AMD Catalyst 9.4 Finally Brings X Server 1.6 Support
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 17 April 2009. Page 1 of 1. 97 Comments

X Server 1.6 was released back in February, and there have been test releases for it going back to the end of last year, but today AMD has finally delivered support for this new X.Org server in their proprietary Linux graphics driver. Like last month with the Catalyst 9.3 release, the Linux version was not released on the same day as the Windows build, which ended up being a one-week delay. Besides X Server 1.6 support there are also a few other changes in Catalyst 9.4 worth reporting.

The Catalyst 9.3 Linux release was delayed last month so AMD could deliver OpenGL Composite support prior to the R300 through R500 support being dropped. The Catalyst 9.3 driver for Linux also brought new options to the AMD Catalyst Control Center and other enhancements. Last month it also became public knowledge that support for the new X Server was coming in April with Catalyst 9.4. AMD had granted Canonical early rights to begin distributing an unreleased ATI driver for Ubuntu. This 9.4-based driver was needed to support Ubuntu 9.04, which depends upon this newest X Server release. With Catalyst 9.4, the fglrx driver should begin working with other newer distributions that also depend upon the latest X Server.

The GLX 1.4 specification is not exactly new, but with Catalyst 9.4 this latest version of the OpenGL Extension to the X Window System is finally supported.

Also taken care of in this release is addressing a problem where a second display does not light up after VT switching in a dual-head environment. For those that have experienced system hangs when playing videos or moving windows after resuming from S4, that problem has also been resolved. Some of the other fixes include scaling of non-native modes on DFP displays, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 support, Ubuntu 9.04 support, and the ability to scale on non-native modes on DFP displays. There are also a few segmentation fault fixes. There are also a few more enhancements to the AMD Catalyst Control Center.

The OpenGL Composite support was introduced with Catalyst 9.3, but there are already a few fixes and improvements to that support commonly referred to as OpenGL redirected direct rendering within Catalyst 9.4 for Linux. Composite enhancements will continue into the next few releases. The Catalyst 9.4 driver also has official support for the ATI Radeon HD 4890 graphics card, but that RV790 support will too be improved and stabilized over the next few Catalyst releases.

If you are running an ATI R600 (Radeon HD 2000 series) graphics card or later, the Catalyst 9.4 driver can be found at AMD.com. Discuss the open and closed source ATI Linux drivers in the Phoronix Forums.


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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.


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