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AMD Launches New ATI Linux Driver

kdawson posted about 7 years ago | from the soon-it-will-all-be-faster dept.

Graphics 262

Michael Larabel writes "AMD has issued a press release announcing 'significant graphics performance and compatibility enhancements' on Linux. AMD will be delivering new ATI Linux drivers this year that offer ATI Radeon HD 2000 series support, AIGLX support (Beryl and Compiz), and major performance improvements. At Phoronix we have been testing these new drivers internally for the past few weeks and have a number of articles looking at this new driver. The ATI 8.41 Linux driver delivers Linux gaming improvements from the R300/400 series and the R500 series. The inaugural Radeon HD 2900XT series support also can be found in the new ATI Linux driver with 'the best price/performance ratio of any high-end graphics card under Linux.' While this new driver cannot be downloaded yet, in their press release AMD also alludes to accelerating efforts with the open-source community."

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YAY (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20478917)


Re:YAY (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20479867)

Cool! Now we can play games which were on Windows only about five years ago!

Who's chasing tail lights now? In your face, Apple!

Is the driver open-source? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20478931)

If not then forget it. I will only go with those who release their source code. Hell, for all we know there could be a root-kit in the driver.

Re:Is the driver open-source? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20478963)

Here, you dropped your tinfoil hat.

Re:Is the driver open-source? (5, Funny)

riffzifnab (449869) | about 7 years ago | (#20479787)

I don't think he dropped it. I don't think he trusts the tinfoil manufactures not to collude with the government and put small holes in their foil to permit the government's rays through. He's going to beat them through shear force of will by not thinking anymore.

Re:Is the driver open-source? (0)

kc2keo (694222) | about 7 years ago | (#20481163)

Also... there could be DRM and a r00tkit. Who knows? Trust noone! :-P :-O

Re:Is the driver open-source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20480273)

Don't take it! It could be wired!!!

Re:Is the driver open-source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20480571)

It's a trap!

Re:Is the driver open-source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20481119)

Spoken like a true button-pusher who has no clue how technology works, but who can push buttons.

Homer Simpson, is that you?

Re:Is the driver open-source? (1)

chris_eineke (634570) | about 7 years ago | (#20481131)

That wasn't a tinfoil hat, it was Sony/BMG music CD.

Re:Is the driver open-source? (0, Flamebait)

spectrokid (660550) | about 7 years ago | (#20479073)

98% of all Linux machines are used for tasks where 3D graphic performance doesn't matter. Another 1% are people who jumped from Unix/SGI and know what they are doing/buying. There are not that many graphic-intensive games for Linux. This will only be important for people who want to run Aero-style 3D desktop environments. Your local banks webserver won't run it. Don't worry.

Re:Is the driver open-source? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20479443)

There's tons of games that run on Linux that tax 3D graphics to no end...

UT2004, doom3, quake4, .........

Not to mention Cedega offering options for 'windows-only' games

Re:Is the driver open-source? (1)

bvimo (780026) | about 7 years ago | (#20480129)

Don't forget GPL Nexuiz from []

Re:Is the driver open-source? (1)

AJWM (19027) | about 7 years ago | (#20479483)

There are not that many graphic-intensive games for Linux.

Not many, true, but the FlightGear flight simulator [] is the main reason I upgraded from a cheap generic graphics card to an ATI 9250 based card (the highest level card with FLOSS drivers based on specs ATI released back when they were doing that). (And yeah, compared to current state of the art graphics cards, 9250s are still cheap.)

I wouldn't mind something a little faster, though.

3D is important; Do what Linus does: buy Intel (2, Insightful)

Kludge (13653) | about 7 years ago | (#20479517)

98% of all Linux machines are used for tasks where 3D graphic performance doesn't matter.

Wrong. Many Linux machines are now desktops. 2/3 of the Linux machines in my home are desktops. I don't use fancy 3D desktops, but I do use everyday apps like Google Earth and the occasional kids' games that are much faster and smoother with hardware rather than software OpenGL.

However I have solved this problem by only buying Intel graphics hardware. They work from the moment Fedora first boots up.

Re:3D is important; Do what Linus does: buy Intel (3, Informative)

plague3106 (71849) | about 7 years ago | (#20479723)

Intel graphics are also shit compared to Nvidia or ATI.

Also, I don't think your number "prove" most linux installs are desktops. Many probably still are just servers.

Re:3D is important; Do what Linus does: buy Intel (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#20479989)

Yes they are. But once you bring driver quality and stability into the equation, then Intel wins hands down. I'd rather have a slower video card that actually works, than a fast one that doesn't. Also, unless you are playing games, you won't notice the speed difference. Even if you're running a 3D desktop.

Re:3D is important; Do what Linus does: buy Intel (4, Insightful)

Afrosheen (42464) | about 7 years ago | (#20480207)

"I'd rather have a slower video card that actually works, than a fast one that doesn't"

That's why nearly all Linux gamers and more than 60% of Windows gamers buy Nvidia cards. They've had better drivers for ages. Not open source, which disturbs some of the hardcore, but great drivers nonetheless.

Re:3D is important; Do what Linus does: buy Intel (3, Interesting)

plague3106 (71849) | about 7 years ago | (#20480257)

I agree, but for some reason you've ruled out Nvidia. Great drivers and a fast card. ATI is the only company that thinks its ok to put out shitty graphics drivers.

Re:3D is important; Do what Linus does: buy Intel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20480013)

Many probably still are just servers.

