Once again, it is the time of the month when new ATI display drivers are presented and it's now the task of Phoronix to evaluate this latest package. Over the past several months, we have seen a horde of improvements reach the proprietary drivers from the Radeon X1000 support earlier this year to X.Org 7.1 support. Other recent changes include a combined i386/x86_64 installer, new distribution packaging support, Radeon X1000 TV-out support, ATI Events Daemon, dynamic displays, and many aticonfig changes. Today with the release of the 8.29.6 fglrx drivers there have not been many changes that affect the end-user, but still there are some items worth mentioning. After several drivers of heated changes, it looks as if we have now reached a slowdown in their development cycle as ATI prepares for the next arsenal of features and fixes. Hitting this month's 8.29.6 driver is Linux 2.6.18 support, removal of R200 product support, and a few resolved issues.
First and foremost, Radeon R200 support has been completely removed from the fglrx display drivers. Earlier this year R200 users experienced the OpenGL API entry point issue; a month later was the official removal of this support from the Windows Catalyst display drivers. Finally, with the 8.29.6 drivers it is time that we say a final farewell to this R200 support. The rationale behind this move was to spend more resources on increasing the stability and features for the drivers with post R200 hardware. The hardware officially dropped includes the FireGL 8800/9200, Radeon 8500/9000/9100/9200/9250, and Mobility Radeon 9000/9200. With R200 class hardware having had reliable open-source drivers for some time, we would not expect ATI to follow NVIDIA in a similar fashion of releasing "legacy drivers." NVIDIA had dropped its driver support for the Riva TNT/TNT2, Vanta, and lower-end Quadro/GeForce products from their official driver but they continue to push out legacy drivers in order to support newer Linux kernels and X11 releases, as well as addressing a few bugs. The R200 support will, however, exist in a development branch so there is the potential of having occasional R200-supportive releases.
The ATI 8.29.6 driver also officially supports the Linux 2.6.18 kernel. Some of the issues resolved in this release include bugs #170072 and #169670. X windows should now refresh correctly after being in full-screen mode. The screen should also remain in LCD state (instead of switching to CRT) after re-docking from a previously connected CRT+DVI connection. Another resolved issue is correcting the problem with the display failing to refresh properly once exiting Unreal Tournament 2004 after changing the in-game resolution. Finally, the UGS-04 test in SPECViewPerf should properly run without the operating system failing to respond.
ATI encourages Cedega users to update to the 8.29.6 driver to get around issues with some games. Cedega 5.2.5 (Spearfish) includes a work-around for improved compatibility with games when using the ATI fglrx drivers. The ATIFGLRXDRI and BadValue errors should now be resolved when using the latest version of Cedega. It is recommended that the users also upgrade to these latest ATI drivers. What has yet to reach the driver is GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap support to properly use AIGLX. One of the known issues that remain is X.Org v7.1 being unable to play any video using X-Video with Avivo. X-Video also continues to create a segmentation fault on x86_64 systems on X.Org 6.9+ systems.