If the X-Video movie playback bug with x86_64 Linux previously affected you, fear no more! Introducing the AMD fglrx 8.34.8 Linux display driver corrects this long-standing issue. There have also been a few bugs corrected in 8.34.8 along with official Radeon Xpress X1250 support, but other than that, this month serves as more of a maintenance release.
For nearly a year now ATI/AMD users have been plagued by crashes when attempting to play video on 64-bit Linux using the X-Video extension on X.Org 6.9+ systems. The only workarounds were switching to 32-bit Linux or using a different video extension, but fortunately this bug has been resolved with fglrx 8.34.8. We have tested this and X-Video has now worked properly.
This month and last, there has been slurry of slides from a variety of websites showing that a Catalyst Control Center / fireglcontrolpanel replacement is being developed by AMD. The fglrx 8.34.8 driver does NOT introduce a new Linux Catalyst Control Center, but as brought up in the slides, a new replacement should be available this calendar year. The fireglcontrolpanel has been one of the long-standing complaints about the fglrx drivers and seeing a replacement should certainly turn some heads. When this event does come out into the public spotlight, we will be sure to provide all of the details.
Some of the other changes in this release include video overlay shifts in Big Desktop mode on pre-X1000 GPUs, system hang when leaving hibernation mode, aticonfig--dtop fix, and un-installation of the Red Hat Linux driver RPM will remove the fglrx and ati folders. X.Org 7.2 had finally shipped last week with a host of changes that improves the stability, auto-configuration options, enhanced Compiz/Beryl support, and other improvements. As a reminder, the past two AMD fglrx drivers have supported X11R72. However, the fglrx drivers without the use of XGL do still not support Compiz or Beryl. Nor will this support be here for likely at least a few months.
Another change with the fglrx 8.34.8 display driver is preliminary support for Fedora 7. The packaging scripts have been updated and have worked with Fedora 7 Test 1 and Rawhide tested to the middle of February. The fglrx 8.34.8 driver should continue to work with Fedora 7 Test 2 upon its release. Additional tweaks will come in the following fglrx driver releases to ensure proper support in time for Fedora 7 this May. More information about the AMD fglrx drivers on Fedora 7 can be found in the Phoronix Forums.
For the past few releases we have also been spotting changes "under the hood" with the firegl_public code. Well, compared against the 8.33.6 release, in 8.34.8 are over 1200 lines of fresh new code! This is nice to see, but unfortunately, most of the magic we are looking for resides in the closed-source portion. The fglrx 8.34.8 also has not adopted the changes needed for the Linux 2.6.20 Kernel. However, many distribution packages (including Fedora) have adopted a patch to temporarily enable this support.