It's been a glorious past couple of months for ATI Radeon X1000 owners that have had very basic open-source support provided by the Avivo display driver. However, it looks like the open-source Avivo driver will soon be going away to a bit-bucket heaven. If AMD sticks to their word, Jerome Glisse (the Avivo lead developer) will discontinue all work on the xf86-video-avivo driver. In fact, he said he "kind of stopped doing real work on it" already and is partially the reason why the Avivo v0.1 driver hasn't been released. He is, however, looking forward to contributing to a new yet to be named open-source driver. Jerome is doing this because he believes AMD is starting to truly work with the open-source community. We will disclose more information on the new open-source driver in just a few hours.
Well, by now you've probably seen our articles today -- AMD 8.41 Display Driver Preview, ATI R300/400 Linux Performance, ATI R500 Linux Performance, ATI Radeon HD 2900XT On Linux, and AMD: Accelerating Open-Source Drivers? -- but the fun is certainly not over. In the coming hours and days we will be delivering additional articles that talk about AMD/ATI's latest efforts in the Linux arena. These articles include Radeon HD 2400 and HD 2600 performance metrics, a Linux versus Windows performance comparison with the new driver, and other articles sought after by the community. There has also been some talk on the Internet about ATI specifications being released at the Linux Kernel Summit, and once our embargo expires (or we're otherwise permitted to talk about it) we will be covering what's up with ATI's open-source side as well. In the meantime be sure to take part in one of our active discussions taking place in the Phoronix Forums. If you have any questions about the new driver don't be afraid to ask.
Revenge, a clean-room reverse engineering utility being developed by Oliver McFadden for Radeon graphics cards, is nearing its 1.0 release. This utility is designed for reverse engineering the ATI graphics cards and their binary driver. Oliver is finishing up work on hardware and software identification, a revenge.sh script, and adding more tests/analysis work before releasing it as Revenge 1.0. Already on the road-map for Revenge 1.1 is texture dumping support. You can find Oliver's announcement on his Live Journal.
Dodji Seketeli and Jerome Glisse have completed porting the open-source "Avivo" R500 driver to libpciaccess, the new PCI infrastructure. Libpciaccess allows X.Org to access the PCI bus and devices with platform independence. Keith Packard has documented on the X.Org Wiki how to implement this new PCI infrastructure with X.Org graphics drivers. The git commit marking the completion of the libpciaccess changes for the Avivo driver can be viewed via gitweb.
With most of the open-source ATI Radeon driver development efforts focused on the RandR 1.2 branch, David Airlie has decided to merge the RandR 1.2 branch with the master tree. All of the Radeon driver activity has been around such things as TV-Out support and all of the RandR 1.2 goodies which resulted in the merge to master. The color problem on the R100/200 series with TV-Out was also fixed as well as other TV-Out fixes and a code cleanup.
Earlier today we told you about a TMDS fix to address some of the display issues present with the open-source "Avivo" R500 driver. Based upon the feedback in our ATI Linux forum this latest work was successful in eliminating some of the TMDS problems. Work has, however, continued in the day with additional fixes. Some bits of the Avivo driver code was cleaned up and the driver can now differentiate between connected digital and analog monitors, a BIOS initialization bit with TMDS_CNTL, and improving TMDS TMDS 0x7880 knowledge. The Avivo utility has also been updated with the latest TMDS register changes. Grab the latest source and technical changes from FreeDesktop.org and stop by the open-source forums for any troubleshooting or to report on the Avivo driver successes and failures.
Yesterday we told you about TMDS fixes for the Avivo driver to hopefully correct display-related problems. Well, a bug crept into the system when the TMDS1 registers were being adjusted when it should have been the TMDS2 registers. This bug was corrected this morning so check out the latest development code if you're still running into problems. Report your results in our open-source ATI/AMD forum with the results, where the lead Avivo developer is an active member of the Phoronix community.
Jerome Glisse (the lead Avivo driver developer) has fixed TMDS issues with the ATI Radeon X1000 series hardware. The latest Avivo git driver changes how the TMDS is programmed (see the git commit for more information). Another git commit updated the supported chipset list against AMD's official list, so all products in the ATI Radeon X1000 "R500" series should now have a PCI ID entry. Those of you experiencing any problems with your display in the past, be sure to try out this latest code and report back with your findings. Discuss in the forums.
With a security vulnerability in ATI's Catalyst driver installer for Microsoft Windows Vista being exposed (dubbed the "purple pill"), engineers have been scurrying to address this problem. The Inquirer is reporting that the patched driver will be released tomorrow (Monday) and that it will be Catalyst 7.8 that gets released. Going by past tradition and what was shared in The Truth About ATI/AMD and Linux, if the ATI Catalyst 7.8 driver for Windows is released tomorrow, so will the next ATI Linux "fglrx 8.40" driver.
