly communicating with NV50 processors and that these newer graphics cards have reached the milestone of being able to render an object with this driver. Approaching soon is supporting the TTM memory manager with Nouveau. The open-source Nouveau developers are hoping to get some Google Summer of Code students working on XvMC support and suspend-and-resume along with a simple Gallium3D backend for the NVIDIA NV2x ASICs.
March 20, 2008 -- In the thirty-seventh edition of the Nouveau Companion, the topics covered largely come down to Gallium3D, the status of the Nouveau driver for each of the NVIDIA product families (primarily the GeForce 8 series), and of interest is that RandR 1.2 should soon be enabled by default for this reverse-engineered open-source 2D/3D NVIDIA driver. The Nouveau developers are working on Gallium3D extensively and recent David Airlie had tried the Nouveau Gallium3D driver for PowerPC, but there is a problem with depth buffers. The GeForce 8 (NV50) status is continuing to improve but there's still work to be done, as these GPUs have no NV40 compatibility mode. Read the rest in this edition of the Nouveau Companion.
March 20, 2008 -- Coming just a day after AMD had opened up their production microcode from their proprietary drivers for the R100 to R600 GPUs, a significant milestone has been reached in the road to open-source 3D graphics capabilities for the Radeon X1000 (R500) series. We now have hardware-accelerated glxgears!
March 19, 2008 -- In the next step towards open-source 3D support for the R500 and R600 GPUs (Radeon X1000 and Radeon HD 2000/3000), AMD has just pushed its production microcode into the Mesa/DRM git tree. This is the microcode found in the fglrx driver and it covers the Radeon R100 to R600 product families.
March 19, 2008 -- For Linux distribution vendors, right now is proving to be an awkward time for them as they decide which ATI driver will ship as the default choice in their spring distribution refresh. The problem used to be whether to ship a binary-only driver in the distribution in order to provide "out of the box" support for all available graphics hardware, but on the ATI/AMD side the software distributors are now facing the challenge of which open-source driver they should call the de facto standard. In this article we are briefly looking at the matter of the xf86-video-ati vs. xf86-video-radeonhd drivers, the highly political issue of AtomBIOS, and what some of the popular Linux distributions are deciding to use this spring.
March 14, 2008 -- Last month right before FOSDEM 2008, the 3D programming documentation for the R500 GPUs (Radeon X1000) series was released. This documentation consisted of a register reference guide for the R500 GPUs as well as a programming guide covering such areas as the command processor, vertex shaders, and fragment shaders. While the register reference guide for the R600 series is still being worked on, for those with older ATI graphics processors, AMD has went back and created a register reference guide for the R300 series.
March 12, 2008 -- Following a period of relative inactivity in the xf86-video-radeonhd git tree over the past few weeks, this afternoon Novell's Egbert Eich had pushed forward 55 changes to this open-source R500/600 driver. The AMD Radeon HD 3400 and 3600 series are now supported and there are a number of other significant changes. The RV620/635 mode-setting support has required the most significant work since the R500 series, since all output blocks have been altered due to the introduced DisplayPort capabilities. We have already tested out this latest code and were left with a positive impression.
March 07, 2008 -- On the same day as the limited open-source support arriving in the xf86-video-nv driver, NVIDIA's binary display driver for Linux has been updated to officially add support for the GeForce 9600GT graphics card. This new driver update is version 171.06 (Beta) and its only change is the added 9600GT support, but that's compared to the 171.05 driver that was targeted specifically for the Tesla S870.
March 05, 2008 -- Last month with the Catalyst 8.02 Linux driver we mentioned just how low on the end-user changes the fglrx driver has been in recent months, and today the Catalyst 8.3 Linux driver has been released with the release train slowly chugging along. The only new feature in this month's proprietary Linux driver is X-Video support for the Xpress 1200 hardware, but there are a few bug fixes that may satisfy some Linux users.
March 05, 2008 -- With FOSDEM 2008 taking place about two weeks ago, the 36th edition of the Nouveau Companion contains a special feature with FOSDEM-Nouveau coverage as well as in-depth thoughts from the developers that had attended this Linux conference in Brussels. Also covered in this development newsletter is new Gallium3D progress in their mainline Nouveau branch, MMioTrace is still planned for the Linux 2.6.26 kernel, and more RandR 1.2 improvements within this free software NVIDIA driver.