ATI Catalyst 10.8 For Linux Brings OpenGL ES 2.0
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 25 August 2010 at 12:16 PM EDT. 81 Comments
Last month the Catalyst 10.7 driver for ATI Radeon/FirePro graphics cards brought Eyefinity support to consumer-grade graphics cards after it had been available within the Windows Catalyst drivers for months. Meanwhile, the Windows version of Catalyst 10.7 brought OpenGL ES 2.0 support so that web browsers can take advantage of it for accelerating HTML5 rendering and WebGL. While the Catalyst 10.7 for Linux release went without this support, it's been added to the just-released Catalyst 10.8 build.

The ATI Catalyst 10.8 for Linux presents full support for the OpenGL ES 2.0 specification to enable 3D acceleration within web-browsers supporting the GLES 2.0 spec. While this is only now coming to the ATI Catalyst driver, OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 support has already been within Mesa and Gallium3D for months now that the open-source GPU drivers are able to take advantage of. With Mozilla Firefox 4.0 and other web browsers now beginning to take advantage of the OpenGL ES 2.0 specification, the support for this Khronos API previously only targeted towards embedded/mobile devices is now gaining traction on the desktop.

Besides the Catalyst 10.8 Linux driver offering OpenGL ES 2.0 support there is also production support for SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop / SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 Service Pack 1. In terms of resolved bugs in Catalyst 10.8, it doesn't appear they have yet fixed the show-stopping Unigine Heaven problems for ATI Radeon HD 5000 "Evergreen" series graphics cards, but they have bothered to uselessly fix and note a 6% performance regression for glxgears / fgl_glxgears. Below are their other changes.

- Disabling the primary display in clone/dual-head mode no longer causes Catalyst Control Center not to launch properly after X restart
- Desktop arrangement area no longer appears empty when Catalyst Control Center is relaunched after disabling or hot-unplugging the secondary display
- X-server no longer fails when launching fullscreen OpenGL application with CrossFire enabled and secondary display selected for accelerated display
- Catalyst Control Center will now launch properly under a 2 Gemini ATI Radeon HD 5900 Series multi-adapter configuration
- "Glxgears/fgl_glxgears" full screen application no longer remain on the desktop after they are closed using X button
- 6% performance drop is no longer observed while running fgl_glxgears and glxgears on specific cards

The release notes and download links for the AMD Catalyst 10.8 x86/x86_64 Linux driver can be found within this forum thread.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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