David Airlie as part of his work at Red Hat has been rewriting a fair chunk of the Radeon 3D driver support in Mesa. In the radeon-rewrite branch of Mesa, David has been adding support for bufmgr to all three of the Radeon 3D drivers (going back to the ATI R100/200 series) while working with our without a kernel memory manager. With this rewritten code, it's also being worked on for adding DRI2 and FBO (Frame Buffer Object) support. This work is also needed for the GEM (Graphics Execution Manager) support.
Late last year AMD had released R600/700 3D code and in late January had then released R600 3D register documentation to begin work on an open-source driver stack supporting the latest ATI Radeon GPUs with 3D acceleration. One of AMD's partners in this open-source work has been Novell, which wrote an open-source utility to begin sending 3D commands to the GPU in a very primitive form and to analyze the different operations. This utility is called r600_demo, which we explain in full detail here.
Alex Deucher has announced a new release candidate for the next xf86-video-ati driver release. The xf86-video-ati 6.11 release has a major rework when it comes to the display output code along with a memory corruption fix for the ATI RS780 memory controller. There are also quite a few bug-fixes in this first xf86-video-ati 6.11 RC1 build. The full change-log can be found on the X.Org mailing list.
AMD this morning has announced five new Phenom II processors. What is special about these processors, however, is that they use the Socket AM3 and they support DDR3 system memory rather than the DDR2 memory type they had long been using. There are Phenom II X3 and Phenom II X4 processors that now support DDR3 memory. Of course, with these new AM3 processors from AMD you will need a new supportive motherboard. Sadly, however, we have none of these new Phenom II processors from Linux so we are unable to tell you anything about their Linux support -- no performance figures or even if they work at all. Hopefully the troubles aren't there like when the Phenom was first introduced on Linux.
In late December, AMD had released open-source R600/700 code used to begin supporting 2D and 3D acceleration for the latest ATI graphics processors under Linux using an open-source stack. This code in its initial form just provided basic but fast 2D acceleration and on the 3D side was only able to draw triangles. This month an AMD Video BIOS Disassembler was released by Novell, which is one of AMD's open-source partners. This evening, however, AMD has released its R600 3D specifications to the general public.
AMD's Alex Deucher has announced the release of the xf86-video-ati 6.10.0 driver. This open-source ATI graphics driver update brings forth bi-cubic scaling on R300/400/500/690 chipsets, new ASICs are supported by this DDX driver, reduced X-Video tearing, and quite a few bug-fixes.
It's been nearly six months since xf86-video-ati 6.9.0 was released, but we're finally nearing a new version of this open-source ATI driver. David Airlie has announced the release of the first xf86-video-ati 6.9.1 release candidate.
David Airlie has shared that he's been working on the TV-Out support for the xf86-video-ati driver on the newer card generations. Last year there was Radeon TV-Out support for the older ATI graphics cards, but David Airlie now has it working on the R500/600 series and is about ready with the R700 series support.
While the Novell developers responsible for the xf86-video-radeonhd driver have been busy working on OpenSuSE 11.1, we have managed to get a new driver point release before the end of the year. Matthias Hopf has this morning announced the availability of the RadeonHD 1.2.4 driver.
While there still is no open-source R600/700 3D documentation or code, Pierre Ossman and AMD's Alex Deucher working on the xf86-video-ati driver have added a feature that should please those with already supported GPUs. They have added what should be tear-free X-Video support!
AMD has yet to go through their final intellectual property review on the R600/700 3D documentation that could yield open ATI R600/700 3D graphics by Christmas (though the chances of this happening are slimming), but Novell's Hatthias Hopf has provided a status update to report that they have internally begun work on an RV770 DRI driver for Mesa.
Egbert Eich has announced this morning on the RadeonHD mailing list that rotation support has been added to this open-source ATI R500+ driver. This is a feature requested by many to be able to rotate the screen using RandR with the xf86-video-radeonhd driver, which is now possible. It is recommended that if you're using the rotation option that you use EXA acceleration. In addition, the panning mode currently isn't supported when using the rotation support. This support can currently be found in git master and will appear in the next stable release of the RadeonHD driver.
Earlier this month we shared that an experimental ATI DRI2 driver had emerged that offered Direct Rendering Infrastructure 2 support to the open-source ATI Linux driver with GEM and TTM bits. Today though Compiz is now working with this ATI DRI2 code.
In addition to announcing the Shanghai Quad-Core Opterons today, AMD has also released an updated Linux graphics driver. The AMD Catalyst 8.11 binary driver though doesn't have many Linux changes worth speaking about. The advertised features for this release is support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.7 (RHEL 4.7), a CrossFireX watermark, and display scaling support for DVI/HDMI/analog interfaces to 480i/p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p.
As the successor to their Barcelona Quad-Core Opterons, Advanced Micro Devices has this morning announced Shanghai. AMD's Shanghai is the code-name to their next-generation 45nm quad-core Opteron processors. In addition to moving over to a 45nm process for reduced power and improved performance, Shanghai CPUs are slated to deliver unsurpassed virtualization performance, improved energy efficiency, and a more competitive price-performance ratio.
Yesterday we shared about the experimental DRI2 work for the Radeon driver and today we have another open-source ATI accomplishment worth sharing: the R600/770 DRI support is nearing a working state. Matthias Hopf, one of the Novell developers working on the xf86-video-radeonhd driver, has stated that the Direct Rendering Infrastructure (DRI) support needed for 3D acceleration with the R600/700 series is getting closer.
