Yesterday afternoon AMD released the Radeon HD 6000 series open-source support
for all non-Cayman GPUs. We covered the initial information regarding this kernel DRM / Mesa / DDX code drop well, but there's a few more tid-bits of information to pass along now that we have received additional feedback from AMD's John Bridgman and Alex Deucher and have also had time to look at the code patches ourself.
- With the Radeon HD 6000 series, mode-setting support is only provided by KMS (kernel mode-setting). There is no longer any user-space mode-setting (UMS) code paths being worked on. There will remain UMS support for pre-NI hardware right now, but going forward we are entering a KMS-only world. This is nice as most users no longer have technical problems getting KMS working and overall it provides a better experience.
- As the Mesa support for the "Northern Islands" GPUs isn't too invasive, it's already landed in the Mesa 7.10 branch therefore it will hit a release status in the coming days. It's no longer waiting around for Mesa 7.11, but we still will be doing that for the Cayman support in the next few months.
- The DRM kernel patches aren't too invasive either. While they won't be in the mainline tree until the Linux 2.6.38 kernel, there's a likelihood that Canonical and other distribution vendors will be back-porting this support to their Linux 2.6.37 distributions. If this is done, we may see the support in Ubuntu 11.04, etc.
- The DRM patches now provide the support for the DCE5 display block on the new AMD Radeon GPUs, which allows for improved color correction, HDMI 1.4a, and DisplayPort 1.2.
- The Gallium3D support for the Radeon HD 6000 "Northern Islands" ASICs has already landed now too, complementing the classic R600c Mesa driver support.
- There is X-Video acceleration support too, albeit still no VA-API / VDPAU capabilities.