For the past two months, the AMD release train has been running full speed ahead as they introduced their new driver code-base and last month had dropped in the AIGLX support. However, this month the AMD train has taken an intermediate stop as this closed-source driver embarks on its next journey. As always, we have all of the details for you on this month's ATI Catalyst 7.11 Linux display driver release.
The first thing you are probably wondering is the version change... AMD has moved their version numbering convention from 8.xx.xx to one similar to their Windows Catalyst driver. Rather than going with 8.43.x, this month's driver is known as Catalyst 7.11 (the 7 signifies the year and 11 for the month). There is also a new numbering system internally, but now is finally starting to change for the public releases. The X.Org logs and other locations will still utilize the previous numbering system, but eventually they will all be following a Catalyst x.xx or x.xxx scheme.
The most noteworthy change in the Catalyst 7.11 driver release is the Linux 2.6.23 kernel support. The Linux 2.6.23 kernel was released last month but it didn't make it into last month's development schedule. It has also been reported that this release will work with the Linux 2.6.24 kernel.
The new RV-670 based graphics cards, the ATI Radeon HD 3850 and Radeon HD 3870, should also be supported by today's driver release. More information on the Radeon HD 3800 series is available in this news post.
This driver release does introduce support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1, with the RHEL packaging scripts being officially maintained by AMD. Also updated was support for Red Flag DT 6.0. On the topic of distribution packaging scripts, be sure to check out our announcement regarding Phorogit. The notable fixes making up this release include resolving 2D corruption problems on the RS690/RS740 chipsets and XCB related bugs to an address an AMD Catalyst Control Center issue.
The Catalyst 7.11 release was supposed to introduce support on the driver's new code-base for the ATI FireGL graphics processors, however, that has been delayed once again. We have been told that the Catalyst 7.12 release in December will officially support these workstation GPUs. For the record, the last Linux driver release that AMD officially recommends for the FireGL series is the 8.35.5 driver, which was released in March. The fglrx 8.43 driver also marks the end of life for the Linux 2.4 kernel and XFree86 4.3.
That about wraps up the changes for the Catalyst 7.11 display driver. If you have been running into issues with the new Linux driver code-base, be sure to try out Catalyst 7.11 as, of course, it does contain some other changes as well. As we mentioned at the start of this article, the Catalyst 7.11 driver release is more about preparing for new work that will be introduced into the ATI/AMD Linux display driver in the near future.