Open-Source ATI Evergreen Acceleration Builds Up
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 8 April 2010 at 12:36 PM EDT. 27 Comments
While up to this point AMD has only cleared Evergreen shader documents for release to the general public, the developers at AMD responsible for working on the open-source support have been working on some code too for this Radeon HD 5000 series support. The Linux 2.6.34 kernel has kernel mode-setting (KMS) support for the ATI Radeon HD 5000 series graphics cards, but it goes without any 2D/3D/X-Video acceleration support. There's also DDX Evergreen support allowing these "R800" class GPUs to work with user-space mode-setting. That's really been the extent of the open-source support though for these graphics cards that are a few months old.

This morning though while our main server has been getting hammered, some new Evergreen code cleared legal review and has now been pushed out to the public. AMD's Alex Deucher has shown off kernel DRM code that adds support for the command processor, interrupts, and graphics initialization on the Evergreen ASICs. This code also comes with new microcode that's been released and is required for the code to function. Support for the power tables on Evergreen hardware has also been added in a later patch.

Alone this new code really isn't useful to end-users, but it begins laying the foundation for the acceleration support to arrive, which is what most Radeon HD 5000 owners are waiting for. Right now Evergreen users are stuck without any hardware acceleration or they must use the proprietary Catalyst driver on Linux.

The patch series adding this new Evergreen support to the kernel DRM can be found on the dri-devel mailing list. This code should make it into the Linux 2.6.35 kernel and hopefully with some usable 2D/X-Video support too, if not basic 3D support if that code and the Mesa driver are ready in time and have cleared AMD's legal review.

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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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