A month ago we told you that Avivo v0.1.0 (the open-source ATI R500 X1000 Linux driver) was coming soon, but still we have not seen this release. Talking with Jerome Glisse (the main Avivo developer), the v0.1.0 release is postponed until he or another willing open-source developer fixes issues with the Radeon X1200, X1300, X1400, and X1900 to allow for properly setting the TMDS on these graphics cards. The meaning of a few important registers are still not known. Jerome hasn't had time to work on the Avivo driver recently nor does he know when he will the available time. It looks like the Avivo open-source project could use some extra help.
At SIGGRAPH in San Diego, AMD has introduced five new ATI FireGL workstation graphics cards. These new R600-based FireGL products support Microsoft DirectX 10.0, OpenGL 2.1, up to 320 stream processors, AutoDetect functionality, and a 2GB frame-buffer. In 3D workstation benchmarks the new FireGL graphics cards are over 300% faster than their previous generation GPUs. These new AMD/ATI FireGL cards include the V3600, V5600, V7600, V8600, and the V8650. The FireGL V3600 will sell for $299 USD while the flagship V8650 will cost $2,799 USD. Availability is expected next month and for these new FireGL graphics cards you can expect Linux support to come with the new fglrx driver.
Earlier today we mentioned the recent xf86-video-ati driver commits and now David Airlie has announced on his blog that version 6.6.193 of the open-source Radeon driver has been released. Fixed in the xf86-video-ati 6.6.193 driver is 3D acceleration support for the ATI RS480 chipsets when using the newer version of Mesa as well as better VBL support for lowering power consumption. Like most software releases, there is also a number of bug fixes and code cleanups.
Aside from minor changes to the ATI Radeon driver man-page last month, there hasn't been too much to report on with this open-source X.Org driver (though there has been a wealth of happenings with the Avivo R500 driver). Today, however, there was some Radeon driver updates to the git tree. Luc Verhaegen had cleaned up PortInfo to CRTC mapping and sanitizing blanking and DPMS functions. Meanwhile, David Airlie cleaned up pieces of the DPMS/blank register programming, added "-Wall" for the GCC argument, removed unused variables, and updated the configuration file for what will be the ATI 6.6.193 driver release. All this work had occurred in the xf86-video-ati tree.
The GATOS project has long been known as the path to take for enabling TV output support with the open-source X.Org driver on the Radeon 8500 to 9250 (R200) series, but soon you may no longer need to worry about the GATOS patch. Hanno has announced on the project mailing list that all of those involved with the GATOS project have agreed to move away from the GPL in favor of the MIT/X11 license. This relicensing makes it possible for the GATOS code to be merged with the X.Org Radeon R200 driver.
If you've been unable to run the new fglrx 8.39.4 driver with Fedora 7 x86_64, mmastrac on our forums has written a guide for fixing the fglrx driver with 64-bit Fedora 7. A bit of hex editing is all that's involved for this support. The 32-bit version of Fedora 7 should work "out of the box" with the fglrx 8.39.4 driver. For help and discussion, check out our AMD/ATI Linux Forum.
With the fglrx 8.39.4 driver (or newer), there's a chance you may run into a watermark (similar to the AMD testing watermark) saying that your hardware is unsupported when in fact it is supported. If you run into this unsupported hardware watermark, it's likely that /etc/ati/control is missing. If that's the case for you, try reinstalling the driver or manually copying the control file. The driver contents can be extracted using the --extract argument and the control file is located in common/etc/ati/. If you experience this problem, create a thread in the Phoronix Forums with what distribution you are using and how you had installed the driver initially (and whether adding the control file had removed the watermark).
This morning AMD has re-released the 8.39.4 fglrx driver after it was taken down last week over watermark problems. This latest 8.39.4 revision available from the AMD website should properly produce the needed signature to remove this small annoyance from the display. No other changes had went into this release. If you run into any problems with the 8.39.4 driver, be sure to stop by the Phoronix Forums.
If you've been experiencing the AMD watermark issue with the 8.39.4 Linux driver, there is an unofficial workaround to correct this problem. As is outlined in this Phoronix Forums post, you can obtain the signature value from the ATI/AMD driver package and then manually place it in /etc/ati/signature to remove the "testing use only" watermark. This is not the official workaround sanctioned by AMD and the 8.39.4 fglrx driver was removed from the AMD website earlier today. Find out more in the Phoronix Forums.
Last month was an odd month where an aticonfig issue had caused two fglrx display drivers to be released in the same month (8.38.6 and 8.38.7). Though it seems the AMD release train has run off the tracks once more and we'll probably see another driver out of the AMD camp in the coming days. If you're using the distribution-specific packaging scripts or obtaining the fglrx driver from a distribution repository, it's recommended to not upgrade to fglrx v8.39.4. While not an issue that will harm you, you'll be stuck with an AMD watermark in the bottom right hand corner of the screen that reads "Testing use only".
Today AMD had released the 8.39.4 display driver, which offers support for Fedora 7 and also corrects some bugs. However, at least one serious issue has crept into this driver. If you are running the fglrx driver right now, chances are there's a black and green watermark in the lower right hand corner of your screen that says "AMD Testing Use Only". This watermark is only supposed to display on internal/beta fglrx builds.
