AMD Catalyst 8.6 Linux Driver
In AMD's usual fashion, this afternoon they have announced the release of new display drivers for both Linux and Windows. The Catalyst 8.6 release for Linux introduces a few bug fixes, version 2.0 of their driver installation API, and a few unannounced features are present. As always, we have the run-down for you on this month's changes.
Starting with the fixes for Catalyst 8.6 / fglrx 8.50 there are just a couple. The Linux fixes address corruption issues with full-screen OpenGL games, the system no longer hanging when logging-out with AIGLX enabled, a partially black screen after switching monitors on the RS780 / Radeon HD 3200, corruption in second server generation with some ASICs, X server crash while launching the AMD Catalyst Control Center on RHEL-4 x86_64 with a Radeon R520GL, and lastly is vsync not working properly in OpenGL. The Linux release notes mention a total of 21 issues resolved.
As is the case almost every month, the distribution packaging scripts for ATI's driver build / installation process have been updated. This month, however, Catalyst 8.6 brings their second-generation API for this installer. Version 2 of this driver package builder contains a number of enhancements, which will benefit both the package maintainers and end-users. Packaging script maintainers can now utilize an option for automating the installation process. On supported distributions, the user can simply run driver-title.run --buildandinstallpkg and it will not only build the driver package(s) but will proceed to install them using your distribution's package management system.
With version 2 of this API, end-users can now just call --buildpkg (or --buildandinstallpkg) without having to supply the distribution name/release and Catalyst suite will automatically attempt to determine this info. The main distribution to already have updated packaging scripts that comply with this new API is Ubuntu. Over the coming months, more of these packaging scripts should be updated as well.
That covers the official changes within Catalyst 8.6; however, that's not the exhaustive change-log. This driver is about 3MB larger than Catalyst 8.5 as it introduces some new yet-to-be-announced modules and other work. One of these is amdxmm. In addition, with X-Video there are now four available video formats available, and two of those are UYVY and YUV2. The YUV2 is great for those using MythTV and TVTime. There's also other work underway with the ATI/AMD Linux driver and we will talk about that on another day.
Unlike some of the other Catalyst earlier releases this year, Catalyst 8.6 is a rather interesting beast. It includes version 2.0 of their new packaging/driver installation API, a few bug fixes, and other important work. To the dismay of some users, Catalyst 8.6 for Linux doesn't support the Linux 2.6.26 kernel or X.Org 7.4 (X Server 1.5).
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