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Ubuntu Has Another Special ATI Catalyst Driver?

Ubuntu

Published on 02 February 2010 10:25 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu
45 Comments

The past three releases of Ubuntu Linux have included unreleased ATI Catalyst drivers. It started with Ubuntu 8.10, which got an early-access driver as the official Catalyst Linux driver that was available to the public at the time had not supported X Server 1.5. With Ubuntu 9.04, AMD was running behind at supporting X Server 1.6 as found in the Jaunty Jackalope, so it too received an early ATI driver. Ubuntu 9.10 also received an early Catalyst for Linux driver more than a month in advance to provide compatibility with the Linux 2.6.31 kernel. It looks like this will happen a fourth time with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS "Lucid Lynx" running with the X.Org Server 1.7.x series, which isn't yet supported by the Catalyst driver even though it was released back in October.

Ara Pulido of Ubuntu has called for testing of the ATI and NVIDIA graphics card drivers under Ubuntu 10.04.
Do you have a *nVIDIA* or *ATI* graphics card? Do you want to help ensure users have a smooth experience if they choose to use the proprietary drivers?

We are looking for committed volunteers to test nVIDIA and ATI proprietary drivers on a weekly basis. The goal of this testing is to catch regressions early in the cycle, and fix bugs before they reach a major audience.

If you want to be part of the team you will need:

1. A computer with an ATI (R600 or newer) or nVIDIA (GeForce series 2) graphics card
2. A spare partition on that system * If you don't have a spare partition you can easily create one.
3. One hour of your time per week
4. An Internet connection

If you want to take part in this adventure, please, send me an email (ara AT ubuntu DOT com) with the exact model of your graphics card, and I will get back to you with detailed instructions.

The proprietary NVIDIA driver already supports X Server 1.7.x and the Linux 2.6.32 kernel as found in Ubuntu 10.04. Catalyst 10.1 does support the Linux 2.6.32 kernel, but it's still missing on the X.Org 7.5 compatibility. However, with Ubuntu now looking for people to test out the proprietary ATI driver and emailing Pulido for instructions, it looks like they're getting ready to roll out an unreleased Catalyst driver for Linux. At this point, however, there is no updated fglrx packages found in the Ubuntu Lucid repository.

Ubuntu 10.04 will be officially released in April, but for the time being (or permanently, if you wish) the open-source ATI graphics driver stack has kernel mode-setting and 2D/3D support up through the R700 (Radeon HD 4000 series) graphics cards to provide a pleasant "out of the box" experience.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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