Or other non-desktop devices. All my routers and external modems (heck, even my external dial-up modem) are running Linux.

Re:Is the driver open-source? (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#20479573)

Exactly. I got a laptop with an Intel GMA. Not a powerful video chip, but it has enough power to do all that 3D desktop stuff. And there was no fuss getting drivers. No extra stuff to download. No configuration to do. Everything just worked. For all my new computers (for the foreseeable future, until other graphics cards manufacturers release good open source drivers), they will all be using Intel GMA, because these video chips are good enough for my uses, and the drivers are extremely solid. If I want to play video games, I'll use my console (Wii).

Re:Is the driver open-source? (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 7 years ago | (#20479641)

There are not that many graphic-intensive games for Linux.

Nonsense, while the list isn't as big as Windows's there's still a fair number of graphics intensive games on Linux (though admittedly there may not be any ones that are so current that they absolutely need the latest hardware). Even just playing Doom 3 or UT2004 needs a 3d capable driver.

Re:Is the driver open-source? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20479903)

Is there a particular reason you need the driver to be open-source? Are you planning on re-writing it? I've been hearing the open-source arguement for years but never understood it. Unless you are a driver developer yourself or plan on going through the code line by line, what does it matter? Why should a commericial company release their intellectual property for free when there are hundreds of people creating these products for a living. This is completely different than FOSS. What if you started giving away what you did for a living? /rant off

Re:Is the driver open-source? (3, Insightful)

BrainInAJar (584756) | about 7 years ago | (#20480607)

What about people like me that use Solaris? or any othe esoteric operating system other than the big-3 ?

or if there's strange bugs that you think are the drivers fault, and you happen to know enough C to fix them right now instead of whenever the snail-slow vendor gets around to it?

as for your comment about giving away what you do for a living... AMD doesn't write drivers for money, they make hardware. Intel manages to make hardware and open-source a good majority of their drivers, so that's just a stupid argument.

Re:Is the driver open-source? (1)

Spokehedz (599285) | about 7 years ago | (#20481311)

Yea, because you would be able to find the rootkit in a driver with thousands of lines of code...

Put up or shut up... (4, Interesting)

MMC Monster (602931) | about 7 years ago | (#20478947)

Really, it's not that I like nvidia. But I've been hearing reports on /. since the beginning of the year of ATI linux drivers coming soon. How about we wait until they're actually release before bothering to give them any support.

Re:Put up or shut up... (0, Troll)

thegnu (557446) | about 7 years ago | (#20480485)

But I've been hearing reports on /. since the beginning of the year of ATI linux drivers coming soon. How about we wait until they're actually release before bothering to give them any support.

1. You're new here, aren't you?
2. ATI is under new management, or haven't you heard?

Plus, isn't AMD generally considered pretty good for Linux support? Not that it's not mostly to the NFORCE chipsets' credit, but AMD purchased ATI because their Nforce "monopoly" was over, so Linux users were no longer locked into broken Intel chipsets if they purchased an Intel processor. Am I right?

Am I the only person who suspected that AMD would, in due time, put Linux driver support as one of its main priorities? I seemed to be one of the few (excuse me while I toot my own horn) that Snape killed Dumbledore because Dumbledore wanted him to, so maybe.

Oh, and [/spoiler], btw

Re:Put up or shut up... (3, Insightful)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | about 7 years ago | (#20480983)

Amen. Same for AMD in general. Come on... actually release -SOMETHING-!

Are they open? (5, Interesting)

MarcQuadra (129430) | about 7 years ago | (#20479003)

They're useless to me unless the source is available, preferably under the GPL. I really wish they'd work -inside- the framework of the kernel, Mesa, and xorg projects instead of building one-off binary drivers. What if I want to use their card on PowerPC, want to link against the latest (or a non-mainline) kernel, or just want to run an all-open system?

Re:Are they open? (3, Interesting)

gmack (197796) | about 7 years ago | (#20479107)

Right now I would settle for a driver that works on recent kernels since one of those improvements mean much to me if I can't actually install them.

I used to be a huge ATI fan but I've completely stopped buying their stuff. If they can't be bothered to make working drivers or have useful support answers. I can't be bothered to shell out money for something that's just going into the garbage bin anyways.

NVIDIA is marginally better.. at least these stuff works even if I have to reinstall the drivers every time I update a kernel.

Re:Are they open? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 7 years ago | (#20479251)

Supporting PPC makes even less sense now that AMD owns ATI...
Why would they want to support their cards on a processor type they don't produce?

Re:Are they open? (2, Interesting)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 7 years ago | (#20479941)

To get at least some sales from people who don't buy one of their products?

Re:Are they open? (2, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | about 7 years ago | (#20480169)

But seriously, how many PPC workstations get sold nowadays?
Especially ones with slots able to take new videocards...
It's such a small niche that it's probably not worth it for AMD to pursue.

Re:Are they open? (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | about 7 years ago | (#20480345)

Perhaps instead of "PPC" the OP should've said ${nonX86Processor} so you would get the drift. The same applies to Sparc, ARM, Power-and-siblings, and a half-dozen others that I can't be bothered to name. Not all of these are out of mainstream production (even PPC is still in mainstream production, just not by Apple) and there is certainly a need for Linux video drivers for these platforms. Not to mention embedded stuff...

Re:Are they open? (2, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 7 years ago | (#20481071)

The same applies to Sparc, ARM, Power-and-siblings, and a half-dozen others that I can't be bothered to name. Not all of these are out of mainstream production...

