AMD Catalyst 10.2 For Linux Gets Direct2D
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 17 February 2010 at 02:52 PM EST. 68 Comments
This morning we reported on AMD revealing forthcoming Catalyst driver changes, particularly a set of new features that applied to Windows users. However, we hinted that there might be some changes coming to the Linux driver and now Catalyst 10.2 for Linux is out there so we have the first confirmation of what may be to come.

The release notes for the Catalyst 10.2 Linux release are not yet available nor is the AMD web-site updated, but savvy readers have located the 10.2 download link. Upsetting many users is the fact that Catalyst 10.2 still lacks support for X Server 1.7, which has been released as stable since last October and has already had five point releases. With the X.Org Server 1.7-using Ubuntu 10.04 LTS coming in April, Catalyst 10.3 or 10.4 will support this updated X.Org Server finally. However, at the end of March this cycle will be restarted all over again once X Server 1.8 has been released.

While it will not be officially announced with Catalyst 10.2, the Catalyst Linux driver has received a new 2D acceleration architecture. However, as this was made public via an independent post in our forums, we can confirm that AMD has developed a new 2D acceleration method. Tests though we conducted internally using early builds of this new 2D acceleration method proved to be rather problematic. Once this 2D support is improved upon it will likely be switched on by default and then officially announced.

The method of enabling the premature 2D acceleration support involves setting a Direct2DAccel key within the DDX portion of the persistent configuration store database. Yes, Direct2D. A term we haven't mentioned before Phoronix. Direct2D is Microsoft's API for 2D and vector graphics that is used in Windows Vista/7. AMD hasn't communicated much about this new acceleration API, but it appears that much of the 2D acceleration code that they used from their Direct2D support on Windows is now being shared with the Linux driver.

While it may seem odd, this will hopefully mean better optimized 2D performance on Linux if they are indeed using much of their Windows 2D acceleration code on Linux that receives much love from their development teams.

Reports from those using the just-released Catalyst 10.2 yield disappointing results and problems for those looking to use KDE4's KWin. Hopefully there will be better news to report with Catalyst 10.3.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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