Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Graphics GUI Software X Linux

ATI Releases Drivers for XFree 4.3.0 428

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the better-late-than-never dept.
Kyouryuu writes "ATI has finally released official drivers for XFree 4.3.0 and updated their Linux drivers to 3.7.0 for supported XFree versions, several months after the originally proposed release date of April last year. Although Schneider Digital has previously made available unofficial drivers, Linux users who have ATI Radeon cards can now benefit from an official release. Unfortunately, ATI still insists on using RPM exclusively and keeping the drivers closed source."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

ATI Releases Drivers for XFree 4.3.0

Comments Filter:
  • by grennis (344262) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @12:45PM (#8485172)
    Unfortunately, ATI still insists on using RPM exclusively and keeping the drivers closed source

    So what if the drivers are closed source? ATI cant and wont expose the low level details of their hardware's functionality to competitors. Whats the difference anyway? It is naive to think that you could even understand, let alone improve, what the engineers - who know the hardware intimately - have written? And by the way, Nvidia does not publish its source either...

    • can someone comment on how these perform? im heavily considering putting linux back on my box, but ive gotta be able to game...are these new ATI drivers anywhere near as good as nVidias as far as performance is concerned in relation to the performance in windows?
      • by Jeffrey Baker (6191) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:29PM (#8485469)
        The 3.7.0 drivers (which, btw, have been out for over a month before this Slashdot headline) are absolutely terrible. I was getting 10-15fps in UT2004 at any resolution on a Radeon 9700. I reverted to the previous release.
      • by blixel (158224) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @03:47PM (#8486356)
        I have an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB. I have been playing with UT2K4 for the last couple of weeks since it was released for Linux. I thought it was running pretty well on my system ... until I booted over to Windows and gave it a try. What a disappointment. Under Windows my frame rate is - *at the very least* - more than twice as high (which gives me significantly smoother play - I never thought it was jerky or anything under Linux, but it's **WAY** smoother under Windows). And visually, just about everything looks at least a little bit better, and in some cases, a LOT better. Lighting effects, wall textures, fog/smoke, and especially the flags on the walls in CTF. They look silky smooth in Windows and wave in the wind ... under Linux they are much morer flat looking and almost pixelated. I guess it's the difference between OpenGL and DirectX? And the sound quality under Windows is also signifcantly better. Reverb, echo, stadium sound, whatever it is... it sounds great in Windows.

        I'm pretty bummed out about it actually because I don't feel like there's anything I can do to make it better under Linux. (Updating to the 2.6 kernel didn't help. I'm running the latest drivers for my video card and I've downloaded the nForce2 Linux drivers from nvidia for my motherboard's integrated sound. (ASUS A7N8X Deluxe, rev. 2.0)

        I still prefer Linux ... games just are a significant factor for me... but it was still a real let down.
        • by John Hurliman (152784) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @05:33PM (#8487055) Homepage
          There IS a solution... buy an Nvidia card. I remember when ATI cards were considered junk, the only decent thing they had was the All-In-Wonder and the drivers were terrible. Then ATI decides to get competitive and release a GPU that performs marginally better than Nvidia's latest offering in benchmarks, now all the gaming fanboys are raving over ATI. Problem is they STILL don't know how to write proper drivers. Nvidia drivers have always been on top of the game, supporting extensions like XvMC before 90% of the open source drivers were even thinking about it. I'm not getting paid to plug Nvidia, in fact I'd say buy a Matrox G400 (top notch dual-head and 2d acceleration, possibly the most solidly designed video card ever, full open source drivers that do everything and the kitchen sink), but people like 3d acceleration.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 06, 2004 @12:51PM (#8485222)
      Yeah, it's really naive to think that someone else might be able to spot the deadlocks I seem to get from my ATI drivers. Especially since it's a software problem, not a hardware one.

      Clearly software engineers would not be able to help this at all and you're definately not trolling. I mean, duh!
    • Remember the Win2000 source leak. Someone noticed a fairly simple programming error (signed instead of unsigned variable IIRC). That person didn't have an initimate knowledge of Windows 2000, but they still found a bug. This is the type of situation where more eyes make for better code.

      • So you're saying that because someone found a bug in windows (surprise fucking surprise), then everything should be open?