I hate to break it to you, but you're using a very non-standard definition of "mainstream."

Re:Are they open? (2, Insightful)

fimbulvetr (598306) | about 7 years ago | (#20480341)

Are you aware of the concepts of capitalism? I don't mean to be condescending, but serious. Do you understand there are significant costs on the programming side for an entirely different architecture? Do you understand AMD needs to make money to survive as a company? Do you understand that only a fraction of their customers are running Linux, and of that a trivial fraction are running PPC?

Re:Are they open? (4, Informative)

corvair2k1 (658439) | about 7 years ago | (#20479315)

NVIDIA has long since had a handle on your "latest/nonstandard kernel" problem. It builds its own interfaces to conform to the kernel's.

Re:Are they open? (2, Interesting)

david.given (6740) | about 7 years ago | (#20479429)

What if I want to use their card on PowerPC, want to link against the latest (or a non-mainline) kernel, or just want to run an all-open system?

On a related note: does anyone know if it's possible to get standalone graphics cards with Intel 3D graphics hardware on them?

I know that on an absolute scale, the Intel chipsets aren't particularly fast... but they're certainly faster than the Radeon 9600 mobility I've got right now, and there are genuinely open source accelerated drivers for them. Which means they ought to be much less of a hassle to use. For 2D and lightweight 3D use, they should be ideal.

But I've only ever seen them in integrated chipsets, and I'd rather not buy a whole new motherboard just to get a new graphics card...

Re:Are they open? (2, Insightful)

Constantine XVI (880691) | about 7 years ago | (#20479575)

AFAIK, Intel graphics chips only come on motherboards with Intel chipsets, which only handle Intel processors.

See a pattern here?

Re:Are they open? (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 7 years ago | (#20479791)

They're useless to me unless the source is available, preferably under the GPL.
Out of interest, why GPL? The rest of DRI (and is MIT licensed, including the Intel drivers. The only parts that are GPL'd are the kernel modules (which do a small amount of validation and pass instructions to the hardware). Keeping the majority of the drivers MIT licensed makes it much easier for people to add support for other operating systems, such as FreeBSD and Solaris (both of which are supported by nVidias blobs, although only FreeBSD has good support for Intel chips since no one has ported DRI to Solaris yet).

Re:Are they open? (1)

bfields (66644) | about 7 years ago | (#20480919)

Yah. Not to put words in the original poster's mouth, but I'm guessing what they meant was "under a license compatible with the upstream projects", and the upstream project they came immediately to mind was the GPL-licensed kernel.

The important thing is not to end up in a situation like openafs, say, where the code's under an open source license that has some technical conflict with the GPL and as a result has to be maintained outside the tree for ever....

Re:Are they open? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20480233)

> What if I want to use their card on PowerPC
Then you will also need a PowerPC version of the BIOS to initialize the adapter. It worked with a Radeon7000, where you could download a PPC version of the BIOS for use in a Macintosh, but that's history now.

Hey AMD, A tip for you. (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 years ago | (#20479021)

I purchase Nvidia only because the cards actually work under linux, or they used to. Lately there are issues...

If AMD steps up to the plate and gives us good drivers and actually listens and reacts fast to reported problems, they can come out way ahead.

Nvidia driver install used to be painless, now it can be incredibly painful depending on the Distro and Card you have. I still cant get a old Geforce4 card working on my wifes ubuntu PC. I gave up and switched to the intel onboard chipset. Far better support for that video chipset than nvidia is giving us even for the older cards that USED to work great.

Re:Hey AMD, A tip for you. (1)

ajs318 (655362) | about 7 years ago | (#20479131)

What's wrong with the i-tal "nv" driver? Never installed nVidious's closed-source crap, never likely to.

Re:Hey AMD, A tip for you. (2, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 years ago | (#20479219)

Um no 3d, no Xv acceleration, makes it useless to even have a video card outside the built in cheapie no 3d no acceleration anything card.

nv driver is good for install or limp mode only.

Re:Hey AMD, A tip for you. (5, Insightful)

Zonk (troll) (1026140) | about 7 years ago | (#20479399)

What's wrong with the i-tal "nv" driver? Never installed nVidious's closed-source crap, never likely to.
It's 2d only. Ie, no Beryl/Compiz. It also doesn't seem to be very stable. I use that driver on my PowerBook (it runs Ubuntu), but X freezes half of the time I try to play a video*. If I'm at home I have to ssh in from another machine and kill X so I can use the thing again, or if I'm anywhere else I have to reboot (keyboard and mouse are frozen as is everything on the desktop, ctrl-alt-backspace doesn't do anything).

* It doesn't matter whether I'm using VLC, Xine, Mplayer, or Totem. I happens very often, which is why I'll usually just boot it into OS X if I want to play a dvd or avi.

Also, in reply to Lumpy (gp), why is it so hard to go to "System->Administration->Restricted Drivers Manager"? I've done that with a few GeForce4 (integrated) cards and it's as easy as typing your password and clicking a button.

If you're not running 7.04, then just do "System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager" and do a search for "nvidia-glx". Install that and it should work (you might have to change /etc/X11/xorg.conf to "nvidia" rather than "nv", I don't remember if that's automatic or not).

Ubuntu is by far the easiest distro to install 3d graphics drivers on since they provide the packages. No compiling and it will always work across reboots since the driver gets updated when the kernel does.

