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OpenSUSE Says Farewell To RadeonHD Driver

SUSE

Published on 03 May 2010 11:10 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in SUSE
44 Comments

The RadeonHD Linux driver that came about in 2007 following the announcement of AMD's open-source driver strategy has had an interesting history. This driver was developed by Novell's developers, but now they are even dropping it from their openSUSE distribution.

The xf86-video-radeonhd driver was the first open-source driver to fully support the Radeon X1000 series graphics cards (R500) (after the short-lived Avivo driver) and went on to support the R600/700 series too. However, not before long, the xf86-video-ati "Radeon" driver ended up picking up support for the R500+ ASICs via the use of AtomBIOS rather than hard-coding in the support, which led this long-standing open-source driver to more quickly support enticing end-user features. Many other milestones and developer feuds took place too, but this is the one paragraph synopsis.

Mode-setting for ATI Radeon hardware has since moved into the Linux kernel and the xf86-video-radeonhd driver really hasn't seen much activity with the core AMD developers since diverting all of their attention to the xf86-video-ati driver as it concerns the DDX. The RadeonHD driver still receives new commits from time-to-time, but last year they also suffered a major setback when one of the main developers was laid off by Novell.

Now though the RadeonHD driver has perhaps suffered its final blow as the RadeonHD driver is no longer being used as the default within Novell's own openSUSE distribution. As is said in the OpenSUSE 11.3 Milestone 6 notes, "radeon video driver has superseded radeonhd, providing KMS/DRI support."

These days the xf86-video-ati driver supports more hardware and features than the xf86-video-radeonhd driver does, and every other major desktop Linux distribution these days use xf86-video-ati with kernel mode-setting, but now Novell has abandoned its child within openSUSE.

The openSUSE 11.3 Milestone 6 release also begins to leverage the xorg.conf.d support found in X.Org Server 1.8, moves the VDPAU library into a package independent of NVIDIA's binary driver, and has various other changes. The final release of openSUSE 11.3 is expected in July.

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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