        I agree with the parent, graphics drivers do a lot more than say modem drivers and probably have a lot of secrets that ati would not want to get out into the open, pun intended. ATI sells hardware, not software. But the software is what makes the hardware run so well and therefore is just as important to them as the hardware. If ATI spends a couple million on research only to have nvi
    • by BoomerSooner (308737) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @12:52PM (#8485227) Homepage Journal
      Oh bullshit. You're telling me that nVidia cannot reverse engineer the binary?

      It's about control, nothing more, nothing less.
      • If Nvidia can, why cant whoever wants to produce an opensource driver? Learn to live with what you are given, if you continue to dislike someone because they do not share your beleifs then you are going to be very dissappointed with life.
      • by be-fan (61476) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @02:52PM (#8486014)
        If their binary is anything like NVIDIA's driver, that'd be a dozen megabytes of code to reverse engineer! Remember, a graphics driver is *not* a simple register-banger. Its an entire implementation of OpenGL. Much of that code is more or less hardware-independent, and has to do with optimizing display lists and whatnot. Reverse engineering the driver would be extremely difficult.
    • by lubricated (49106) <michalp @ g mail.com> on Saturday March 06, 2004 @12:54PM (#8485237)
      > So what if the drivers are closed source?

      No porting to ppc. No fixing minor bugs if they come up. No customizing the drivers to a particular application. No tinkering. No learning.

      > ATI cant and wont expose the low level details of their hardware's functionality to competitors.

      They can but they won't. Their competitors have competent engineers that can reverse engineer the stuff if needed. It's all in software anyway.

      > Whats the difference anyway?

      see above.

      > It is naive to think that you could even understand, let alone improve, what the engineers - who know the hardware intimately - have written?

      I think you are naive. There are plenty of smart people that do alot of linux work. Surely they know linux better than ATI, and thus they may be able to improve the drivers since it's not just the hardware that these drivers are specific too. Also they may be able to port the drivers to PPC or BSD.

      > And by the way, Nvidia does not publish its source either...

      What's your point? It would be better if they did.
    • I doubt competitors can benefit by using info from driver sources. And you also seem to be contradicting yourself - on one hand can improve it but the engineers, on the other hand competitors can abuse it somehow... This really does not add up. I beleive the real reason is plain old beaurocracy.
    • well... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by temojen (678985)

      1) I have a Radeon card in a Gentoo system. Gentoo doesn't use RPMs.

      2) What if ATI has linked it against the wrong library version?

      3) What if I get an Opteron?

      • Re:well... (Score:5, Informative)

        by kinzillah (662884) <douglas@price.mail@rit@edu> on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:05PM (#8485323)
        Portage downloads the rpm, pulls the content out and puts the pieces where they need to go.
      • Re:well... (Score:5, Informative)

        by gaj (1933) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:45PM (#8485562) Homepage Journal
        1. Quitcherbitchin. Gentoo can use RPMs just fine ... install RPM. Or is that too hard for an 3L337 63|\|700 |-|4x0r?
        2. They link against glibc 2.2, so it works great with either 2.2 or 2.3 installations. I'm running it on a 2.3.2 system right now. This could become an issue ... but it is not at this time.
        3. Then you should, at this time, get a damn NVIDIA card. This does suck a bit, and is a perfect example of where having competition is a good thing. OTOH, you could also use a 9100 or earlier Radeon and use the open-source drivers, or do withought 3D acceleration. You have options.
        Sheesh. No one is holding a gun to your head saying "Buy an ATI video card or die!". If you don't like 'em, don't buy 'em.

        Would it be better if both ATI and NVIDIA released their X servers as open-source? Hell yeah! OTOH, it is a very good thing that they are supporting Linux with current cards. The rest, we can work on with time.

      • Re:well... (Score:3, Informative)

        by MoronGames (632186)
        You use gentoo? Try this:

        emerge ati-drivers
        fglrxconfig

        You now have ATi drivers installed on your gentoo box and you're setting up the configuration file for them! Congratulations!
    • I honestly don't know what about nvidia is open or closed, but I do ,now 90% of my installs of nvidia drivers they recompile at least a portion of it to match my kernel. There are a lot of kernels out there and if ATI's drivers can't be compiled to match them they are much less useful.
    • by wehe (135130) <wehe.tuxmobil@org> on Saturday March 06, 2004 @12:56PM (#8485259) Homepage Journal
      So why are other companies able to provide their drivers as Open Source? Do you think the developers of for example XFree86 [xfree86.org] were not capable to do a good job?

