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.
October 20, 2009 -- In late August we started asking our readers for any questions they had for NVIDIA about Linux and this graphics company's support of open-source operating systems. Twelve pages worth of questions were accumulated and we finally have the answers to a majority of them. NVIDIA's Andy Ritger, who leads the user-space side of the NVIDIA UNIX Graphics Driver team for workstation, desktop, and notebook GPUs, answered these questions. With that said, there are some great, in-depth technical answers and not the usual marketing speak found in many interviews. While Linux is our focus, Andy's team and his answers for the most part apply equally to NVIDIA drivers on Solaris and FreeBSD platforms too. There are many questions that range from the status of new features in their proprietary graphics driver to why it is unlikely there will be any official open-source support from NVIDIA to download percentages of their Linux driver.
October 07, 2009 -- Ubuntu 9.10 had its beta release last week and the final release is coming in just three weeks, but this late in the release cycle, it has been decided to pull in the final Mesa 7.6 version. Pulling in this newer code that provides OpenGL acceleration on Linux provides numerous bug-fixes along with support for a greater number of OpenGL extensions on different hardware and other improvements.
September 30, 2009 -- While the ATI Radeon HD 5800 graphics cards were introduced last week, the open-source support for the Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 series is finally maturing. The Linux 2.6.32 kernel will feature kernel mode-setting support for these ATI R600/700 graphics processors as well as the DRM support for allowing 3D acceleration. The classic Mesa support for the Radeon HD 2000 through Radeon HD 4000 series is maturing and is now able to run basic OpenGL games and applications, while the Gallium3D support is still a ways out. However, now that there is finally the Catalyst 9.10 driver within Ubuntu Karmic Koala that supports the latest kernel, we are finally able to directly compare the performance of AMD's Catalyst driver and that of the latest open-source code. In this article we have benchmarks showing the 2D performance between these two driver options with both an R600 and R700 graphics card.
July 31, 2009 -- Back in May we shared that the Ubuntu Intel graphics performance was still in bad shape after testing out very early Ubuntu 9.10 packages. The netbook experience was killed in Ubuntu 9.04 after a buggy Intel Linux graphics stack led to slow performance, stability issues, screen corruption, and other problems. Months have passed since we last exhaustively looked at the Intel Linux graphics stack, but we have just carried out some new tests using Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 3. This new development release of Ubuntu carries the latest kernel, Mesa, and Intel driver packages as we see how the graphics performance is with an Intel 945 and G43 chipsets.
July 22, 2009 -- Yesterday NVIDIA released their first 190.xx Linux beta driver for their GeForce and Quadro graphics cards. The NVIDIA 190.16 Beta driver brought a number of VDPAU fixes, PowerMizer control features, a number of new official and unofficial OpenGL extensions receiving GLX protocol support, and there were a number of other fixes and enhancements too. However, now that we have had a chance to analyze this driver, there is more in store than what the change-log shares regarding this driver. There is in fact support for the unreleased OpenGL 3.2 specification.
July 17, 2009 -- This morning VIA's Bruce Chang had submitted the DRM code for the Chrome 9 IGP with a request that it be pushed into the mainline Linux kernel. The DRM alone isn't usable to an end-user without a Mesa driver or something else to take advantage of this kernel component. VIA previously expressed interest in a Gallium3D-based Chrome 9 driver, but now today we find out they have no intentions on creating an open-source Chrome 9 3D driver. Instead, they just want this DRM into the mainline Linux kernel so that it can be used by their binary blob and to hopefully have some open-source developers come along and create a free software driver from their incomplete documentation.
June 12, 2009 -- To those running ATI Radeon graphics cards on Linux, this week has been very important with several key announcements having been made. The TTM memory manager is getting ready for inclusion into the Linux kernel, which finally will allow the open-source ATI driver (and soon the Nouveau driver too for NVIDIA hardware) to have kernel-based GPU memory management. With the memory management work set in the ATI driver via a mix of TTM and GEM, the ATI kernel mode-setting is also getting ready to be released as a staging driver within the Linux 2.6.31 kernel. The announcements this week have not been only about the GPU and Linux kernel, but the Radeon driver rewrite has also been merged to master. As we discussed in yesterday's news post, this Radeon Mesa re-write brings several key improvements immediately and there are still more features to come.