Re:Hey AMD, A tip for you. (1)

colinleroy (592025) | about 7 years ago | (#20479191)

I purchase Nvidia only because the cards actually work under linux, or they used to. Lately there are issues...
That's why I purchase Intel only -- free drivers work and are actually supported by the distros, the kernel people, and Intel.

Re:Hey AMD, A tip for you. (2, Insightful)

(H)elix1 (231155) | about 7 years ago | (#20479855)

Have you tried a current Intel graphics card lately? I've been struggling with a Intel 945GM graphics card in a laptop. Yes, drivers in source code form exist at [] but I'll be damned if I can get everything to work with the directions provided using Centos/RHEL. Using the 915Resolution hack got it running at 1280x800, but for all the googling and failed attempts, 'supported' is a very strong word. Yes, I'm not a guru when it comes to the Linux configuration stuff. An RPM, yum, apt-get, emerge or deb for the 'major' distros is what I'd call supported. Source code is good, but I had to figure out what GIT was and how to install it before I could even start with trying to get native resolution. Way more work than it has to be compared to some of the other graphics cards/chipsets.

Re:Hey AMD, A tip for you. (1)

chill (34294) | about 7 years ago | (#20480001)

How does it work for gaming? I'd really like to support Intel on all my machines, just because of their support for the GPL drivers they have done. However, I've yet to see adequate 3D gaming performance on their 945 and 950 chipsets.

If you have one, can you give me an idea how Linux native 3D games play? Hardware specs and framerates would be good. America's Army v2.5 is popular, freely available as a download, has a native Linux version and is a total dog on the old ATI drivers. With nVidia I get faster performance on Linux than the same PC on Windows.

I'm going to be purchasing two new laptops for my kids and am torn between nVidia and Intel graphics chipsets. They're doing 3D graphics and need good 3D support -- FOSS or not.

Thanks in advance.

Re:Hey AMD, A tip for you. (1)

hax0r_this (1073148) | about 7 years ago | (#20480173)

For gaming I think you will find the Intel chips to be lacking (although they might play Americas Army at low resolution ok, I'm not really sure). Intels chips are called "Graphics Media Accelerator" for a reason - they're designed for people who want to work on spreadsheets and maybe watch the occasional movie. If you want something good for gaming try to get an nvidia 7600 or higher. Last I looked some of the 17 inch Dells can be configured with a 7900GS, which would make for a pretty sweet gaming laptop, (but would be heavy, hot and low battery life probably). My new Macbook Pro has an 8600M GS which plays Americas Army 2.8 pretty well in Windows at 1440x950 (but doesn't run Linux worth crap yet - stay away if you want Linux). But yeah, if you want to play anything more graphics intensive than maybe BZ Flag I would recommend nvidia.

Re:Hey AMD, A tip for you. (1)

corvair2k1 (658439) | about 7 years ago | (#20479359)

This is not likely NVIDIA's fault. Ubuntu has various issues dealing with 3rd party drivers that conflict functionally with those in the repository. In this case, the various "nv" drivers conflict with the blobs released by NVIDIA. One way to fix this is to use the nvidia-glx packages from the repositories. The other way, if you have to use NVIDIA's blob, is to blacklist the included nv drivers.

Re:Hey AMD, A tip for you. (2, Informative)

non (130182) | about 7 years ago | (#20479561)

at the risk of being offtopic:

with Ubuntu you have a choice of three different NVidia drivers; new, normal, and legacy. you should probably use normal 'nvidia-kernel-' & 'nvidia-glx-'. if, on the other hand, you have a brand spanking new card, you will need the beta drivers direct from nvidia and you will have to install them yourself. in the event you choose to go that road do *not* install the linux-restricted-stuff - it will interfere with the drivers, and remember to re-install the drivers from recovery mode every time you upgrade the kernel more than a minor version (Ubuntu point releases, ie. 15-27 ->16-31 won't cause a problem).

Re:Hey AMD, A tip for you. (1)

everphilski (877346) | about 7 years ago | (#20479589)

Must be a Ubuntu thing. I've never had a problem with Red Hat, CentOS (I know, virtually the same thing), Fedora or Slackware. I've had 4 different cards in 4 different computers over the years (as a gamer and then as a graphics/visualization person at work, programming under Linux). NVidia's drivers always seemed to work on the first try.

Re:Hey AMD, A tip for you. (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | about 7 years ago | (#20479801)

As I think someone else has said, nVidia maintain a "legacy" driver for older GPU's. Unfortunately this keep changing - damnit, I wish someone would come up with an app that can install the correct driver based on an lspci output... (unless the nVidia installer already does this, but IIRC it doesn't).

I also had problems with my venerable Ti4200 until I installed the legacy driver, after which it worked fine.

You are better off using the Intel onboard though - solid for 2D stuff and good for light OGL stuff too. The GMA 3000 series are especially capable little GPU's.

Re:Hey AMD, A tip for you. (1)

richlv (778496) | about 7 years ago | (#20480201)

yeah. and nvidia is fixing bugs only in the new drivers. woohoo.
i am buying and recommending nvidia only still, but if ati would provide opensource drivers in kernel/xorg... that could change. not likely, given that we've heard all kinds of such vague promises before and nothing changed.

Re:Hey AMD, A tip for you. (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | about 7 years ago | (#20480601)

To be fair, they do update their legacy releases to some degree. I think the major stumbling block now is that, with different legacy "versions" knocking about, many users don't want to have to grep through a "here's the supported cards for this driver" list to find out which driver they need to install. Be nice if $distro_package_manager could be made to figure this out for themselves...