      Anyway I like Open Source drivers. BTW: Don't forget to sign the Intel Support of Centrino Under Linux Petition [petitiononline.com]. See more details about Linux on Centrino laptops [tuxmobil.org].
      • 1) Because most other drivers are an order of magnitude simpler. Your modem driver, for example, does not need to do complex reordering of display lists to optimize performance. Also, OpenGL drivers are an entire OpenGL implementation. So its like open-sourcing not just your modem driver, but your whole IP stack.

        2) No slight to the XFree86 developers, but:

        a) Many of the XFree86 drivers (eg: nv) are significantly slower than their proprietory counterparts and in any case 2D is much easier to do drivers for
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 06, 2004 @12:56PM (#8485261)
      So what if the drivers are closed source? ATI cant and wont expose the low level details of their hardware's functionality to competitors. Whats the difference anyway?

      The difference is that this is Slashdot where the cranks di tutti cranks hang out. ATI could give away free video cards, open source all their drivers, and hire a bunch of strippers to come to your house and make you birthday cake... and the Slashdot crowd would still piss and moan.
    • by wfberg (24378) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @12:56PM (#8485263)
      So what if the drivers are closed source? ATI cant and wont expose the low level details of their hardware's functionality to competitors. Whats the difference anyway? It is naive to think that you could even understand, let alone improve, what the engineers - who know the hardware intimately - have written? And by the way, Nvidia does not publish its source either...

      It's naive to think ATI's competitors don't have a much better understanding of their hardware than whatever can be gleaned from their drivers' sources, especially if you consider that they can already reverse-engineer the binaries better than any random Joe, seeing as they have actual money to sink into it. And there's the thing about them making the same sort of hardware.

      Having the source would greatly benefit the little people though. These cards will sometime go End-Of-Live, and the manufacturer won't support them.

      Perhaps the source won't be released to hide the fact these "engineers - who know the hardware intimately" make code that is in fact cruddy at times, and that it contains bugs than random Open Source jockeys can fix.

      Though it's likelier that the drivers simply contain patented/copyrighted stuff they sublicensed from third-parties that are paranoid about anyone seeing it.
      • These cards will sometime go End-Of-Live, and the manufacturer won't support them.


        Graphics cards that have gone 'end-of-life' in the past have been dropped by the XFree86 team themselves. An example is the S3 Trio chipset cards. Sure, an ambitious hacker could forward-port support themselves. However, this points out that 'free software' people abandon hardware as well, rendering it worthless to anybody but the most diligent.
        • I'm not sure I see your point. Of course people aren't going to continue to work on an support a driver for hardware that no longer exists except in a museum. That would be crazy. The point is that if the source to an older driver is available, and it is somehow vitally important to you that you keep your ancient hardware yet need to update Xfree (not clear why this would be anyway), you always have that option. You can hack on it yourself if you're sufficiently talented or you can pay someone if you're not
    • by zzabur (611866) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @12:56PM (#8485266)
      Whats the difference anyway?

      Even if we don't count idiological issues, closed source drivers mean numerous annoyances to the users.

      For example:

      • Drivers can be buggy, and there is no way to fix it. (NVidia drivers are hang my system all the time.)
      • Closed source drivers need additional EULAs and thus often cannot easily be distiributed with Linux distributions.
      • Drivers need to be installed separately, which is annying, sometimes difficult and may break your system. (this is also true for Windows)
      • When some new soft/hardware appears (like AMD64, 2.6 kernel), one has usually wait for months for drivers to be updated.
      • Source-based distributions like Gentoo cannot compile new, performance optimized version, if driver is distributed as a binary.
    • by bl8n8r (649187) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:22PM (#8485424)
      > It is naive to think that you could even
      > understand, let alone improve,

      I get to stare at "professional" code every day. It is nothing like what was in the textbooks. There is acres of room for improvement. silly little things like something called a buffer overflow are present in many of the implementations. I cannont believe my eyes somedays, and it's a wonder that the product that this certain company puts out, functions at all. It is under the cover of closed-source that these things are allowed to persist, and will probably never change. The company just keeps issuing patches and revisions and fixes what is terminally broken. Futhermore, the only reason these "bugs" exist is simply do to human laziness; something that could be overcome by another simple human, with the right principles, without an "intimate knowlege" of the hardware.
    • One effect of the drivers being closed source is that new kernels must wait on the convenience of the manufacturer for support. Another effect of the drivers being closed source is that when a model is discontinued, support can go away, and your card becomes worthless. (The second argument is really a part of the first argument.)

