AMD 8.41 Display Driver Preview
Where's AIGLX? Well, unfortunately due to delays later in their development cycle for the 8.41 driver, AIGLX was pushed out of this month's development and release cycle. The AIGLX support will, however, arrive next month with the fglrx 8.42 driver.
The fglrx 8.41 driver is focused primarily for the R600 series and the 8.42 driver will contain additional fixes and optimizations for the older generation of ATI graphics processors. While the 8.41 release is designed for the R600 series, in our tests with the R300 through R500 series the driver has worked out quite well. There have been some corruption issues and other minor problems but nothing severe.
A number of packaging scripts had to be updated for this release including Fedora. The basis of the Fedora 8 support is now in the fglrx 8.41 driver; however, no Linux 2.6.23 patch has been included with the scripts. Therefore, in order to use Fedora 8 with fglrx 8.41 you must either compile an older kernel or use one of the patches available elsewhere. Proper support for Fedora 8 should arrive next month with Linux 2.6.23 support.
With the past few maintenance releases there has been readers in the Phoronix Forums coming up with various names and phrases to vent their frustration with the old fglrx driver. So what are we calling the fglrx 8.41 driver? This release has been codenamed "Oktoberfest" for the festival taking place later this month in Munich, Germany. Oktoberfest is known for its celebrations and parties (it is the world's largest fair) and with all of the good things introduced in this driver and what AMD's next announcement is all about, the name was well deserved. The 8.41 driver is also the "Holy Crap!" edition if you so desire.
This driver has been in development since last year, but with AMD simultaneously having to maintain the existing fglrx driver and continuing with monthly releases, this new driver took quite a bit of time to develop. The fglrx 8.41 driver finally outperforms the NVIDIA binary driver when it comes to the frame-rate and the Radeon HD 2000 support is long overdue. However, the latest work by the ATI Graphics Products Group shows AMD's serious dedication to the long-term support of its customers and the Linux platform. We were even blown away by the performance gains during testing! These improvements dramatically increase the vitality of the ATI Linux experience.
The fglrx 8.41 driver is not available to the public today, but it should be made available at AMD's website within the next week. AMD was gracious enough to let Phoronix publish these results today. Also keep in mind that the fglrx 8.41 driver is designed for the R600 series and that there may be a few bugs initially for older ATI hardware. In the near future will also be a workstation driver release based upon this new driver, but in the mean time FireGL owners will want to stick to the fglrx 8.40 driver.
All of this is very exciting news and goes to show the expedited rate at which AMD is listening to the Linux community and is taking serious effort into enhancing the state of ATI Linux, and the Linux desktop experience in general. You can expect many more articles in the coming days and weeks. Be sure to share your thoughts in the Phoronix Forums.
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