August 13, 2008 -- For months we have been telling you that AMD has been preparing to release their R600 series documentation as well as opening up the source-code to two of their internal software projects used for testing new graphics processor designs prior to the availability of the actual hardware. Advanced Micro Devices has yet to release their 3D programming documentation covering the R600 series (or the brand-new RV770) nor the source-code to their two internal projects (TCore and KGrids), but following several postings in our forums over the past couple of weeks and many emails inquiring about the status, today we have a brief update to share.
August 11, 2008 -- From SIGGRAPH 2008, one of the premiere computers graphics conferences, the Khronos Group has announced the release of the OpenGL 3.0 API specification and the GLSL 1.30 shading language specification. This is the first major update to this cross-platform 3D programming API since the OpenGL 2.1 release two years ago. In this article we have a bit of information on these OpenGL and GLSL updates and when we can expect to see the Linux graphics scene moving to this new standard.
July 30, 2008 -- Yesterday KDE 4.1 was released and there are widely known 2D performance problems with the GeForce 8 and 9 series, which are especially exhibited when using the K Desktop Environment. So you think NVIDIA would address this issue in their next driver update? Guess again. Early this morning NVIDIA had released a new driver as version 173.14.12. This is the first NVIDIA Linux driver release in a month and a half, but its change-log is quite slim.
July 25, 2008 -- Last September AMD had provided an open-source AtomBIOS parser for use by the RadeonHD driver in order to communicate with this video BIOS abstraction layer found on the past few generations of ATI graphics cards. While we are still waiting on the R600 sample source-code and 3D register documentation to arrive, AMD has today released a new AtomBIOS parser. This parser is coming out of their KGrids project, which we have previously mentioned in the past, and will allow for a clean AtomBIOS parser to enter the Linux kernel.
July 15, 2008 -- In recent times, the xorg.conf file once used for configuring all static X-related server options has been shrinking in size. Thanks to more reliable EDID (Extended Display Identification Data) on LCD panels, it's generally no longer needed to manually specify mode-lines within this X.Org configuration file. With improvements for auto-detection, in many circumstances it's no longer even needed to manually specify your graphics driver and other options. However, the X Server currently lacks an infrastructure for supporting persistent device properties.
July 12, 2008 -- Since last night's release of Ubuntu 8.10 Alpha 2 we have been trying out this latest work from the Canonical camp. While many Linux desktop users would just shrug off X.Org 7.4 as not being too relevant to them -- considering there aren't that many new blatant features -- if you're a faithful Phoronix reader you should already know about much of the recent driver work (especially on the ATI side) and Mesa advancements along with X Server fixes.
July 07, 2008 -- The Novell developers behind the xf86-video-radeonhd driver have yet to receive their hardware samples from AMD for the Radeon HD 4850 or Radeon HD 4870, but there is already AtomBIOS-based support for these next-generation graphics processors. This open-source driver now has basic mode-setting support, but the 2D and 3D work is still to come.
July 04, 2008 -- We've talked all too often about AtomBIOS and there being two different open-source drivers that support the same ATI Radeon hardware with the key architectural difference between the two just being the use of this video BIOS abstraction layer. From the beginning, AMD was planning to have their Novell partners use AtomBIOS when writing this new (at the time, R500/600) driver, but the developers ultimately declined. These developers have expressed their opinions on AtomBIOS, which range from it being an unbearable mess to this design being nothing more than writing open-source code to power someone else's closed-source work. However, under pressure by AMD, the developers are now preparing to use AtomBIOS to a much greater extent within the xf86-video-radeonhd driver. In this article we'll tell you more about what's gone on and where you can checkout this AtomBIOS-bearing RadeonHD driver.
June 26, 2008 -- Now that we have delivered OpenGL benchmarks of the ATI Radeon HD 4850 on Linux, we are turning our focus to the flagship Radeon 4870. For this testing we have dual Radeon HD 4870 graphics cards from Sapphire Technology. We'll be publishing these initial results in the coming days, but for now, we are just letting everyone know that this RV770 GPU also is working with xf86-video-ati after writing a trivial patch for this display driver. Our patch is enclosed.
June 19, 2008 -- In our article this morning entitled AMD Makes An Evolutionary Leap In Linux Support, we briefly touched on the fact that AMD would be continuing in their open-source support for the Radeon HD 4000 generation of GPUs. AMD will release register information for the RV770 and the code to TCore and KGrids will help the community developers when it comes to 2D and 3D acceleration. Though, with not much work at all, this afternoon we have the ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB running with the open-source xf86-video-ati driver! The Radeon HD 4850 will not currently work with the xf86-video-radeonhd driver as it doesn't rely upon the AtomBIOS in these areas, but in this article we have enclosed our patch and other information for using this open-source driver on AMD's latest hardware.