August 30, 2007 -- Back in April of 2006, a proprietary driver from ATI that had supported the Radeon X1000 "R500" product family had finally greeted Linux users. This driver, v8.24.8, had supported the entire desktop and mobile Radeon X1000 lineup with 3D support and even Avivo video playback capabilities. For the six months prior, Linux users were stuck in the dark without any Linux support for the R500 series while the ATI Windows Catalyst customers had support that was continually improved. Of course, back in 2006 there was no open-source R500 driver either. Over the past 16 months with R500 support in the fglrx driver, the features have continually improved with an AMD Catalyst Control Center for Linux, support for the newer R500 graphics cards, and there are far less bugs in the driver now then there was in the past. However, these changes really have not affected the performance as it has stayed the same for the most part with minimal improvements. In this article today we are going back to test the original 8.24.8 display driver and compare it directly against the latest driver available as of today, the 8.40.4 fglrx release.
August 28, 2007 -- Scheduled for release tomorrow is X.Org 7.3. Among the new features for X.Org 7.3 include the Xorg server 1.4, an application for adjusting a display's backlight, updated display drivers, and support for font catalog directories. Version 1.4 of the X.Org server contains such features as RandR 1.2 support, input hot-plugging, KDrive enhancements, Solaris DTrace support, and EXA improvements. In this article today, we will briefly go over some of the changes found in X.Org 7.3 and we will follow up with some benchmarks in early September.
August 24, 2007 -- One of the new features to land with Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon Tribe 5 is the displayconfig-gtk. This new GTK control panel is similar to NVIDIA's nvidia-settings panel and ATI's Catalyst Control Center, which allow for GUI-based modifying of your xorg.conf to control such options as the display resolution, setting up multiple display heads in either an extended mode or mirroring, and changing your graphics driver. In this article, we are taking a brief tour of this early displayconfig-gtk application.
August 22, 2007 -- Through a joint effort between Phoronix and the Nouveau project, we will now be publishing the Nouveau Companion on Phoronix to update the progress made by these developers working on an open-source display driver for NVIDIA's complete selection of hardware from the NV0x chips to the latest models in the GeForce and Quadro series. This is the 26th edition of the Nouveau Companion which provides an updated status on the Nouveau driver with the progress being made in the areas of X-Video, video overlays for the different NVIDIA GPU series, and renouveau-parse for parsing XML dumps. These developers still need help especially with the NVIDIA GeForce 8 series hardware.
August 15, 2007 -- Thanks to recent commits in the RandR 1.2 branch for the open-source X.Org Radeon driver, it's now possible to use S-Video and composite TV output on your ATI graphics card without any patches. This is not limited to the R200 series but will also work with the R300 series and theoretically any graphics card supported by the xf86-video-ati driver. In this guide have outlined the instructions for enabling TV output support from the Radeon driver git code as well as some of the current limitations.
August 13, 2007 -- Last month marked the introduction of Fedora 7 support with the fglrx 8.39.4 ATI/AMD driver but not much more than that was to be found aside from an undocumented XML file. This driver did also present watermark problems that led to the driver being recalled and a corrected driver being pushed out. Today the fglrx 8.40.4 driver has been released and while many had speculated the 8.40 series would mark the introduction of the new Linux driver code-base, that's not the case for 8.40.4 driver. What changes does the 8.40.4 driver hold in store for Linux users? We'll tell you today but there isn't much.
August 12, 2007 -- Jerome Glisse and his posse of open-source developers have been making good progress with an open-source "Avivo" graphics driver for the ATI Radeon X1000 (R500) series hardware. However, one roadblock they have hit along the way is with TMDS setting issues on the Radeon X1200, X1300, X1400, and X1900 series. This roadblock had also led to postponing the Avivo 0.1.0 release. Now if you are an ATI R500 owner and have been wondering how you can help with the advancement of this open-source driver, there is a way even without prior development experience and that is by providing VBE mode-setting BIOS dumps. As you have probably never created such dumps before, we have written a brief tutorial on using vbespy/vbetest for the first time.
July 30, 2007 -- Since publishing our Avivo versus fglrx driver GtkPerf benchmarks that compared the GTK performance between the community open-source driver and ATI's official driver, we have received a number of requests for more of these 2D benchmarks with different graphics cards and different drivers. While this is not one of our formal articles, we have completed a few more GtkPerf tests with NVIDIA and ATI graphics cards to see how the GTK performance stacks up.
July 27, 2007 -- If you have been reading our ATI/AMD Linux display driver reviews for some time, you will know that there are periods where it doesn't look like the fglrx driver is actively being worked on, but in fact changes are being made "under the hood". We are going through one of these droughts right now where not many new features or bug fixes are being introduced, though a lot of work is going on internally. We have decided to dissect the last 19 months of driver releases from ATI/AMD to expose some interesting facts and what should be coming in the future.
July 19, 2007 -- Last month was an interesting time for AMD and their ATI Linux display driver. The Radeon HD 2400 and 2600 series were introduced, but as we have unfortunately come to expect, there was not a supported R600 driver that day or even that month. In fact, there still is no Linux driver to support any graphics card in the R600 series. Though making the month unique were two display drivers being released in the same week. The 8.38.6 driver had introduced Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 support as well as some minor fixes, but nothing to spark interest in the minds of end-users. The second Linux driver released, 8.38.7, had come down the pipeline as a hot-fix release to correct a bug where aticonfig would crash and remove your xorg.conf. Moving forward to the 8.39.4 driver released today, we still have no AIGLX or R600 support, but we do have Fedora 7 support!