Over the past several days we have seen some interesting developments with the Avivo driver due to the increased performance (attributed to shadow frame-buffer support). In the past five hours we have seen six commits to the xf86-video-avivo driver. These commits all pertain to avivotool with some of the changes being to dump 128 bytes of EDID data instead of 64 bytes, verbose i2c information, and making i2c more reliable. Additional information is available from the driver gitweb page.
Last week we reported that version 0.1.0 of the Avivo driver would soon be released and that following day were several noteworthy commits to the driver such as new PCI IDs added and cleaning up the code. Over the weekend, Alexander Larsson has added shadow frame-buffer support. To use the Shadow frame-buffer with the Avivo driver using the latest code from git, the ShadowFB boolean option needs to be added to the device section of the xorg.conf. Jerome Glisse has also fixed the 15 and 16 bits screen color depth with the driver.
Yesterday we told you that the Avivo 0.1 driver will be out shortly, and in the past 24 hours now we have seen a number of commits to the Avivo git. There have been eight commits in the past day that range from adding a number of new PCI IDs, removing the FB manager, cleaning up the initialization code, and properly using the Avivo scaler. In total there are now 68 ATI Radeon X100 "R500" GPUs supported. Last month we posted an article on the open-source ATI R500 driver. You can discuss this driver in the Phoronix Forums.
Jerome Glisse has passed along word that version 0.1.0 of the Avivo Driver will soon be released. This open-source R500 and R600 driver for the ATI Radeon X1000 (and eventually Radeon HD 2000) hardware will have support for some shadow things and will be at least as fast as the VESA driver currently along with a few additional fixes. New PCI IDs for other Radeon R500 parts will also be added in Avivo 0.1.0. Jerome mentioned that this should be a good release for deeper and wider testing especially with RandR 1.2.
The very first (and very rudimentary) open-source Xorg driver for the ATI Radeon X1000 "R500" series has been released! However, before downloading it, this driver only contains code to initialize and set video modes on the Radeon X1300 to X1600 graphics cards. RandR 1.2 support for the R500 driver is being worked on and may surface shortly. Their current road-map is for getting the Radeon X1600 to X1900 series initialize using this driver, add the RandR 1.2 support, add simple 2D acceleration, work on R500 3D reverse engineering, and implement TTM DRM for memory management. Today's first open-source driver release for the R500 series is available through git on FreeDesktop.org. As this driver progresses we will provide additional information and ultimately benchmarks. The release announcement can be read on the Xorg list.
David Airlie has pointed out on his blog that a lot of work has been done on the Radeon randr-1.2 branch to make it a lot more useful, as after Radeon 6.7, the randr-1.2 branch will be merged with the Radeon X.Org driver and 6.7 will be the last release to support mergedFB mode. Airlie also mentioned that a ATI 6.6.192 pre-release is now available. This is a driver for X server 1.3 and includes a lot of fixes made since the last release candidate.
Known to enthusiasts as "Barcelona" for months, AMD's first quad-core processor series has received its new product name. AMD will not be using any "Athlon" tag with their quad-core parts but instead will be known as "Phenom". While the AMD Phenom processors are not yet available, they will be so shortly. The AMD Phenom announcement can be read in the AMD Press Room. Will The AMD Phenom processors be "Phenom"-enal? You'll need to wait to find out.
AMD has now officially announced the Radeon HD 2000 "R600" generation of graphics cards (also the first to be branded AMD instead of ATI). Two press releases were issued about these new mobile and desktop GPUs, which can be read here and here. There is also a new product page for the ATI HD 2000 Graphics Family. The Phoronix technical preview (with Linux words) on the HD 2000 family can be read in our AMD Radeon HD 2900XT Preview. You can also share this Phoronix article here and discuss it in the Phoronix Forums.
According to Chris Blizzard, taking place at this year's Red Hat Summit is word from AMD's Henri Richard who has made known their commitment on improving their fglrx Linux drivers. More information to come soon.
After multiple delays and going through numerous revisions, the ATI/AMD R600 (Radeon 2000 series) GPU family is finally scheduled for released towards the middle of May (circa May 14). Earlier this week some new Microsoft Windows benchmarks for the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT surfaced which shows this high-end GPU outperforming NVIDIA's flagship 8800 series. But how well will the Radeon HD 2000 series run under Linux? We have been reporting for several months that we know for a fact ATI/AMD has been working on prompt fglrx R600 support after the troubles that had occurred with the R500 (X1000) series support. However, will the performance in the new fglrx drivers be any better for the R600 series than it was for the inaugural R500 support? Will AMD schedule its new Catalyst driver rewrite for Linux at the same as the R600 launch? Under Linux with the respective binary blobs, what will be the NVIDIA equivalent to the HD 2900 XT and HD 2900 XTX when it comes to the straight-up performance? While we will answer all of these questions after the R600 launch, you can share your thoughts on the potential ATI/AMD R600 impact on Linux in the Phoronix Forums.
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