      There may be others, but those are sufficient for me. I won't be paying for high end cards. I've had too much experience with closed source applications breaking with system pa
    • by Nurf (11774) * on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:29PM (#8485472) Homepage
      So what if the drivers are closed source? ATI cant and wont expose the low level details of their hardware's functionality to competitors. Whats the difference anyway? It is naive to think that you could even understand, let alone improve, what the engineers - who know the hardware intimately - have written? And by the way, Nvidia does not publish its source either...

      I design hardware for a living, and you are wrong. There is no real benefit to hiding your hardware internals from the rest of the world. It's a knee-jerk PHB thing. It has no bearing on reality.

      If you are scared of your competitors, then hiding your hardware internals costs them maybe a week, because:

      1) They know how to do everything you do, anyway.
      2) What they don't know they can figure out in under a week, if they put an engineer or two on it. The delta between what they do and what you do is minimal, and anything they want to know is trivial to reverse engineer.

      There might be "IP" issues, which usually means there is stuff in there protected by a stupidly restrictive license with another company. In my experience, the IP usually isn't worth the bother, or if it is, the license is only restrictive because lawyers simply assume it has to be. They come from a zero sum world, and never think of any other possibilities unless you start witholding cookies.

      Usually, being closed will cost your partners much more than a week - they don't just want to learn what you did, they need to interface to it, and that is _hard_. It requires much better information than simply figuring out a trick your competitor used.

      I will say it again: It is very rare and unlikely that closing your software helps in a situation like this.
    • by timeOday (582209) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:31PM (#8485485)
      So what if the drivers are closed source? ATI cant and wont expose the low level details of their hardware's functionality to competitors. Whats the difference anyway?
      In my case it makes the drivers unusable.

      I wanted to plug my laptop into a 1600x1200 LCD using DVI. If you select "linux laptop driver download" at the ATI site, it says "go ask the manufacturer." Oh, goody, corporate marketing BS fingerpointing.

      But IBM doesn't support 1600x1200 over DVI on my laptop. Why? Who knows. Supposedly under Windows you can get it by hacking the registry. But IBM doesn't feel like supporting it. More corporate BS.

      So you go back to the ATI site and download the Mobile FireGL driver, if you're persistent enough to think of trying it on the M9 Radeon chip. Turns out it does work, but they won't tell you that due to even more corporate marketing BS.

      You find that it almost works, but makes a sparkling or shimmering effect from random bit errors at 1600x1200. From the open source radeon driver mailing list, it appears that the fix is very simple. But ATI got it wrong and of course a closed source driver can't be fixed. Of course you could try to contact the ATI engineers, tell them the solution, and maybe they'll send you a fix. In your dreams.

      Meanwhile the open source radeon driver runs 1600x1200 over DVI just fine. Some versions did create the shimmering effect, so somebody posted to a mailing list and helped the developer figure out what was wrong and it got fixed.

      So yeah, closed source is different.

    • But nvidia's drivers can be installed on j random debian kernel and debian-built kernel, well all that I've tried anyways(nvidia's module includes a dri interface that links to the kernel). Source is a preferred medium for many things which have to hook with kernels(which are source-built for many people).
      Will ATI help other distros incorporate their "gift" or will they just tout redhat's horn?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:39PM (#8485527)
      I disagree.

      First of all, the ideas and low level details of the hardware's functionality should be available to those who pay money for the card. If those ideas are advances in human knowledge, they can be patented and then the competitors can't copy them. If they aren't, then why should we give up access to them ? We aren't getting new research in return. Keeping these things secrete is giving up something (access and control) with out getting anything (investment in new research and technology) in return. I find it saddening that someone can post a knee-jerk defence of secrecy, invoking only "competitors" as a reason, and get modded up. Slashdot should have moved beyond this by now.

      I stopped buying NVidia chips precisely because of their closed source drivers. You see, the reason why NVidia and now ATI go closed source is that much of their work is actually software, not hardware, work. The implementation of the functionality which is NOT on the card, but in the driver, matters a lot. NVidia was well known far having good cards simply because the software implementation of certain OpenGL fucntions was excellent. If they released the source, those would be copied by all other graphics drivers -- and then NVidia would have to compete on the quality of their hardware, which is exactly what they don't want to have to do and what is in our best interest for them to do.