ATI have really, really dragged their heels on this. There was a time when I'd have jumped to ATI in a flash, but support for their Linux drivers has been so terrible I have serious doubts of them being able to maintain a decent release. ATM I'm recommending Intel to everyone that doesn't need gaming performance.

Still no word on when accelerated H.264 playback will be supported on either nVidia or Intel hardware, both of which are capable of it...

Re:Hey AMD, A tip for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20480243)

I don't use ubuntu (I use Debian), but I know Nvidia changed their legacy driver package so there's two of them now. The old "nvidia-kernel-legacy" package in Debian was only packaging the 71XX series driver, which doesn't support the Geforce4. I submitted a bug report and the Debian Nvidia maintainer made a package out of the 96XX driver that contains the correct driver.

Re:Hey AMD, A tip for you. (2, Informative)

Zebedeu (739988) | about 7 years ago | (#20480685)

I still cant get a old Geforce4 card working on my wifes ubuntu PC
That's not only a problem with the Linux drivers, as I had exactly the same happening to me in my mothers Windows XP computer. It appears that nVidia stops testing their drivers with old iterations of their video cards, though it would be at least helpfull if they acknowlodged the problem and made available on their website old versions that are know to be working.

In the end I made it work by searching for old versions of the nVidia drivers on the internet. Perhaps if you try an old version of the linux drivers you will be luckier.

It's nice to see DAAMIT finally getting there (3, Insightful)

Trelane (16124) | about 7 years ago | (#20479065)

It's only been 3-4 years since I bought an ATI card in the (vain) hopes that they would continue supporting X devs. Sadly, I found poor support and lots of bugs. Unless they pull an Intel and release/fund Free drivers for their graphics chips, for me it's Intel for ease-of-use and NVidia for performance. I've lost faith in them.

Underwhelmed (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20479119)

Have ATI even stopped violating the GPL by shipping old code from AGPGart in their binary? This is too little too late, I've already given up on high performance 3D and decided to stick with intel graphics because of the open drivers. What's the betting this 'driver' requires mono? Seriously, last I looked the windows drivers required the .NOT framework for the craplet and settings manager.

Re:Underwhelmed (1)

Svartalf (2997) | about 7 years ago | (#20481041)

Well the settings manager happens to be a Qt app if that matters...

I'm glad they woke up- but it may be a bit late unless the rumblings of turning up the volume on the open source side
of things on their end are true.

still no support (1)

jameseyjamesey (949408) | about 7 years ago | (#20479151)

There is still no support for all-in-wonder cards. Nice try though.

Re:still no support (1)

etnoy (664495) | about 7 years ago | (#20480955)

Not even support for the r100-based cards that can be found in, among others, the lovely Thinkpad T30:s. Why? Because ATI decided it was too old for it. The open source radeon driver does a great job, though, and I can use Compiz Fusion with no problems on this four-year-old laptop of mine. Four years! Too old for drivers, you say?

Re:still no support (1)

brunascle (994197) | about 7 years ago | (#20481099)

ATI is apparently discontinuing the all-in-wonder cards. there's some major incompatibility with the drivers and Vista that they cant find a workaround for, so they're stopping them all together.

I definitely made a brilliant move (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about 7 years ago | (#20479347)

In previous discussions about ATI and their Linux driver support, I had mentioned that I made the bold move to move away from ATI on my laptop to nVidia. (Dell makes these kinds of changes fairly easy) My laptop is an Inspiron 8600 which I had originally ordered to use the ATI Mobility 9600 card. Through eBay, I ordered and later installed the 128MB version of the nVidia card to replace it. (Not terribly expensive either.) I just checked AMD/ATI's web site to see what the current hardware supported under the current driver is. Sure enough, my mobility 9600 is now at the very bottom of the supported hardware list and with the new release, it is certain to fall off entirely.

If it hasn't been stated clearly enough in the past, I'll state it again. Even if you don't care about whether a driver is OSS or proprietary from a technical standpoint, users are advised to understand that proprietary drivers places control over your hardware's obsolescence firmly in the hands of the manufacturer. And these days, with limited hardware selection for things like laptops or very tiny PCs, your options are pretty limited. These proprietary drivers are damaging the viability of Linux on older hardware which has been one of Linux's strongest motivators for adoption.

Moving to nVidia helps because at least with nVidia, they have a legacy hardware program to support and update drivers for older hardware. AMD/ATI does not. Ultimately, though, I should probably settle in and get comfortable with the OSS drivers for my hardware even if the performance is lower... it's a damned shame though.

Re:I definitely made a brilliant move (2, Insightful)

nametaken (610866) | about 7 years ago | (#20479789)

I think the big problem is not that people don't understand the pitfalls of proprietary drivers. I think it's more that people buy hardware first, and opt to install an alt OS down the line. Aside from myself, I don't know anyone who was careful to purchase a computer that would be well supported by anything other than Windows.

The net result is that a LOT of people end up with ATI video cards, not wanting to buy replacements, and aggravated that driver support sucks. It's a crappy situation all the way around. :(

Re:I definitely made a brilliant move (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 7 years ago | (#20479991)

This is very true... the FIRST go-around. Many of us tend to learn from that though... my first lesson was long ago with Sony and the NeoMagic video chipset... that video REALLY sucked. I learned to avoid it and I'm guessing everyone else has as well since I haven't heard of it in years. And now people are learning the same with ATI... the lesson is coming slower for many people, though, as ATI is rather entrenched. Fortunately, however, Vista and Direct X are pushing Windows users in the same direction for similar reasons, so it's not just a Linux thing.

