ATI 8.28.8 Display Drivers
The ATI 8.28.8 driver is today replacing the 3-week old 8.27.10 Linux driver. Amongst the changes in this month's release is a combined i386/x86_64 installer, pairmode aticonfig option, preserve monitor status across restarts, and various other changes. While nothing jaw dropping has been delivered this month, we have our usual driver examination and review to share today.
One of the noticeable changes in the fglrx 8.28.8 drivers is the introduction of a combined 32-bit and 64-bit installer. Rather than continuing to offer separate binaries for i386 and x86_64 architectures, ATI has merged the 32-bit and 64-bit packages into a single binary. With both of these architectures being supported by the single installer, the download size is now around 50MB (compared against 20~30MB in some of the recent drivers). This increased size should not cause much of a problem except for users on dial-up connections.
One of the undocumented updates in the 8.28.8 drivers is the preliminary build support for Fedora Core 6. While Fedora Core 6 will not be released until early October, some of the needed changes have been merged into the Fedora Core packaging scripts. We have successfully been able to build ATI packages using these scripts on Fedora Core 6 Test 2. More FC6-specific packaging changes will likely reach the driver in the coming months.
Added to aticonfig this month is a "pairmode" option to specify individual monitor settings when in a Big Desktop configuration. The pairmode options include --list-pairmode, --add-pairmode=, and --remove-pairmode=. These options are applied immediately and allow different sizes to be used for both Big Desktop screens. Another option added to aticonfig is --swap-monitor. The swap monitor option will swap the contents of two displays. Presently --swap-monitor can only be applied to screens in a Big Desktop configuration. Finally there is also a --nobackup option in aticonfig which can be used if you do not wish to backup your xorg.conf upon applying new changes.
Another change in the 8.28.8 drivers is the capability to switch between clone and Big Desktop modes via xrandr. The preferred monitor status is now preserved across restarts if changed by display switching or aticonfig as root. A segmentation fault has also been fixed during dynamic display switching on x86_64 machines. Various other fixes with the installer, mirror mode, and aticonfig have worked their way into the release. The ATI Linux 8.28.8 drivers do not currently support the Linux 2.6.18 kernel, but some of the packaging scripts (e.g. Fedora and SuSE) do include a patch for the 2.6.18 support. There is also a fix in these drivers for Dell Widescreen UltraSharp 2405FPW monitors when using the DVI port. Today's driver also supports the Radeon Xpress 1200, 1250, and 1300 series. Unfortunately, the OpenGL GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap extension has yet to be appended to ATI's X.Org v7.1 support.