      By allowing more and more functionality in secrete non-Free drivers, you are essentially allowing your system to gradually become a proprietary OS with a bunch of cheap hardware dongles hanging on it. This is what Apple does.

      You say "It is naive to think that you could even understand, let alone improve, what the engineers - who know the hardware intimately - have written?" Apart from the fact that your question mark is on a sentence that is not a queston, this shows a naive and uninformed view of technical history. It shows you are the kind of person who looks at computing as a matter of reading Tom's Hardware and applying your "informed" reasoning to picking components off a shelf and plugging them together.

      Perhaps you would be happier with a Mac. Then you could have a unix-like operating system, with about as much freedom as you care about, and an ATI card to boot.

    • by Usquebaugh (230216) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:54PM (#8485621)
      It's very doubtful that either Nvida or ATI do not know what is in each others past, current and future cards. The driver would not expose anything that is not already known.

      The improvement is not what most people want, they want the ability to easily support their graphics card. When Nvidia/ATI moves on to the next release of hardware do you think they are going to want to support the current stuff?
    • You are either ignorant, stupid or a troll.

      I'll assume the first, and attempt to educate you. I've already pissed off a bunch of people who instead provided the usual whiny /. repsonse to your (possibly unintiontional) troll, so I figure I better piss off the rest. wheee!

      So what if the drivers are closed source?

      I value my time far to much to fully answer this one, but there are many reasons [dwheeler.com] for preferring open source: philosophy [gnu.org], practicality [opensource.org], curiosity and quality are four of the biggest.

      ATI cant [sic

  • by Rushuru (135939) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @12:47PM (#8485180)
    ATI was just waiting for xfree 4.3.0 to eventually enter debian
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 06, 2004 @12:48PM (#8485195)
    ATI has been offering drivers for XFree86 4.3 since some time late last year.

    What's new is that there are new Linux drivers. No mention of whether they support GLX 1.3.
    • The drivers were new to me and I suspected they were new for others as well. Either way, I don't recall any stories about it - old news or not. It should be easy to understand that after a half-year of waiting, I convinced myself that ATI just wasn't going to support its official packages anymore and so stuck with the Schneider Digital packages instead.

      When by chance I went to ATI's site yesterday and saw that there was an XFree86 version, dated 3-2-2004, I thought it was a new thing and worth mentionin

  • Not just RPM... (Score:5, Informative)

    by OrangeHairMan (560161) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @12:49PM (#8485211)
    from the readme:

    Some notes for debian users:

    The debian Linux distribution in most cases does not come with the
    ability to handle rpm packages with the rpm tool. But there is a
    tool called "alien" which allows you to convert rpm files into the
    debian supported *.deb package format. Please consult your debian
    documentation on how to operate this tool.

    A typcial debian installation commandline will look like this:

    dpkg -i <ati_package_name>.deb

    In order to override complaints (which might be caused by an already
    installed package "xlibmesa3" that also provides the file libGL.so.1.2)
    please use this installation command line:

    dpkg -i --force-overwrite <ati_package_name>.deb

    Hopefully this helps!
    • But how hard would it be for them to fix up an alienised deb and distribute that, or to plain create debs in the first place?
      • Re:Not just RPM... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Erratio (570164) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:04PM (#8485314)
        There's support issues, once they release those packages they are responsible for them.

        I'm running a computer with an ATI without a package management system but I installed RPM and forced an install of the package and it works fine. I think the RPM in this case is mostly just a way to archive the different parts of the driver (kernel module, X module, doc) without actually being too system specific, and considering it worked on my computer which is running all the latest, non-standard libraries, I'd guess that the only real variable to watch for is the X version which is the one they release different versions for. I did need to hack the driver in previous versions to get direct rendering to work though (I'll find out about the new one shortly).
        • Re:Not just RPM... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Jeffrey Baker (6191) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:31PM (#8485482)
          ATI doesn't support their driver on Linux, so there are no "support" issues at all.

          I have ATI hardware but I'm considering switching to nvidia. They very frequently release drivers, their drivers actually work correctly, and their drivers are available for Opteron and even Itanium.

