If Catalyst 9.12 for Linux and its changes didn't deliver on what you wanted for your Christmas wishes, perhaps this change to their open-source driver does deliver on one of your hopes. The ATI R600/700 open-source 3D stack should now be OpenGL 2.0 compatible (compared to OpenGL 1.5 previously) and the GLSL (GL Shading Language) support should be "mostly" completed.
AMD has today delivered their last proprietary Linux driver update for the year, Catalyst 9.12. However, if you were hoping Catalyst 9.12 would deliver on some of your holiday wishes, guess again. There still is no pure, usable XvBA support besides using the VA-API to XvBA wrapper and the Catalyst 9.12 driver just doesn't bring much. There is though one small addition and that is a few options have been added to the AMD Catalyst Control Center Linux Edition.
Over the past month or so there has been a lot of work done by Rafał Miłecki and other open-source driver developers in providing open-source power management support under the ATI Radeon DRM code-base. In fact, the power management support has been the hold-up for moving the Radeon kernel mode-setting support out of the staging area of the Linux kernel, which is expected to still happen with the Linux 2.6.33 kernel.
On Monday we will be publishing our results from the 2009 Linux Graphics Survey, but when looking over the results there is one set of numbers in particular that jumped out (though there are a few other interesting figures too). Below is a prelude to the Phoronix survey results that will be published on Monday. The below graph shows how the ~14,000 respondents during our month-long survey responded to what Linux graphics survey driver they were using.
David Airlie, the Linux kernel DRM maintainer and the Red Hat employee responsible for a good portion of the open-source ATI Linux driver work, has announced changes in how he will be handling his DRM kernel branches and the addition of some new branches for ATI customers wishing to experiment with the latest Radeon driver code.
One of the underlying features that has been lacking from the ATI R600/700 DRM / kernel mode-setting driver on Linux has been support for interrupts, which is needed for the sync-to-vblank operation and other important areas. Interrupts support has been lacking since AMD has not yet published any documentation concerning them for the Radeon HD 2000, 3000, and 4000 series ASICs, but today their code has cleared the legal review process for publishing. AMD's Alex Deucher has just pushed out the code that enables the use of interrupts for R600/700 graphics processors via a ring buffer. This interrupts support also requires two new firmware files to be loaded by the open-source driver.
David Airlie has announced on his blog that he and Alex Deucher have finally got support for DisplayPort-driven graphics cards and monitors working with the open-source ATI Linux driver stack. Not only is there user-space mode-setting support via the xf86-video-ati DDX driver, but the kernel mode-setting for this latest monitor interface is working too. David had been working on DisplayPort support some months ago, but today DisplayPort monitors are finally lighting up and working correctly with the latest ATI driver code.
While OpenGL acceleration and GPU-assisted video playback are often most viewed as the areas that are severely lacking for the open-source Linux graphics drivers in comparison to what the binary-only ATI/NVIDIA drivers offer, another area that has not yet caught up to speed with the binary competition is power management. For years (going back to 2005) AMD has implemented PowerPlay support in their fglrx driver for dynamically clocking the GPU and memory clocks along with adjusting the voltages accordingly, based upon the user's input and then later generations of PowerPlay are more dynamic in nature. NVIDIA also supports their PowerMizer technology on Linux for dynamically clocking their GPUs/memory and voltages based upon the graphics processor's load.
Today AMD finally lifted the lid on Hemlock, their new ultra high-end dual-GPU graphics card that is being marketed as the Radeon HD 5970 (similar to the Radeon HD 4870 X2 but now for the Evergreen GPU family). The Radeon HD 5970 has 3200 stream processors (1600 per Cypress GPU), a combined 2GB of GDDR5 video memory, and AMD Eyefinity support for driving three displays simultaneously. The ATI/AMD Radeon HD 5970 is also quite a large graphics card measuring in at just under 33 cm!
