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ATi Support on infinityOS

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  • ATi Support on infinityOS

    Hey, I created a Linux distribution called infinityOS, centered on multimedia retreval and playback. I have recieved a lot of criticism in the last few weeks for not officially supporting ATi cards as I felt - due to experiences of friends - that the drivers are subpar.

    Since I've heard that the latest drivers work much better, I was just wondering if you guys could give me a rundown of how well the newest ATi drivers (10.3) run on infinityOS/Ubuntu Karmic.

    I'd be looking for things like:
    • How well does the upscaling work?
    • What is the performance of the video modes (ie. xv and gl) in SMPlayer?
    • How do popular games run under Wine (such as World of Warcraft and Spore)?
    • Is V-sync properly supported?
    • Is xorg.conf configuration needed for proper operation?

    If all goes well, I could add the instructions to get the very latest drivers (I will not be supporting the drivers that come with Karmic and are installed through Jockey/Hardware Drivers as they have been demonstrated to be buggy) to my FAQs and officially support them. Also, if someone was to package the latest drivers and post their package on Launchpad, I would be more than happy to add it to my repos.

    I will be more than happy to support the latest ATi drivers if I know that they concretely work for the functions and features in my distribution. Unfortunately, I do not have access to an ATi video card, nor do I have the funds to buy one, so I'll have to rely on the community to tell me if they work.

    Ryan Oram

    PS You can get infinityOS from

  • #2
    One of my friends was gracious enough to lend me a HD 2550, so I will be testing it for the next week in my media center.

    The open-source Radeon drivers have greatly impressed me. They support XV out of the box so that video files, even 720p HD, may be played without binary drivers. This is much better than the situation faced with the "nv" open source drivers, that are the default for Nvidia graphics cards in Ubuntu.

    As other sources indicate that the Radeon drivers are of high-quality, I have decided to unconditionally support all ATi cards that are supported by the Radoen drivers. This is virtually all ATi cards on the market today. The download page on the infinityOS has been updated to reflect this.

    I still have yet to test the newest official ATi drivers, though.


    • #3
      The "XV" video doesn't look as "clean" with the fglrx (closed source ATi) drivers as with the open source drivers. Therefore, I am going to recommend that you use the open source drivers over the fglrx drivers, except in circumstances where you need a feature that the open source drivers do not have.

      I'm going to wait a bit before I "officially" support the newest fglrx drivers, but I very likely will support them.


      • #4
        The video quality is strikingly better when using the open source Radeon drivers. I will not be officially supporting the fglrx drivers as the image quality is poor. You may download and install them on your own, however. The drivers do run to their full capacity, just that full capacity does not match the open source drivers when it comes to video.

        Noe: Mods please combine the last three posts. Thanks.


        • #5
          The most simple way to install gfx drivers with Debian/Ubuntu should be

          rm -f /etc/X11/xorg.conf*

          and then execute my script:

          I currently install the latest opengl 4 preview driver. I hope that there will be soon an official download link for 10-4, so i can support squeeze/lucid again which is currently not possible. karmic however should do.

          Did you try:


          • #6
            I used the rvm builds for MPlayer and removed my xorg.conf file before I installed the drivers.


            • #7
              I don't know what build you mean, but my script allows the usage of vaapi - it compiles/installs always the latest versions possible. The mplayer build is just a bit outdated, no idea when it will be updated again. The vaapi patch used is a bit suboptimal that svn up breaks it sometimes even the same day. Did you try vaapi or not? xv is not really useful only gl with forced vsync (amdcccle).


              • #8
                Hmm, if ATi cards do not support XV V-sync, they are missing a fundamental feature and there is no way I can officially support them in my distribution.

                Honestly at this point, the best course of action is to abandon the fglrx drivers. They are fundamentally broken and would likely need a complete rewrite to repair them.

                ATi could release the documentation for all the technology they own. I'm sure the open source community would be more than happy to reverse engineer the rest.

                There is also nothing stopping ATi from directly assisting with the Radeon driver development themselves. The Radeon drivers have gotten to the point that they are good enough for 95% of usage scenarios, and are presently a much better base for development.


                • #9
                  I don't get your point with the documentation as it is there and ati/redhat devs work with it. xv was usually the first that works after modesetting - it just does not work with hd 5 series yet. xv was ok for long time with radeon oss driver (radeonhd has the same issues as fglrx). What's the big problem with your distro using opengl for video output? I know that some apps do not allow that, but xbmc, mplayer, vlc can all use it - just that the speed of a lowend card can be too slow...


                  • #10
                    Documentation :

                    We have three developers working on the open source drivers, two full time (Alex, Richard) and one part time (Cooper). We've been actively supporting the open source drivers for a few years now.

                    Remember that the fglrx driver was first and foremost aimed at the 3D workstation market (hence the name, derived from FireGL) although we have been gradually ramping up support for consumer use cases over the last couple of years.

                    At the moment you should be using GL output rather than Xv for best results, and the video decode acceleration is also intended for use with OpenGL output.