    • Re:Not just RPM... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AntiOrganic (650691)
      I can run a disassembler on the code and claim they released the source in 100% pure assembly as well, but that doesn't really make it so.
    • Re:Not just RPM... (Score:4, Informative)

      by asciono (220392) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:38PM (#8485524)
      This package is worth checking out if you use Debian
      and want to use ATI's own drivers:
      ATI Linux drivers packaged for Debian [virgilio.it]

      Hm, anyone actually know what the big difference
      between using ATI's closed source drivers or the
      open sourced DRI-ones? (except not poluting your
      karma ;>)
      DRI [freedesktop.org] (debs) [freedesktop.org]
      • Re:Not just RPM... (Score:3, Informative)

        by joib (70841)
        The DRI drivers only support 3d acceleration with <= 9200 cards. If you want 3d acceleration with the newer cards you have to use the closed source driver.

        Personally, I have a radeon 9200 and I use the DRI drivers. Works just fine for me.
  • Well (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bishop, Martin (695163) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @12:51PM (#8485219)
    There is always rpm2tgz [rowonet.de]
  • two points (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lucretian (136335) * on Saturday March 06, 2004 @12:52PM (#8485226)
    1. ATI has offered drivers since last year.

    2. the RPM has nothing to do with being closed source. It has a binary "IP" library that gets linked in when you compile it... if you want to install on a non-rpm system use alien or some other method of unrpming it, then compile and install. Yes, it's still closed source, but rpm the reason for this.

    What I'm upset about is that they have all the hooks for 64bit amd support in the wrapper code, but the binary IP driver is not released for x86_64.
  • Several? (Score:5, Funny)

    by ghostis (165022) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @12:56PM (#8485256) Homepage
    several months after the originally proposed release date of April last year.

    for large values of several apparently...
  • by X-Nc (34250) <nilrin@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Saturday March 06, 2004 @12:57PM (#8485273) Homepage Journal
    Closed source is bad, there's no question about that. But what's the big deal about the release being in RPM format? Any competent Debian (or derivitive) user will easily be able to install it using alien and as for tgz binary distros, again, alien will convert.

    RPM -> Good!
    Closed source -> Bad!

  • by johannesg (664142) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:06PM (#8485332)
    I checked out the site and cannot find anything regarding AMD64 support. Is it there?
    • by The Analog Kid (565327) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:15PM (#8485386)
      No, but nVidia does provide AMD64 support, so if you planning on building a Linux machine with an AMD64 CPU inside, I'd go with nVidia. Actually for Linux I would always go with nVidia, for right now anyway until ATI can pick up the pace, because a Radeon 9700 spits out FPS in GLX gears that is less than a GeForce 5200.
  • Ok, so ATI and nVidia are out since they release a binary only graphics driver. I have a GeForece card and It's really a pain to get it working properly.

    It there a good grapics card that has good, open source drivers? With 3d acceleration etc...?
    • Not really. From my limited research, the Intel video chipsets have opensource 3D accelleration, but the fastest 3D cards with OS drivers are the previous generation ATI boards (R2?0 based, the 8500/9100 or maybe the FireGL 8800 (an overclocked 8500).
    • It is not hard at all to install Linux nVidia drivers. All you have to have is the sh installer, and the kernel source you used to compile your kernel or the kernel source from your distro that they used to compile the kernel with. Then just type sh nvidia-xxxxxx.sh. It launches the installer, and searches for a packages that matches your kernel and if it doesn't then it compiles the "glue" between the kernel and their proprietary driver. After that, modprobe nvidia and make sure you change the "nv" in the
  • No suprise here (Score:3, Insightful)

    by theatre_freak (548212) <clean@NOspAm.citynet.net> on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:16PM (#8485388) Homepage
    I can't say I'm suprised by ATI's move to stay closed source. I've never been happy with anything ATI and most likely won't buy anything ATI. I've had a very bad experience with my ATI TV Wonder - sure they've updated their WinXP drivers, but the new drivers are a 2MB download, Multimedia Center (of which I only want the TV) is a 24MB download, and on top of that, you need Microsoft's Data Access Objects (a 17MB download) to make the parts of MMC that I don't even want to work. I've never gotten this combination to work, so I'm using the new drivers with an old version of MMC which mostly works, but doesn't respond well to Right-Clicks on the display area of the TV. I don't even dare to request tech support because they'll tell me to download the newest software and will be little help beyond that (which was the run-around I got when I was trying to make the card work in Win2k). Simply put, I love ATI's hardware, but their drivers are simply awful and for those of us who don't want the fluff, we still have to download the whole package and try to figure out how to install just what we want and still have everything work.
  • by Chuck Bucket (142633) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:17PM (#8485395) Homepage Journal
    I still see no support for Linux PPC, so the correct title for this article is: "ATI Releases Drivers for XFree 4.3.0 for x86 based systems only"

    Thanks.

