An Outcry For Improved ATI Linux Drivers
Written by Hakan Bayindir in Display Drivers on 14 April 2007. Page 4 of 5. 7 Comments

Missing Extensions

When I had used the Kororaa LiveCD with my 9600XT, I was really excited about the visual effects that I had saw and realized the usefulness of the semi-transparency (when something becomes semi-transparent, I focus my attention to opaque ones so I can work easier). However, when things started to maturate, GLX left its place to AIGLX and this technology required some extensions to convert windows to textures. Yes, I am talking about the infamous "GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap" extension. The green (NVIDIA) company implemented it as "initial support for texture_from_pixmap" and ATI just sat there complaining, "when the technology stabilizes, we will add this support".

After one year of driver releases, we've seen no hint or foundation implementation (so that the support can be added later) for the extension. I think without supporting the technology, you cannot help it maturate and this attitude shows that they are not interested in the advancement of Linux technologies. While Beryl, Compiz or any composition engine is not in my "mandatory tools for trade" list, there are many end-users that could select Linux over Redmond's new operating system. Also there are many Linux users with ATI cards who want that support to work in a more enjoyable desktop environment. Also, I'll try these applications if my card supports them or even can help fixing bugs or write some code to the project just for help.

Needed Functionality

Besides that, there's a more important issue that mostly affects laptop or workstation users. Absence of a useful control panel. As I remember correctly, ATI was bundling the same control panel since they introduced their Linux drivers with very little improvements over time. As a desktop Linux user for over 2 years, I had never noticed it missing (I'll talk about that later) and when it was finally available on the distribution I use, It never helped me to tune or troubleshoot anything. But I also admit that, during this time ATI built impressive monitor recognition and event detection subsystem, the "atieventsd" that leaves ATI's competitor in some serious dust but this subsystem without a useful control panel makes no sense to regular users of Linux (power users always find a way around). Also starting with this month, ATI changed their control panel utility at last and migrated to a simpler version of ATI Catalyst Control Center under the name AMD Control Center for Linux Edition (amdccle). I had no chance to test this utility since there's a problem in build scripts (I'll also talk about that later) but the screenshots of this utility looks promising and if they can make it as useful and functional as the green's settings tool it would be just great (I'm sure that AMD/ATI will develop this application further). [Editor's Note: AMD Catalyst Control Center Information]

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