AMD has today pushed out their Catalyst 9.11 Linux driver. This release contains support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and initial support for OpenSuSE 11.2 along with a handful of minor bug-fixes. This release does also contain proper support for the Radeon HD 5750 and Radeon HD 5770 graphics cards so that users do not encounter the "unsupported hardware" watermark any longer. Beyond that there isn't much to look at nor are there any XvBA improvements.
Intel and AMD have jointly announced this morning that they have decided to stop fighting each other and have settled all outstanding legal disputes. These fights, of course, have been over anti-trust litigation, patent disputes, and other matters that have been burdening both companies for the past years.
Available over at AMD.com is now the Catalyst 9.10 Linux driver update. The release notes for this driver have yet to be uploaded there, but the Catalyst 9.10 Linux driver offers support for arbitrary transformations with RandR 1.3, support for loading the fglrx kernel module when an open-source DRM kernel module is still loaded, a fix for the fglrx kernel module when using DKMS 2.1.0, an AMDCCCLE menu item issue has been resolved, support for the Radeon HD 5750/5770 Juniper graphics cards, and other bug fixes. Catalyst 9.10 also contains a major advancement too, which will be exposed in the near future. That's all for now.
While at the same time as churning out the R600/700 3D code and beginning to work on the R800 2D/mode-setting code, AMD's open-source developers have released an updated R500 3D programming guide. Early last year AMD released its R500 3D programming documentation and since then they have made updates along with releasing R600/700 3D documentation. This morning though we are greeted by a new update to AMD's R500 3D programming guide.
AMD has released the fourth beta of the ATI Stream SDK 2.0, which provides a complete OpenCL development platform with OpenCL ATI GPU support for the ATI Radeon HD 4000/5000 series. Besides running OpenCL on the GPU, this ATI SDK also supports running OpenCL on SSE3-capable, multi-core CPUs from both AMD and Intel too. The ATI Stream SDK is available for x86 and x86_64 Linux, with OpenSuSE 11.0 and Ubuntu 9.04 being officially supported.
Just this morning we were talking about the lack of activity within the RadeonHD and Nouveau drivers, but as luck would have it, this afternoon the xf86-video-radeonhd 1.3.0 driver has been released. This is the first RadeonHD driver release since April.
There's already a fair amount of DRM changes in the Linux 2.6.32 kernel including ATI R600/700 KMS and 3D support, but now nearly half-way into the Linux 2.6.32 development cycle there is a huge pull request of new ATI kernel mode-setting code.
While the Linux 2.6.31 kernel brought initial support for ATI kernel mode-setting support with graphics cards up through the ATI Radeon X1000 series (and the Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 support coming with the Linux 2.6.32 kernel), the KMS driver is not complete. There is still a fair amount of work ahead when it comes to in-kernel power management, and other areas, including HDMI support. Fortunately though, the HDMI support for ATI kernel mode-setting is moving along.
In the early hours of this morning AMD officially launched the ATI Radeon HD 5800 graphics cards series, currently made up of the Radeon HD 5850 and Radeon HD 5870. Both of these graphics cards are based upon their next-generation Evergreen (RV880) graphics core that brings significant improvements over the RV770 that was launched last July with the Radeon HD 4800 series. Early reviews on these high-end ATI graphics cards have been quite positive, but how's the Linux support? Well, to much dismay, we have to report that we aren't even sure.
A day after they had some press event where they showed off a 24 monitor setup running Linux (we weren't there), AMD has today released the Catalyst 9.9 driver for Linux. This driver, which is still behind the Ubuntu-Catalyst 9.10 driver that has support for the Linux 2.6.31 kernel and other improvements, has just one new feature: support for new Linux operating systems.
While the Radeon R100-R500 series kernel mode-setting support appeared in the Linux 2.6.31 kernel and DRM patches pending for the Linux 2.6.32 kernel that bring KMS support for newer hardware and other improvements, the ATI KMS driver is not complete. Features such as power management need to be brought into the kernel driver (for Intel too) where they will be better off compared to the traditional DDX drivers. However, that ATI KMS power management support is now further underway with a set of patches published today to the DRI development list.
