For those of you not interested in today's ATI Catalyst 10.5 for Linux driver, if you pull the very latest open-source ATI Radeon Linux graphics driver stack there is now tiling support for the R600/700 (Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 series) graphics processors.
AMD has just put out their Catalyst 10.5 Linux driver update. Unfortunately, there isn't anything too exciting in this release.
The R600 Gallium3D driver for ATI Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 graphics cards is not yet in a state for testing by end-users unlike the R300 Gallium3D driver that is running great these days. However, it is slowly getting there.
For years we have been talking about open-source ATI Radeon power management for their Linux driver and it's finally all coming to fruition. Back in April of 2008 we talked about dynamic clocks coming to R500+ ASICs and various other initiatives to improve the Radeon power management in their DDX driver, but everything got shook up with the migration to their ATI kernel mode-setting driver, which finally now allows for real power management capabilities.
Last year a new set of DRI2 extensions came about for sync and swap support of display buffers to better reduce potential "tearing" that may appear on displays in some composited environments. This work that's exposed to the client through OpenGL/GLX extensions also can lead to improved performance, video memory savings, and other benefits as talked about extensively on the Composite Swap Wiki page. A new GLX swap event extension also came about out of expressed needs by the Clutter/Mutter developers.
Earlier this week we reported that Novell was finally dropped the RadeonHD driver from openSUSE as they switch to using the xf86-video-ati driver with kernel mode-setting (KMS) support over using their in-house R500/600/700 driver they had developed as part of AMD's initial open-source strategy for Linux. Whenever bringing up the RadeonHD driver at Phoronix it generally leads to a heated discussion in our forums between community members, developers, and other representatives over the history of the RadeonHD driver and what really was its purpose, among other dissenting views.
While early adopters of Ubuntu 10.04 "Lucid Lynx" have had access to the Catalyst 10.4 Linux driver for more than a month (in fact, two pre-releases) this afternoon AMD has officially released their April Linux driver.
The last time we talked about the open-source ATI power management support was a month ago when we shared that the in-kernel Radeon support started to utilize the I2C support and provided GUI idle IRQ support, support for changing the GPU clocks when the engine is idle, and support for turning down the number of active SIMDS when running in a lower power stage for the ATI R600 ASICs and later. Days later the initial thermal monitoring support came about along with other Radeon DRM changes. This month we now have more reliable memory re-clocking support.
If you've been wanting to get involved with the open-source ATI Radeon driver development process or you simply want a better understanding of how the open-source Linux graphics drivers work (particularly for ATI hardware), there's some great reading material for you this morning.
Just hours ago we reported on AMD's position for the Gallium3D driver architecture according to John Bridgman, but some of his comments may now be different considering their Gallium3D adoption plans. After sending off that email with his Gallium3D comments, he learned that the Evergreen (a.k.a. Radeon HD 5000 series) support upbringing will be slightly different than planned.
If you're a member of the Phoronix Forums where John Bridgman, the AMD employee in charge of the open-source ATI graphics strategy, is known to frequently post (with over 4,200 comments) along with many other X.Org developers and AMD employees, you pretty much know what there is to know about their position on Gallium3D and other topics. However, if you don't, this post is for you.
A month ago the Canonical crew working on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS received an unreleased Catalyst 10.4 driver from AMD for inclusion with the Lucid Lynx since the publicly available ATI Catalyst drivers had not -- and to this day still do not -- support the X.Org Server 1.7 used by this next Ubuntu release. Similar pre-releases for Ubuntu have happened in the past when AMD hasn't been quick to the game in supporting new Linux kernels and X Servers. This driver was made available in Ubuntu 10.04 even before Catalyst 10.3 was released. Catalyst 10.4 still has not been publicly released, but another updated 10.4 driver has made its way into the Lucid repository.
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.
More than a year ago AMD rolled out the ATI FirePro V8700 workstation graphics card and months later then pushed out the FirePro V8750 as their new ultra high-end graphics card for those engaging in CAD, imaging, and other tasks. Now though AMD has unveiled the FirePro V8800 series that replaces the V8750 for the top spot.
It's been over a year since the last major release of the ATI X.Org driver, xf86-video-ati 6.12.0, but today the xf86-video-ati 6.13.0 driver has finally replaced this open-source ATI graphics driver.
Woah, here comes a pleasant surprise from AMD with their Catalyst Linux driver. AMD yesterday released a Catalyst 10.3 Linux driver that really didn't bring anything too exciting (and it still doesn't support X.Org Server 1.7), but today they've delivered a new preview driver that's based on Catalyst 10.3 and it brings OpenGL 3.3/4.0 support!
