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Dissecting The ATI/AMD Linux Driver

Michael Larabel

Published on 27 July 2007
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 4 - 4 Comments

If you have been reading our ATI/AMD Linux display driver reviews for some time, you will know that there are periods where it doesn't look like the fglrx driver is actively being worked on, but in fact changes are being made "under the hood". We are going through one of these droughts right now where not many new features or bug fixes are being introduced, though a lot of work is going on internally. We have decided to dissect the last 19 months of driver releases from ATI/AMD to expose some interesting facts and what should be coming in the future.

With the past 19 fglrx driver releases we had recorded the package file size, number of strings in the fglrx_drv.o driver for X.Org 6.8 (x680), number of strings in the fglrx_drv.so for X.Org 7.x (x710), and the file-size of the firegl_public.c file. The drivers we had used were versions 8.21.7, 8.22.5, 8.23.7, 8.24.8, 8.25.18, 8.26.18, 8.27.10, 8.28.8, 8.29.6, 8.30.3, 8.31.5, 8.32.5, 8.33.6, 8.34.8, 8.35.5, 8.36.5, 8.37.6, 8.38.6, and 8.39.4.

Over the course of the past 19 driver releases, the file-size of the downloadable fglrx driver has varied quite a bit. The fglrx 8.21.7 driver started out at roughly 35MB and then in the 8.28.8 release had exploded to over 50MB. This growth is attributed to the x86 and x86_64 drivers being combined into a single downloadable package instead of separate 32-bit and 64-bit builds. The 8.26.18 and 8.27.10 drivers dipped below 30MB in size. The most recent driver (8.39.4) had dropped about 13MB as it had removed the outdated fireglcontrolpanel.

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