    CBV
  • by phoxix (161744) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:18PM (#8485400)
    Why do I say this ?

    Because this story is pretty much misinformed. Support for XFree86 4.3.0 is nothing new at all. It has been for quite sometime.

    Additionally the previous article about ATI's support for linux/XFree86 has also been totally wrong [slashdot.org] as well.

    And apparently there is a port of the driver to FreeBSD going under way .... (check out #ati on Freenode for more )

    Sunny Dubey
  • by noyren (701451)
    The news should be ati pulls the 3.7.1 drivers because.. well, they sucked (no offence ati, but I guess you know, since you pulled em). Theese drivers are two months old..
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:20PM (#8485414)
    Will they finally stop sucking?

    To be honest, I don't give a damn if drivers are closed, open or whatnot, as long as they actually work and properly use the cards features.
    That the Nvidia drivers are tied to the kernel is anoying, but bearable since they actually do work. Nvidias Linux support has been next to none - they've got high karma with me.
    From ATI though, I've heard only negative stuff. Same from Matrox, whos Linux support seems to be an utter joke.
    Can anybody confirm or debunk this about the new ATI drivers?
    • by Jagasian (129329) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:58PM (#8485662)
      What would be the point of Linux if it was all closed source? For many people, "open" is why they use software like Linux, and they want to minimize the amount of closed technology they use.
    • by bolverk (31238) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @04:30PM (#8486667) Homepage
      Same from Matrox, whos Linux support seems to be an utter joke.

      OK, so not only do they provide drivers, but they provide *source* code under a license that allows much of it to be incorporated directly into XFree86 and you call that an utter joke?

      Damn, man, what will you accept?

      ftp://ftp.matrox.com/pub/mga/archive/linux/2003/ mg adrivers-3.0-src.tgz

      I run OpenBSD on non-i386 hardware. It's support like this that makes Matrox the only real option for me. I mean, try to get the nVidia Linux kernel module and binary XFree86 module running on OpenBSD/alpha.
  • Did you see ATI or nVidia providing drivers for Linux years ago? Linux's acceptance has earned it the recognition it needs from big time hardware manufacturers. Sure the drivers might not be open source, but at least they exist. And companies like IBM embracing Linux could act as a catalyst for future hardware support.
  • RPM2targz (Score:3, Informative)

    by cuban321 (644777) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:27PM (#8485454) Homepage
    One suggested way to compile and install the ATI drivers is to use a package called rpm2targz [slackware.com].

    Just run it on the rpm
    untar the tar.gz to /
    cd lib/modules/fglrx
    cd build_mod
    ./make.sh
    cd ..
    ./make_install.sh
    Modify your XF86Config-4 or run fglrxconfig

    That should be it. If you have AGP 8x you really should use Kernel 2.6.X. You can get it to work with 2.4.X but it's a pain. Search google for 2.4.X.

    Daniel
  • I've been using ATI 4.3 drivers since december IIRC... from their site..

    Did this guy just notice???

    Now they did release a new version the other day.. I think he's just been out of touch with his drivers.
  • by Jacek Poplawski (223457) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:29PM (#8485471)
    ATI driver is closed source. It means that after installing you will have one piece of system (kernel module!) without source available. It makes your system not 100% free. It is almost same situation like with nVidia. Almost, because ATI driver it's little different - without all win32 shit inside.

    I am pro-Radeon, because ATI released almost-complete (without HyperZ!) specification for older Radeons (r100 and r200), but I am not going to buy their new cards (with r300). If you have old one - I recommend using open source DRI drivers.
  • Curious (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is not a troll. I'm new to Linux, and one of the things that surprised me about it was the fact that the graphics drivers are dependent on the window system. Isn't this bass ackward? I would think that the drivers would be dependent on the hardware only, and that the window system would be a layer above the drivers.
  • by xutopia (469129) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @01:56PM (#8485644) Homepage
    cause NVIDIA was the first to release drivers for XFree and I have gotten used to NVIDIA line of products as a result.
  • by BigBuckHunter (722855) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @03:01PM (#8486065)
    I am trying to grasp why manufacturers don't open source their drivers, or in the case of NVidia, the hardware specs to their GPUs. The hear the same feedback from the SD community all the time, and it appears that there are two main arguments.

