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Some more possibly useful info. Note that you should be able to use DRM from master :
11:23 #radeon: < MostAwesomeDude> (giving credit where appropriate)
Okay. All the r500 guys trying to get direct gears, lemme post my technique.
1) Uninstall your distro's Mesa. Trust me, it's not worth it.
2) Go grab your git trees. You'll want the latest master of xf86-video-ati, and airlied's DRM and Mesa trees.
The branch on airlied's Mesa tree is called r500test, and the branch on the DRM tree is called r500-fp. If you want, you can merge the main masters over those after you get them; the important part is that you have those branches merged.
3) Build and install. Configure them all with "--prefix=/usr" so the linker finds them correctly. (If this bricks you (and it might), you'll want a LiveCD handy so you can reinstall the old Mesa.)
You should confirm that CONFIG_DRM is set to "m" (modules) in your kernel. If not, follow your distro's procedure for getting a custom kernel set up.
Finally, go to the linux-core directory in your DRM tree, and make and install there to get your kernel modules set up.
Now, there's a few r500 chip ids already in Mesa. If yours isn't in there ("unknown chip id" error,) you'll have to add it.
Add your chip in radeon_chipset.h as a PCI_CHIP_RV530 or PCI_CHIP_R520 depending on which it is, and then add it to the massive switch statement in radeon_screen.c, above the "R520 detected" statement.
Rebuild and reinstall Mesa, and then enjoy direct glxinfo and direct glxgears. It really is that easy.
("Easy", as usual, is relative.)
Development will be just as hard, but the code will be shared between radeon and radeonhd. That's why we're starting early
The only r500-specific acceleration code in radeon is for EXA and Textured Video. Anything to do with 3D is mostly in mesa/mesa and mesa/drm, and will be used by both radeon and radeonhd.
The only reason we can't use radeonhd for R5xx 3D work today is that it doesn't yet have the "DRI support" required to use the drm, which is a pre-requisite for running the mesa 3d code. Getting dri support into radeonhd is top priority right now. Once that is in place, the 3d code won't care whether it is running with radeon or radeonhd.
If you mean "will getting it running on my system be just as hard ?" the answer is no, whether radeon or radeonhd. Right now the code still in early development and all effort is going into making it work with no attempt to make it easy to use. Until the code hits "master" you should consider it as experimental.
re: tearing, that's probably something unrelated. If you are using radeon and textured video (xv output, using a textured video xv port) and your video is tearing a tiny bit, that will probably persist until we start syncing the video playback pipe to vsync (in drm, I think). If the tearing is really bad, pls post back 'cause it may be something in the textured video accel code.
I should mention that *all* of the R5xx acceleration code using the 3d engine (even EXA and Textured Video) is only a few weeks old and is still under development. Until you see the code included in a release it's still cooking.
Well I've done all I can today, I think. I've managed to get past the segfault (caused by *not* adding my PCI ID to the appropriate files) but I still get various "3D driver claims to not support visual ..." errors, ultimately ending with "Error: Unsupported depth 0... exiting"
I can't really complain, though, as I more-or-less didn't expect anything to work anyway :-)