Today AMD issued a press release that they have "demonstrated the PC's next act" with the unveiling of their ATI Eyefinity multi-display technology. This technology, to be found on their next-generation R800 series hardware, allow "up to 12 times 1080p high-definition resolution, which approaches eye-definition optical clarity." Well, what does that mean? Just watch the video below. You may have seen other AMD Eyefinity demos come out today, but the recording below is a Linux-based demo.
While the open-source X.Org developers that focus on the xf86-video-ati DDX driver have been working on the 6.13 driver as the next feature release for this driver, a new (major) bug-fix release is now available. The xf86-video-ati 6.12.3 driver brings support for X.Org 7.5 along with bug-fixes ranging from AGP quirks to adding missing PCI IDs to other fixes.
David Airlie has pushed a horde of new code into his drm-next Git tree, which is what will get pulled into the Linux 2.6.32 kernel once the merge window is open. Most prominently, this new DRM code brings support for kernel mode-setting with R600 class hardware as well as 3D support. Of course, to benefit from those features, you will also need the latest libdrm, Mesa, and xf86-video-ati DDX code too.
It's taken quite a while, but AMD has finally delivered support for the Linux 2.6.29 kernel within their Catalyst driver. The Linux 2.6.29 kernel was released in March, but it has taken until today for AMD to release any support for this kernel. However, at the same time, they have also released support for the Linux 2.6.30 kernel, which arrived back in June. The Linux 2.6.31 kernel will now soon be released, but with Catalyst 9.8 there is no such support. There will, however, have to be support for this kernel by Catalyst 9.10 for inclusion with the next Ubuntu release.
Last month the engineers at AMD managed to put out public, NDA-free documentation that covered the SB700/710/750 Chipsets. This south-bridge documentation is not nearly as exciting as seeing a new ATI graphics processors be documented in the public, but it does greatly help out the CoreBoot developers in enabling support for their BIOS project to run on systems with such hardware. This afternoon though there is RS780 Chipset documents for the CoreBoot developers and the general public.
As part of their Stream 2.0 Beta, AMD announced yesterday their OpenCL (Open Computing Language) Software Development Kit designed for multi-core x86 CPUs. They have submitted this SDK to the Khronos Group for certification, but it is available now. This OpenCL SDK, which is part of Stream 2.0, is available for both Windows and Linux. When it comes to AMD's Linux support, they are currently supporting this new SDK under OpenSuSE 11.0 and Ubuntu 8.04 LTS.
Back in March we shared that the open-source ATI driver had gained support for the unreleased ATI RS880 IGP. Well, the RS880 ended up being turned into the 785G due to some problems on AMD's side, but today this new, much more powerful IGP has launched. With that said, another commit made to the xf86-video-ati driver today finishes off the support. The RS880 / 785G IGPs are now properly recognized and the 2D acceleration support is complete.
While we just shared that there are now patches available that introduce HDMI audio support for the xf86-video-ati driver, the RadeonHD driver has picked up improvements for power management, an area where previously the xf86-video-ati driver was in a better position. Novell's Matthias Hopf added some power management support for an area of the AtomBIOS that he had reverse engineered, after AMD hadn't provided any public documentation on the matter.
Ever since the RadeonHD driver switched to using AtomBIOS, there has been little in the way of feature differences between the xf86-video-ati and xf86-video-radeonhd drivers. One of the few differences though is that Novell's RadeonHD driver has had HDMI audio support so that with the R600 GPUs and later, which contain an integrated audio processor, there is audio support for capable HDMI devices when also using a supported version of ALSA. The RadeonHD driver has supported the HDMI audio for some months now, while the other driver has not, but finally this work has been ported over.
It's a bit late in the month, but AMD has just released the ATI Catalyst 9.7 driver update for Linux. Officially, the only new feature in Catalyst 9.7 is production support for Red Flag DT 7.0, but there are some bug-fixes too. The bug-fixes range from segmentation fault fixes to addressing some monitor / RandR problems. This is not mentioned in the change-log, but there should be some composite support improvements (including video tearing fixes) within the Catalyst Linux release too. Overall though this is just another month with few changes that are visible to the end-user.
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