Re:I definitely made a brilliant move (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 7 years ago | (#20479917)

Looks like the ATi card in question has (unstable, but more or less working) support in DRI at the moment. ATi tends to drop support for old hardware with their blobs once there is good community support for it, so it makes sense that it would be near the bottom of the list.

I try to avoid ATi hardware in general, but I've had good support for it under FreeBSD with the DRI drivers. Their own code tends to cause crashing on any platform I've tried (OS X, Linux and Windows).

Re:I definitely made a brilliant move (1)

zlogic (892404) | about 7 years ago | (#20480569)

Moving to nVidia helps because at least with nVidia, they have a legacy hardware program to support and update drivers for older hardware. AMD/ATI does not.
Nvidia didn't make a Vista driver for Geforce 4 (and older versions), meaning it works in some kind of safe-mode with no 2D acceleration. Widgets are redrawn slowly, and scrolling large text or HTML pages is also slow. And WinXP drivers cause random BSODs.

Re:I definitely made a brilliant move (1)

Svartalf (2997) | about 7 years ago | (#20481073)

The 9600 is an R300 chip. They don't plan on cutting R300 support for a while yet.

Otherwise, your observations are largely dead-on. Unless the rumblings of ATI stepping
up the pace with helping the Open Source community do their own drivers or a jointly
developed driver (we can only hope...) eventually, they'll drop support for your chip.
Having said this, the NVidia chip is only a better supported version of the same problem

AIGLX.... (1)

werdz (1150775) | about 7 years ago | (#20479371)

All I want is AIGLX. If I get AIGLX I'll be happy.

And? (2, Insightful)

n0dna (939092) | about 7 years ago | (#20479421)

Even a blind pig will find an acorn occasionally.

Lets suppose that this driver does all it says, and more. That'd be one in a row for ATI. They have even had drivers that will sometimes work under Windows. Not very often, and not by any stretch routinely.

Why would I put my money behind a product that I can be fairly certain will never have another driver that will ever work?

Re:And? (1)

eqisow (877574) | about 7 years ago | (#20479537)

Because ATI is now owned by AMD? I'd say that gives them a clean slate. AMD is clearly trying to turn things around.

Re:And? (4, Interesting)

n0dna (939092) | about 7 years ago | (#20479719)

Unless they fired everyone responsible for writing the drivers and the entire QA department, then that still makes this one in a row. Even if AMD holds them to a higher standard, it'll take at least one more good driver to convince anyone of it. Like I said, ATI has had working drivers once or twice before.

Besides, people have a long memory when it comes to garbage hardware. A $40 game that blows can be a fluke. A $200 (or more) video card that only does 640x480 in 16 colors is harder to forget.

Once a company burns you on hardware, there's no reason to ever have to go back to them if there is any competition at all. Look at the other options you have for graphics. Hell, people are even using built-in video instead of ATI. How bad do you have to be for people to prefer onboard video?

Re:And? (1)

DirkGently (32794) | about 7 years ago | (#20479895)

Mod this guy up. On the merits of that last sentance alone.

Re:And? (3, Informative)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | about 7 years ago | (#20480661)

I know what the "proof" will be; or at least, the start of a trend.

Full AIGLX support in 8.42 (the article is discussing 8.41). The claim at Phoronix is that AMD has claimed AIGLX is going in at 8.42.

Continuing the trend would be MPEG-4/H.264 Xvideo support in 8.4x or 8.5x, preferably within the next 6 months or so (keep in mind that the Radeon 2X00 series have excellent video capabilities).

If they hit those two goals, I'll most likely purchase 2-3 ATI cards for my Linux boxes; the AIGLX and Xvideo things are a big deal to me, and Nvidia cards don't currently accelerate MPEG-4/H.264.

If you want Linux and open (5, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | about 7 years ago | (#20479451)

Please try and support The Open Graphics Project. AboutOpenGraphics []

Re:If you want Linux and open (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | about 7 years ago | (#20480615)

While I wouldn't be openly against the idea of an open graphics processor, I don't see the need for it. So long as the GPU enables me to use an open API like X or OpenGL, who cares really how it's done underneath.

Because honestly, who's gonna pay for support? Or afford to recall defective chips, etc? At least if my nvidia card doesn't work the store I bought it from knows they can return it back through the chain to eventually get their money back. If I buy some no-name card from a small time manufacturer, returns might not be an option, etc, etc.

As for the "binary blob vs src" debate, again I don't see the problem. Once nvidia stops releasing drivers I'll stop buying their cards. Until then though, I'll use their cards because they "just work."

Re:If you want Linux and open (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 7 years ago | (#20481005)

Please, it's an interestic academic idea but GPUs are now more complex than CPUs and demand huge R&D efforts. They have a snowflake's chance in hell of producing anything competitive, and that's if the snowflake is taking a lava bath during a heat wave while soaked in gasoline and lit on fire. If you don't want top performance there's Intel, and then you at least get an actual, well-working product. Hopefully they can bring open drivers to more performance oriented markets too, but even for Intel that's a huge investment. This project just doesn't have anywhere near what it takes.

the forgotten ones... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20479465)

I have a x700 and I _know_ it is going to be my last ATI card in much time (i.e. forever or when the issues get fixed, whatever happens first). I know, I know, FreeBSD may not be a mainstream OS, nor a first choice for a desktop computer but at least Nvidia shows some interest [] for their customer. (psssst, ATI execs, a clue: your customer are the ones who make you earn money to buy those fancy cars you own...)

s/Launches/Announces/ (3, Funny)

theMAGE (51991) | about 7 years ago | (#20479661)

The title is misleading - AMD did not launch anything, they announced it. Just the fact that some random hardware site got a sneak peek at the driver does not change anything...

