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.
Phoronix Forum member Pinx had spotted a new entry in the AMD Customer Care Knowledge-base. This entry was created on April 2 and then was last modified on April 8. In this entry they finally (publicly) acknowledge no support for AIGLX, Beryl, Compiz, MythTV, and TV TIME by the fglrx Linux drivers. The entry can be read here. Remember, things can change and they still can add the support :)
The AMD Catalyst Control Center for Linux is now available. This fireglcontrolpanel replacement ships with the fglrx 8.35.5 driver (released minutes ago) and has a ton of features. We have all of the details and plenty of screenshots covered at Phoronix. The new driver and AMD Catalyst Control Center Linux Edition (AMDCCCLE) can be discussed in the Phoronix Forums. Please Digg here.
The ATI 6.6.191 display driver has been released. No no, not the fglrx blob but instead a new release for the open-source ATI Radeon display driver. The ATI 6.6.191 release is a driver in the path to the ATI v6.7.0. The 6.6.191 driver contains major rewrites of the output subsystem and other changes. RandR 1.2 code will be merged with the ATI Radeon driver once X.Org 7.3 is out. The release announcement can be found at FreeDesktop.org.
Many Linux users have expressed concern over ATI's Catalyst Linux drivers for various reasons, but most of these users seem to be taking the wrong approach. These users express their disapproval and seek improvements by flaming on forums, forming petitions, bombarding the BugZilla, and using the ATI feedback form. However, this isn't really effective. On Michael's Phoronix web-blog he has outlined some strategies for actively engaging ATI/AMD's OEM/ODM/AIB partners in seeking Linux display driver improvements. He also states that at least one major OEM is interested in improved Linux drivers, but they are afraid of adverse effects to the Windows Catalyst drivers.
Today I heard from Daniel Stone who is one of the people working on the R500 reverse engineering. At this point they are still in the early stages of this new driver but within a few weeks they hope the register dumps will become useful... More Information.
AMD has today launched the new 690 series Chipset. The AMD 690 Chipset incorporates a ATI Radeon X1250 GPU (including Avivo!) and much more for use with AMD processors. The AMD press release is available here. Phoronix will be covering the AMD 690 Chipset under Linux in the near future.
David Airlie has announced from his blog that he has merged the ATI RandR 1.2 code into the ATI tree in the 1.2 branch. In his blog entry he had also expressed disappointment for this code as it relies upon the old Radeon system with two CRTCs to two outputs. As a result, Airlie has started his own randr-1.2-tng branch.
AMD 8.34.8 Display Driver Review. Forum Link. AMD Linux Link.
If you are interested in running the AMD fglrx display drivers with Fedora 7 (Test 1), Michael Larabel is providing details on this process at MichaelLarabel.com. At the time of posting this news entry, he is still working on verifying that the new packaging scripts are working with Fedora 7. Stay tuned.
It looks like AMD/ATI is working on improving the fireglcontrolpanel, which right now lacks a ton of functionality. However, reports are saying that AMD is working on a new Qt Catalyst Control Panel for Linux, which is rumored to be completed by the end of the calendar year. More information is available in the Phoronix Forums.
Coming across this Digg article yesterday afternoon I found many of the comments to be quite inaccurate (and in some cases comical). A majority of the comments consisted of users bashing the fglrx drivers by typing a variety of obscenities. Those that had bothered to explain themselves were mostly disturbed due to the lack of Composite and Beryl/Compiz support. But does this really equate to the driver being evil and ATI/AMD not caring about their customers? Additional comments on this situation can be read at MichaelLarabel.com.
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