It's been a while since Jerome Glisse last had any major announcements to share, but today he's announcing that he is in the progress of bringing DRI2 (Direct Rendering Infrastructure 2) to the open-source Radeon driver.
When reviewing the Radeon HD 4670 and Radeon HD 4550 we found neither solution to be open-source friendly. Due to changes between the RV770 that powers the Radeon HD 4800 series and the newer RV710 and RV730 GPUs, these graphics cards wouldn't cooperate with the xf86-video-ati and xf86-video-radeonhd drivers.
Last week new RadeonHD HDMI audio patches were released by an independent developer that allows the integrated audio processor on ATI R600+ graphics cards to be used over HDMI using the open-source RadeonHD driver (xf86-video-radeonhd). Today those patches have landed in the master branch of this X.Org driver. Some registers had to be reverse engineered because AMD hasn't released the documentation surrounding HDMI audio, but this support is known to work on at least several different card series. Check out the master branch of xf86-video-radeonhd for this committed work.
Christian König has released his latest HDMI audio patch on the RadeonHD mailing list. With the ATI R600 GPUs and later having an integrated APU (Audio Processing Unit), when using an HDMI connector it's possible to use your Radeon graphics card for sound too. There's been patches in ALSA for the sound support, but additional code is needed within the open-source X.Org drivers too. At this time neither the xf86-video-ati or xf86-video-radeonhd have support for the integrated audio, but on the RadeonHD side there have been these patches maintained by Christian.
If you thought disputes among X.Org developers were going to stop in regards to there being two leading ATI drivers (xf86-video-ati and xf86-video-radeonhd) after RadeonHD switched to using AtomBIOS, guess again. Daniel Stone committed a change to the X Server this morning that drops the RadeonHD driver from the X.Org module build infrastructure.
Yesterday we reported on Canonical shipping an unreleased ATI Catalyst driver with the forthcoming release of Ubuntu 8.10. This driver labeled fglrx 8.54.3 adds support for X Server 1.5 / X.Org 7.4 and the Linux 2.6.27 kernel. Later in the day then, AMD did go ahead and release Catalyst 8.10. However, this isn't the same driver as what's found in Ubuntu.
With Canonical publishing the ATI Catalyst 8.10 driver even before it's been announced by AMD or appearing on their driver download page, we've taken this opportunity for an early look at this next Linux driver. In early September we confirmed XvMC and UVD are coming to ATI's Linux driver and that it would be enabled in the October driver. Looking at the default AMDPCSDB (AMD Persistent Configuration Driver Store Data-Base) in this driver for Ubuntu 8.10 there is indeed the Unified Video Decoder (2) option and it's enabled.
Behind open-source 3D acceleration for the ATI R600 and R700 series, improved power management has been a much sought after feature among those using the open-source xf86-video-ati and xf86-video-radeonhd drivers. There has been Dynamic Clocks support since earlier this year, but it's not nearly as advanced PowerPlay found within the Catalyst driver. We are now though getting closer to reaching open-source PowerPlay support.
Since Advanced Micro Devices acquired ATI Technologies back in 2006 they have experienced some financial hardship over this $5 billion USD purchase. In hopes of turning around this situation, AMD has announced this morning they have split themselves from their manufacturing facilities as part of their Asset Smart strategy.
LM_Sensors 3.0.3 was just released earlier this week, but a rather interesting patch has appeared today on the LM_Sensors mailing list. Back in July an AMD Phenom Thermal Linux driver was made for LM_Sensors, but today's patch adds the AMD Phenom 10h support to the k8temp driver. Additionally, this patch also provides thermal monitoring support for AMD's 11h processors.
After slides had leaked out onto the Internet last month that AMD is going to support playing high-definition multimedia content on Linux, we had talked a bit more about UVD for Linux. There are two shared libraries already shipping with the AMD Catalyst Linux Suite, libAMDXvBA.so.1.o and libXvBAW.so.1.o, that reference XvMC and UVD2 (Unified Video Decoder 2) but they aren't yet being utilized by the proprietary driver. If those slides are to be believed, however, the official high-definition video support (such as Blu-Ray) will arrive this month in Catalyst 8.10.
With the most recent Catalyst 8.9 Linux driver release there is support for MultiView on FireGL and FirePRO graphics cards. This allows the user to use multiple graphics cards together in order to build a single X server that spans all of these displays. With some motherboards such as the ASUS P5E64 WS Professional having four PCI Express x16 slots, you can have four graphics cards and if each one provides two DVI ports you then can have yourself an eight-monitor setup. Each monitor can be configured through the AMD Catalyst Control Center Linux Edition.
Last month the Catalyst 8.8 Linux driver was released with CrossFire For Linux (including support for the Radeon HD 4870 X2) and OverDrive-based overclocking. In that article we also shared two new interesting libraries appeared within the driver package: libAMDXvBA.so.1.o and libXvBAW.so.1.o.
This week marks the one year anniversary since AMD had announced its open-source strategy and in two weeks will mark the anniversary of the xf86-video-radeonhd code release that contained R500 and R600 mode-setting support, but not much more. Celebrating this one year milestone was a celebration with Luc Verhaegen, Jerome Glisse, and Egbert Eich during XDS 2008 at the The Bad Ass pub in Edinburgh, Scotland.
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