In the last quarter of 2007 AMD was on a spree with their proprietary Linux driver as they introduced their new OpenGL driver, which brought major performance improvements, and that was followed by AIGLX support. This year, however, their Catalyst Linux driver activity has been relatively quiet for end-users. Since switching over to this much-improved code-base, they have been able to deliver same-month product support for their new graphics processors such as the Radeon HD 3650, 3850/3870, and the 780G-based IGP, which once couldn't be said for this company that had taken them a half-year to deliver support for the Radeon X1000 (R500) and Radeon HD 2000 (R600) product families. Today the Catalyst 8.4 Linux driver has been released, and like the 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3 drivers, this month's update comes with minimal changes.
The Catalyst 8.4 changes just include packaging script updates, a few obscure bug-fixes, and an aticonfig fix. With Catalyst 8.4+, aticonfig will no longer crash on newer Linux distributions where there is no device section within the xorg.conf configuration file. This fix means running aticonfig --initial on Ubuntu 8.04 will no longer result in this ATI utility crashing. The official fixes include an AMDCCCLE vertical retrace fix, black screen when switching to the console, and incorrect colors and other issues when using the X-Video extension.
The packaging script updates can be found by browsing Phorogit. While on the matter of packaging script changes, the most recent commits show a new library appearing. This new library is named libatiadlxx.so and is in the mainline git tree for Catalyst 8.5. What could this library possibly hold for ATI Linux users? As was found out in The Truth About ATI/AMD & Linux, each Linux driver goes through a period of three to four weeks of beta testing, but based upon the packaging script maintainer activity, it could be deduced that Catalyst 8.5 may have already been in beta since last month. Stay tuned to Phoronix next month as we do our usual driver reviews. As we have been sharing for the past few months, we believe AMD could be preparing to unleash their next set of major Linux changes in this proprietary driver.