    1: They can't OSS the driver cause there is propritary info (patented S3TC and such)

    2: They can OSS and release their specs to projects like DRI as it would reveal stuff to the competition.

    I say nonsense. These two arguments seem to equate OSS to GPL.

    1: NV and ATI could make up their own OSS license. Lets call it the "We Need To Hide Stuff" license. They take their existing codebase and print it out. They then take a black magic marker to the printout and cross off all of the IP related stuff. They then scan the documents into Acrobat distiller and release it as a PDF. Add a statement that the code is their property under the WNTHS license and cannot be used by others, and all changes should be sent to NVidia. Problem solved. It's OSS.

    2: I have never seen a processor designer "hide" their chip specs. Intel doesn't. AMD doesn't. What makes NV different? Unless they have unlicensed hardware in their product, there is no reason for them to hide what they have.

    Are there any other reasons that I am missing?

    Thank you for your time,
    BBH

    • by DeathPenguin (449875) * on Saturday March 06, 2004 @03:42PM (#8486328)
      This guy [clustermatic.org] seems to have it right:

      "Suppose you create and design feature X into your chipset. You might find, via a lawsuit, that feature X is patented by company Y. I've talked to vendors who would like to open their hardware but are scared to do so for this very reason -- they might have designed a patented feature into their hardware without realizing it."
    • 1: NV and ATI could make up their own OSS license. Lets call it the "We Need To Hide Stuff" license. They take their existing codebase and print it out. They then take a black magic marker to the printout and cross off all of the IP related stuff. They then scan the documents into Acrobat distiller and release it as a PDF. Add a statement that the code is their property under the WNTHS license and cannot be used by others, and all changes should be sent to NVidia. Problem solved. It's OSS.

      This isn't open

  • by antdude (79039) on Saturday March 06, 2004 @03:24PM (#8486217) Homepage Journal
    v3.7.1 driver was PULLED a few days ago due to many complaints. See this ATI Linux driver forum [rage3d.com] for the complaints. I had issues with both v3.7.0 (Xscreensaver's OpenGL didn't work) and v3.7.1 (X server didn't start at all) drivers on my old Red Hat Linux 7.2 box.
  • Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

    by niko9 (315647) * on Saturday March 06, 2004 @03:45PM (#8486348)
    ...writes "ATI has finally released official drivers for XFree 4.3.0 and updated their Linux drivers to 3.7.0 for supported XFree versions,

    They have had support for 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3 for the last six to eight months at least.

    ...users who have ATI Radeon cards can now benefit from an official release.

    If you read the README these are all "officially unsuopported"



    Unfortunately, ATI still insists on using RPM exclusively...

    Again, if anybody cared to read their instructions, there are specific details on how to get these RPM's converted to debs via alien.

    The only real news concerning ATI and Linux drivers isn't even mentioned here. I wonder how this passed as news, since these unofficial drivers have been out for the longest.

    The real news is that ATI released 3.7.1 on the fourth. There was only one sentence in the changlelog: "Support added for the Radeon 9800XT"

    Of course this, and the fact that that the new driver trashed alot of X servers, sent the Rage3d crown into a flame frenzy. ATI promised linux driver updates every two months, and after waiting and waiting (with numerous issued datailed here [rage3d.com])
    they added one ChipID for the 9800XT which results in some unstable X servers for people who don;t even have 9800XTs?

    As a result the 3.7.1 drivers were pulled several hours after being released with no explanation given.

    I'm happy they are making an effort, but their enthusiasm seems misguided at best. After declaring that they re writing the ATI drivers from scratch (as oppesed from upgrading the Schneider drivers) they rename them from 3.2 to 3.7? What? Shoudn't the rewritten drivers from scratch be labeled a alpha or beta release at best?

    I currently have two radeon cards, and have gone back using the open source Xfree 2d driver and dual booting into windows for playing games until this mess gets sorted out.

How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else. -- R. Buckminster Fuller

Working...