Any video accel lovin'? (4, Interesting)

DirkGently (32794) | about 7 years ago | (#20479707)

I didn't see any word about MPEG2/MPEG4 offloading, or even word of proper Xv support/controls. I've got my fingers crossed, but for those of us who live & breathe MythTV [] , I fear it's still a one-horse town.

Re:Any video accel lovin'? (1)

tji (74570) | about 7 years ago | (#20480425)

Seconded. Linux+MythTV is already a top notch DVR option, which would really benefit from video improvements.

But, there are a few horses to choose from (all with their share of warts):

NVidia - Closed binary blob, supports XvMC for MPEG2 accel. Works some of the time, for some that try it.

Intel - Only very basic XvMC support today, but they have a very nice effort towards open source drivers and a new video acceleration API for MPEG2, MPEG4, H.264 support, and VLD support. Looks like a great MythTV option, when it's available/mature.

VIA Unichrome - some features similar to intel above. In theory it's a nice option, and has been available for a long time. In practice, not so much. Spotty support for hardware versions, most GPUs don't support HD playback, plenty of pitfalls. But, for some people, with the right chipset, and OpenChrome drivers, this works very well.

Re:Any video accel lovin'? (2, Informative)

DirkGently (32794) | about 7 years ago | (#20481171)

I'm very curious to see what comes about from the myth-vid branch of development. The devs are making a solid attempt at moving away from XvMC and using the 3D engine, as that's what nVidia does in the Windows drivers for their "PureVideo" stuff. It's got a lot of promise and opens up a lot of better deinterlacers beyond bob & weave. However, because ATI drivers have stunk so badly (and because they already own nVidia cards), that's what the devs are working with. For the forseeable future, if you want it to work, that's also what you buy.

As an aside, I've had excellent luck with XvMC for both SD and HD, though I ended up sacking the HD because the Bob deinterlace was kinda ugly and I had the CPU to spare.

Whoa! Spiteful much? (5, Insightful)

TheGreatOrangePeel (618581) | about 7 years ago | (#20480027)

What the hell is up with all the scathing remarks?! Let's remember that the ATI acquisition by AMD is new and let's be impressed, considering past support, that progress is being made in the Linux ATI drivers arena AT ALL! I really do believe that AMD is going to do the right thing by Linux. They're two underdogs that stand a lot to gain from each other and it would only stand to hurt any gains to be had by such a relationship by continuing what ATI was doing before the buyout. The fact of the matter is, ATI has undoubtedly undergone a mass re-organization and is, doubtlessly, also operating under a new philosophy. Anyone who knows someone who had their division bought out knows this to be true. Let's just sit back and see what happens before we start (effectively) blaming AMD for ATI's past mistakes and poorly written code.

AMD to open up graphics specs (5, Insightful)

xer.xes (4181) | about 7 years ago | (#20480073)

It was announced today at the Linux summit they will open up specifications for all graphics cards, and release a 'reference'/minimal open-source driver for all cards.

More here: []

Re:AMD to open up graphics specs (4, Insightful)

chill (34294) | about 7 years ago | (#20480195)

All graphics cards from the R500 going forward, specifically.

Still, THIS should be an article on Slashdot with the new drivers being a footnote -- not the other way around.

Re:AMD to open up graphics specs (4, Insightful)

lotho brandybuck (720697) | about 7 years ago | (#20480265)

That's huge. I hope this is true. I hope it's done fast.
Available, truly open sourced drivers are going to be a big factor in any hardware purchase I make.
I'm just one, but I think I'm one of many. Even if you're not "paranoid" (concerned) it's obsolecense protection.

Re:AMD to open up graphics specs (1)

MrHanky (141717) | about 7 years ago | (#20481159)

I was planning to purchase a Radeon X1950 Pro (since I still have AGP and can't afford/don't need an upgrade). Now it doesn't look like such a stupid idea after all. Excellent news!

Re:AMD to open up graphics specs (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 7 years ago | (#20481165)

That's excellent news, but I'm always weary of paper releases. When the specs are available for download, and someone with more driver writing skills than me has said "yep, this is a good and complete documentation that we can actually use" then it's time for celebration. Then maybe next time I'll cosider an ATI card, it's been a long time since last time.

Money where your mouth is (3, Insightful)

MrNemesis (587188) | about 7 years ago | (#20480099)

Since the beginning of the year? Hell, I've been hearing murmuring for years on "support for XYZ will be coming soon!" - and yet today the disparity between the ATI/nVidia feature set and stability under Linux are still huge. How long since nVidia got support for AIGLX? ATI only just adds it now?

You'll also note that, GeForce 8x00 series notwithstanding (which are marginally slower under Linux), nVidia maintain a very small performance delta between the Linux and windows version of their drivers. ATI's performance delta can sometimes be as much as 50% (top-of-my-head BTW, Phoronix had another full-of-crappy-graphs article about it a while back).

