For ATI Linux customers, last month was certainly a very exciting time from AMD announcing open specifications (and the subsequent delivery of the first batch and the creation of the RadeonHD driver) to the release of the fglrx 8.41 display driver. The AMD 8.41.7 driver was the first driver to be based upon AMD's new code-base and had not only delivered R600 support for the Radeon HD 2900XT, but clear performance improvements across the board from the R300 to the R500. However, this 8.41.7 driver was not well received by all. AMD had intended this driver to be targeted solely for the R600 customers, but many with older GPUs had immediately upgraded with some then having a foul experience.
Today it's now time where the fglrx driver reaches yet another milestone. Not only does today's release address many of the outstanding bugs for the earlier GPU generations while also introducing a few new features, but it also delivers AIGLX support! Yes, you read that right. You can finally run your ATI graphics card with the fglrx driver and run Compiz, Beryl, or Compiz Fusion without using XGL! This is coming 13 months after NVIDIA had introduced its AIGLX support, but now just days after the release of Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon it's here for ATI hardware. Granted, if you were using an older ATI GPU with the open-source Radeon driver, you could have been benefiting from AIGLX already.
In addition to the AIGLX support, the fglrx 8.42.3 driver includes X.Org server 1.4 support, video playback improvements, more performance improvements, and Rialto AGP fixes. While this driver quite promptly supports X.Org 7.3 / X server 1.4, it does not contain Linux 2.6.23 kernel support. The Linux 2.6.23 support isn't found in fglrx 8.42.3 due to issues with x86_64 support. However, we do expect that fglrx 8.43 will contain the Linux 2.6.23 kernel support.
The video playback improvements consist of a fix in TexturedVideo playback, which should result in smoother video playback. Though if you do continue running into TexturedVideo (X-Video) playback problems, be sure to report them in the Phoronix Forums. Likewise, the AGP (Rialto bridge) problem should be resolved, but report it if you're continuing to run into problems.
This release is tested for all ATI Radeon GPU products from the R300 to R600 series. This does not include support for the FireGL series, but the workstation compatibility will be introduced next month in fglrx 8.43.