December 22, 2009 -- Nearly two years ago at the Linux Foundation Summit in Austin was VIA's most recent announcement about becoming serious with open-source support. This was not VIA's first time they claimed to back an open-source strategy, which led a number of open-source developers to immediately call VIA's open-source strategy a bluff. To date this still is mostly a bluff, but they have produced some fluff. In 2010 it looks like this will still be the case, but VIA hopes to produce some code by the second half of 2010. This code, however, will likely not appear in most Linux distributions until 2011.
December 20, 2009 -- Another annual tradition of ours besides running a Linux Graphics Survey is to provide a "year in review" analysis of the ATI and NVIDIA Linux drivers with their respective graphics driver releases from the past year in terms of both feature improvements and how their quantitative performance has changed. We have been doing these annual ATI and NVIDIA yearly reviews going back to 2005, but now it's time to share our thoughts and numbers for 2009. We are beginning with our NVIDIA Linux 2009 Year In Review.
December 11, 2009 -- Recently via email we were asked to run a comparison of the different anti-aliasing and image rendering options between the ATI/AMD and NVIDIA Linux drivers and hardware. Well, we have now run a few quantitative and qualitative tests at different anti-aliasing levels under Linux. For those that want to run the tests themselves with their own drivers and hardware, we also have provided instructions on how you can easily do so using the Phoronix Test Suite 2.4 "Lenvik" development build -- it is irresistibly easy.
December 07, 2009 -- For the month of November we ran the 2009 Linux Graphics Survey, which is a survey in regards to X.Org and the Linux graphics stack that we have been hosting annually for the past three years. This year there was 13,836 results submitted and we have now had the time to go over these results and are publishing all of the numbers today.
November 25, 2009 -- One of the articles on Phoronix last week was entitled Intel Linux Graphics Shine With Fedora 12, which showed off the nice state of Intel graphics on this latest Red Hat release when it came to kernel mode-setting and its 3D stack with it working well "out of the box" and offering some nice performance gains over the earlier Fedora 10 and Fedora 11 releases. While the Intel stack may be improved in Constantine, the ATI support has taken a hit, as users were quick to point out in response to last week's article. In particular, when using the ATI kernel mode-setting driver in Fedora 12 (which is the default for pre-R600 hardware), there is a large performance discrepancy compared to using the traditional user-space mode-setting for ATI Radeon hardware. Today we are looking at what exactly the performance cost is for using ATI KMS in this new release.
November 20, 2009 -- Intel's Linux graphics driver stack is often at the forefront of X.Org / Mesa innovations, from Intel being the first driver having in-kernel video memory management to being the first driver with mainline kernel mode-setting support to even being the driver that often first receives support for new OpenGL extensions in Mesa. The Intel Linux driver stack can be attributed with many firsts, but continually pushing this driver while putting out quarterly timed releases has led to some pains. Earlier this year in fact the driver stack was rather buggy -- especially in Ubuntu 9.04 -- that impaired many users with stability issues, performance problems, and other headaches. Most of the regressions from overhauling the Linux driver stack have been resolved, but where is the driver stack at now? The Intel stack in Ubuntu 9.10 is performing rather well, but where it's more important is its status within Fedora as more of the bleeding-edge graphics packages are pulled into this release that often don't make it into other distributions until months later when they roll out their next releases. To see where the Intel Linux graphics are at in Fedora 12, we ran the same set of benchmarks in the Fedora 10, 11, and 12 releases with an Intel G43 IGP.
November 03, 2009 -- For a year now we have been talking about XvBA, which stands for X-Video Bitstream Acceleration and is designed to implement AMD's Unified Video Decoder 2 (UVD2) engine on Linux systems for improving the video decoding and playback process on desktop systems. AMD has been shipping an XvBA library with their ATI Catalyst Linux driver since last year, but they have yet to release any documentation on the XvBA API or any patches to implement the support within any Linux media players. Heck, AMD has not even officially confirmed XvBA with Phoronix being the lone source of information for the past year. Today though, XvBA has finally become useful under Linux. But it is not what you may be thinking...
October 31, 2009 -- For the past two years we have hosted an annual Linux Graphics Survey in which we ask well over 20,000 users each time their video card preferences, driver information, and other questions about their view of the Linux graphics stack. This year we are hosting the survey once again to allow the development community to get a better understanding of the video hardware in use, what open-source and closed-source drivers are being used, and other relevant information that will help them and the Linux community.
October 30, 2009 -- AMD's Catalyst Linux driver has improved substantially over the past few years. Years ago the Catalyst Linux driver was in shambles with its performance being utterly poor, it lacked enthusiast-oriented features like CrossFire and OverDrive, and ATI customers had to wait months -- sometimes in excess of a year -- for any driver support in Linux. All of this though has changed with AMD now providing same-day Linux support, a near feature parity to the Windows Catalyst driver, and first-rate performance. Playing a critical role in improving the ATI Linux support has been Matthew Tippett, serving as the engineering manager for Linux Core Engineering since joining ATI Technologies in 2003. To put it in perspective, when Matthew started work at ATI, only the FireGL graphics cards were supported under Linux. However, today will be his last day serving ATI / Advanced Micro Devices.
October 26, 2009 -- Fedora 12 provides "out of the box" support for kernel mode-setting with ATI R600/700 series graphics hardware, but it does not provide 3D acceleration by default. However, Red Hat's X developers have made it very easy to enable this 3D support for the ATI Radeon HD 2000, 3000, and 4000 series hardware by just installing a special Mesa package from yum. In this article we are taking a quick look at where the R600/700 3D support is at in Fedora 12.