I'm hoping AMD can pull some weight and at least get better support for laptop chipsets and IGP's in their otherwise pretty nice chipsets. Until then, I have to stick to Intel or nVidia for graphics, and since I only need the one gaming box, I'm getting through alot of Intel motherboards. Guess what CPU goes in an Intel motherboard, AMD? Despite me wanting to use X2's for their lower idle power envelope, I find it hard to justify.


Ungrateful... (1, Redundant)

spirit of reason (989882) | about 7 years ago | (#20480171)

Holy cow, folks. Can't you be just a little happy that ATI has finally gotten their crap together performance-wise before criticizing their potential lack of openness? I would like OSS drivers as much as the next guy, but at least we ought to appreciate AMD/ATI is finally putting some effort into Linux. Besides, one of those Phoronix articles is insinuating that there is more for the OSS community coming than just higher performance.

Re:Ungrateful... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20480441)

No. How many instances of vendors leaving nasty buffer overflows and other badness in their closed source blobs (leading to exploits down the road) will it take to make you see that this is not good? Blobs which have to interact with the kernal are BAD. I'll stick with Intel chipsets/video until ATI and Nvidia start releasing drives I know won't bite me in the ass.

Re:Ungrateful... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 years ago | (#20480713)

I am looking forward to reviews of the new drivers. I need a new Video board and an 1950 would be a nice card for the money.
But they are not supporting the all in wonder boards so that is a big negative for me.
And they are not supporting their older GPUs which is also a negative for me.

So I will have to be in the wait and see mode.
As far as openness? Well I use nVidia now. If I have a choice between two good boards with good drivers I will pick the one that are GPL. Intel isn't an option since I currently have AMD systems and I like them.

Re:Ungrateful... (1)

KillerBob (217953) | about 7 years ago | (#20481137)

I'm actually going to wait to see how it handles my Radeon XPress 200M on my laptop before I say they've gotten their act together. That card has 128MB soldered on. Dedicated 128MB. That the Linux driver simply can't see. I have to use 128MB shared memory, taking away from the rather anemic 1GB of system memory taht I have in the lappy. And even under those conditions, performance is barely better than using the Mesa driver. Completely unusable for games, even though I never had any problem running games such as GuildWars or SW:KOTOR under Windows.

When ATI comes out with a driver that can actually see/use the 128MB dedicated graphics I have on my laptop, *then* I'll say they've gotten their act together. Until then, I'll keep using the open source driver.

It's about time! (2, Insightful)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | about 7 years ago | (#20480497)


Even though its not "out" yet, there are plenty of benchmarks available. It'll be out soon.

What does this "prove" for me? That AMD's commitment to make ATI a first-class contender on the Linux front was for real. I'm guessing that Windows users will also see improvements in OpenGL performance, and we'll see better adoption of OpenGL on all three major platforms (Windows, OS X, Linux).

I'm happy as hell about this. About time us Linux users got to take advantage of GPU price wars!

I'm still an NVIDIA fan, because they've been good to me for all these years (on Linux), but I'm at least willing to look at ATI these days; particularly because the ATI peripheral GPU software is much better (better control panel, better install program). I wonder if the driver quality is good (not just performance, but does it always compile correctly, does it always fix broken installs (the way NVIDIA's does?)).

This is a good day for Linux.

Bah. Fuck ATI (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 7 years ago | (#20480895)

Ironically you have a lot more choice on your Linux PC than I do on my Apple desktop. Thing comes with a defective ATI video card that overheats the moment you actually try to make it DO anything. And my choices are another (probably defective) ATI video card or a less capable Nvidia one. Well there's always a massive amount of suckitude associated with my experiences with ATI, from months spent with no PCIe support on Linux to drivers that would randomly break X to outright defective hardware. And now promises of a new driver that's going to crap daisies and rainbows? I'll believe it when I see it. Until that time, I'm going to be going out of my way to avoid buying any more ATI hardware.

A little late. (1)

seebs (15766) | about 7 years ago | (#20480903)

Thanks, AMD!

Unfortunately, under the existing driver, any time my rogue applied poison in WoW, I had a full half-second freeze. Which means that, last december, I got an nVidia card.

Since I only upgrade graphics cards every couple of years, it might be a while before this matters -- especially because, until the "complete freeze on certain texturing operations" bug is documented and acknowledged and someone who had it before tells me it's fixed, I'm not about to buy an ATI card on the off chance that it might work.

X.Org Mafia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20481193)

So if you are a graphics card vendor and you don't give money to the mafia, they will call you a liar and a thief and nobody will buy your hardware (not only the graphics card, but even CPUs and other perpihals, even if faster/cheaper).

On the other hand, if you pay a wealthy amount to the mafia, this will not happen.

Screw X. Framebuffer is just fine.

Opening (1)

alexgieg (948359) | about 7 years ago | (#20481241)

I don't think ATI and nVidia, the two big graphic chipset manufacturers, will keep their drivers closed for much more time. GPUs are more and more being seen as advanced mathematical co-processors rather than "mere" gamers' hardware. Keeping them closed is akin to keeping most if not all of a CPU's opcodes closed under NDA's. What good would that do to a CPU manufacturer? There'll come a point where software companies will simply start demanding open low level access to GPUs for performance improvement purposes (think advanced video editing, strong cryptography, grid computing etc.), and it'll be hard for GPU manufacturer to offer any reasonable explanation for not providing it.
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