AMD 8.39.4 Display Driver
Last month was an interesting time for AMD and their ATI Linux display driver. The Radeon HD 2400 and 2600 series were introduced, but as we have unfortunately come to expect, there was not a supported R600 driver that day or even that month. In fact, there still is no Linux driver to support any graphics card in the R600 series. Though making the month unique were two display drivers being released in the same week. The 8.38.6 driver had introduced Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 support as well as some minor fixes, but nothing to spark interest in the minds of end-users. The second Linux driver released, 8.38.7, had come down the pipeline as a hot-fix release to correct a bug where aticonfig would crash and remove your xorg.conf. Moving forward to the 8.39.4 driver released today, we still have no AIGLX or R600 support, but we do have Fedora 7 support!
While the 8.37.6 fglrx driver had introduced X server 1.3 support, Fedora 7 hadn't worked with the fglrx driver up to this point unless downgrading the X server. However, the fglrx 8.39.4 driver has corrected this issue with Fedora 7 and now once generating the RPMs using the --buildpkg Fedora/F7 argument, everything should be in working order. In the event you experience any hardships between the ATI display driver and Fedora 7, be sure to stop by the Phoronix Forums.
Aside from the Fedora 7 support, there isn't much to report on the 8.39.4 driver. The 8.39.4 driver happens to be several megabytes smaller than the previous releases, which is attributed to removing the outdated fireglcontrolpanel (replaced by the AMDCCCLE) and some minor alterations. This driver also contains a video playback fix where TexturedVideo had previously not functioned as glesx.so was unable to load. Also fixed was a TexturedVideo color issue. The AMD Catalyst Control Center Linux Edition has also been updated to version 1.2 in this release, though no new features were introduced. The fglrx 8.39.4 driver also has official support for the Linux 2.6.22 kernel.
In the traditional Phoronix fashion of going beyond just talking about the release notes, a new file has been introduced in fglrx 8.39.4. An XML file (atiogl.xml) has been added that contains a number of profiles for various workstation applications and games -- such as 3D Studio Max, AutoCAD, Quake 4, and Doom 3. This file has been in the Windows Catalyst driver for many months, but the 8.39.4 release is the first where it's found in the Linux driver. Each entry references a profile name and each profile name has an entry that contains values for OpenGLCaps and OpenGLCapsEx. AMD hasn't provided any statement on the introduction of the atiogl.xml file for Linux and it doesn't appear to be clear from the Microsoft Windows driver how exactly it's used. With this XML file containing information on OpenGL profiles for specific applications and games, we can only speculate that AMD is working on application-specific performance profiles for possible integration with the AMD Catalyst Control Center under Linux. While there is not even official R600 support yet, the first bits of code for the (yet to be announced) AMD R700 series appear to be present in the 8.39.4 driver. In the fglrx driver are strings that include Cail_RV770_SetupASIC, dwRV770_RLC_Ucode, and CAIL_DDI_CAPS_RV770_A11.
The 8.39.4 driver had more to report on than the combined 8.38.6 and 8.38.7 drivers last month, but the fglrx driver still is in a recess for any new features. As was shared in The State of ATI Linux 2007 and other Phoronix articles later this year AMD should have something very special up its sleeve where Compiz Fusion on the Radeon HD 2000 series will hopefully be possible in between rounds of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. Whether you're seeking technical support or would like to share your thoughts on the fglrx driver, be sure to stop by the Phoronix Forums.
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