AMD has just put out their monthly update of the Catalyst Linux driver. Though as we already know based upon AMD giving Ubuntu a new driver, the support for X Server 1.7 is not coming until next month, which also offers official Eyefinity support and other changes. As such, Catalyst 10.3 isn't too interesting.
RadeonTool, a open-source utility written by David Airlie and others to tweak GPU registers and dump GPU states, has hit version 1.6.1. This low-level utility that's useful mostly just for developers and those debugging problems with ATI Radeon graphics cards on Linux brings a few new features to the table.
Well, to no surprise the trend of Ubuntu receiving unreleased Catalyst drivers has continued. Since Ubuntu 8.10, AMD has had to supply Canonical with early Catalyst drivers not otherwise publicly available so that they could ship with support for their binary Catalyst driver within the operating system's package repository.
On Sunday we reported that ATI in-kernel power management was moving along after AMD's Alex Deucher spent some time in recent days building upon Rafał Miłecki's initial power management support. Alex's patches added GUI idle IRQ support, support for changing the GPU clocks when the engine is idle, support for turning down the number of active SIMDS when running in a lower power stage for the ATI R600 ASICs and later, and new ASIC specific callback functions. This morning though he's taken the support a bit further.
Alex Deucher this morning put out the xf86-video-ati 6.12.6 point release, which isn't too interesting, but of greater interest he did put out a second release candidate for the forthcoming KMS-capable xf86-video-ati 6.13 DDX driver. There's already a lot to be found with this long-overdue and major xf86-video-ati 6.13 X.Org driver update, but added to this second release candidate (that's officially v6.12.192) is an ATI R600/700 GPU fix that should significantly improve the performance of EXA DFS acceleration.
Power management support within the Linux kernel for the ATI Radeon DRM driver has been in development for months and gone through several revisions, but with the forthcoming Linux 2.6.34 kernel there is initial ATI KMS power management support. For making the power management situation even better, over the weekend Alex Deucher of AMD has been working on another set of patches.
A few months back HDMI audio support came to the ATI Radeon kernel mode-setting driver and while this support is in place with the mainline kernel, it's only supported up through the ATI R600 hardware with the KMS driver. However, HDMI audio support for the R700 (Radeon HD 4000 series) is soon coming. Rafał Miłecki who has done much of the HDMI audio work for the open-source ATI driver stack has shared that he has achieved R700 audio success and the support may land in as soon as the Linux 2.6.34 kernel.
With the Linux 2.6.33 kernel having been released last week where the ATI kernel mode-setting (KMS) DRM code left the kernel's staging area, we knew a new ATI X.Org driver release was imminent. Over the night a new stable DDX driver update has been pushed out for xf86-video-ati as well as a new pre-release for the KMS-supportive 6.13 version that also carries other changes.
The xf86-video-ati 6.12.0 X.Org driver was released in March of 2009. Since then there has been no significant releases of the ATI X.Org driver, but fortunately, a new release is on the way.
This morning we reported on AMD revealing forthcoming Catalyst driver changes, particularly a set of new features that applied to Windows users. However, we hinted that there might be some changes coming to the Linux driver and now Catalyst 10.2 for Linux is out there so we have the first confirmation of what may be to come.
While AMD does not generally reveal planned changes and feature road-maps publicly for their Catalyst driver in advance of the given driver's public release, over the night they have announced a few upcoming changes. Last night AMD issued a press release announcing a set of changes coming for the 10.2 and 10.3 driver releases, which will be released this month and next, respectively.
If using the latest ATI open-source driver Git code for kernel mode-setting, there may be slightly better X-Video support without any visual slowdowns/problems. Pauli Nieminen has changed around the code so that a video buffer is allocated in the GTT (Graphics Translation Table) to provide faster memory operations that haven't been accelerated by KMS.
David Airlie has re-based his drm-radeon-testing tree and there's now a whole lot of new code and features that users can play with and test. The drm-radeon-testing tree is a branch of the Linux kernel and is code for the Radeon DRM area that will ultimately make it into the mainline tree in the Linux 2.6.34 kernel series and later.
After the earlier X talks today and then Luc's debated Linux graphics driver stack proposal (largely between he and Eric Anholt and Daniel Stone with conflicting views, but at least Intel admitting "there's a subset of users we care about and a subset we don't"), Jerome Glisse began talking about ATI Radeon kernel mode-setting and its current state. While most that read Phoronix regularly know the direction of Radeon KMS support for the coming releases, below is Jerome's short-term TODO list for the ATI kernel support.
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