May 02, 2008 -- Last month we reported on VIA's new open-source driver efforts that was announced at the LF Austin Summit. This new strategy involves VIA providing the open-source community with NDA-free hardware specifications, code, and other resources -- in a similar fashion to what ATI/AMD and Intel have been doing for some time now. However, not everyone has been satisfied by this announcement and their new Linux website isn't yet exactly useful. We explore the VIA Linux situation in this article as well as sharing what two open-source developers have to say.
April 19, 2008 -- There are many new and innovative features brewing within the X.Org development community right now -- among the many are Gallium3D, the TTM memory manager, and MPX (Multi-Pointer X) -- but one of the features that has risen towards the top of the list and delivers visible benefits to the end-user is kernel-based mode-setting. As implied by its name, kernel mode-setting involves moving the mode-setting code for video adapters from the user-space X server drivers into the Linux kernel. This may seem like an uninteresting topic for end-users, but having the mode-setting done in the kernel allows for a cleaner and richer boot process, improved suspend and resume support, and more reliable VT switching (along with other advantages). Kernel mode-setting isn't yet in the mainline Linux kernel nor is the API for it frozen, but Fedora 9 shipping next month will be the first major distribution carrying this initial support. In this article we're looking more closely at kernel mode-setting with the Intel X.Org driver as well as showing videos of kernel-based mode-setting in action.
April 16, 2008 -- 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.
April 11, 2008 -- Last week it was exclusively reported by Phoronix that a new NVIDIA binary Linux display driver should be out in the next week, and sure enough we were right, again. The NVIDIA 173.08 Linux driver was released last night and features support for several new NVIDIA GPUs, including the GeForce 9800 series, experimental support for X Server 1.5, and a number of fixes with Linux 2.6.25 kernel compatibility.
April 10, 2008 -- It's been a long time in the making, but the xf86-video-radeonhd 1.2 driver has just been pushed out the door. RadeonHD 1.2 is the first new release for this open-source ATI R500/600 driver since December of last year. The RadeonHD 1.2 driver includes support for new AMD graphics processors, 2D XAA/EXA acceleration, and other changes.
April 08, 2008 -- Announced this morning at the second annual Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit is a new open-source driver development initiative. VIA Technologies has announced its strategic open-source driver development initiative. VIA will be providing technical specifications, source-code, and other information regarding their latest products. In addition, they'll be opening a new web-site devoted to its new Linux efforts.
April 03, 2008 -- In the first Nouveau Companion this spring, the free software developers reverse-engineering the NVIDIA Linux driver have provided a new status update. Most of the progress recently made to this open-source X.Org driver is for the NV50 GPUs found on the GeForce 8 and 9 series. There is a new test program for directly communicating with NV50 processors and that these newer graphics cards have reached the milestone of being able to render an object with this driver. Approaching soon is supporting the TTM memory manager with Nouveau. The open-source Nouveau developers are hoping to get some Google Summer of Code students working on XvMC support and suspend-and-resume along with a simple Gallium3D backend for the NVIDIA NV2x ASICs.
March 20, 2008 -- In the thirty-seventh edition of the Nouveau Companion, the topics covered largely come down to Gallium3D, the status of the Nouveau driver for each of the NVIDIA product families (primarily the GeForce 8 series), and of interest is that RandR 1.2 should soon be enabled by default for this reverse-engineered open-source 2D/3D NVIDIA driver. The Nouveau developers are working on Gallium3D extensively and recent David Airlie had tried the Nouveau Gallium3D driver for PowerPC, but there is a problem with depth buffers. The GeForce 8 (NV50) status is continuing to improve but there's still work to be done, as these GPUs have no NV40 compatibility mode. Read the rest in this edition of the Nouveau Companion.
March 20, 2008 -- Coming just a day after AMD had opened up their production microcode from their proprietary drivers for the R100 to R600 GPUs, a significant milestone has been reached in the road to open-source 3D graphics capabilities for the Radeon X1000 (R500) series. We now have hardware-accelerated glxgears!
March 19, 2008 -- In the next step towards open-source 3D support for the R500 and R600 GPUs (Radeon X1000 and Radeon HD 2000/3000), AMD has just pushed its production microcode into the Mesa/DRM git tree. This is the microcode found in the fglrx driver and it covers the Radeon R100 to R600 product families.