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AMD Linux

AMD Publishes Open-Source "ATI Evergreen" Driver 159

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the still-watching-and-waiting dept.
Several readers have written to tell us that AMD has published their code to support the Radeon HD 5000 "Evergreen" graphics cards on Linux in an open-source driver. Unfortunately the driver isn't quite as complete as some might hope. The current offering doesn't promise 2D (EXA) acceleration or 3D support. "The DDX driver supports mode-setting on the Evergreen/R800 series GPUs with VGA and DVI connectors while the DisplayPort connectivity is still not working right, according to AMD's Alex Deucher who had written most of this code. These new AMD graphics cards have been around since September while there was no open-source support at that time. In December just before Christmas there was Evergreen Shader documentation that was made publicly available and around that time it was confirmed via our forums that initial VGA mode-setting was working with Evergreen internally on unreleased code. Since then the digital connector support has been added in and this code has finally cleared AMD's legal review. The revised target was to publish this code by FOSDEM, which is this weekend so AMD did hit the target this time."
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AMD Publishes Open-Source "ATI Evergreen" Driver

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  • by electrosoccertux (874415) on Monday February 01, 2010 @07:45PM (#30989284)

    FTFS:

    The DDX driver supports mode-setting on the Evergreen/R800 series GPUs with VGA and DVI connectors

  • by MostAwesomeDude (980382) on Monday February 01, 2010 @08:05PM (#30989534) Homepage

    Some reading between the lines is needed.

    Any r600 acceleration code *should* work with only minor tweaks on Evergreen (r800). The biggest changes are supposedly in GPGPU-land; r800 supports a lot more shader instructions than r700 or r600.

    I don't have one of these yet, but I'm sure Cooper and Richard, the AMD 3D devs, are furiously coding away to make stuff run.

  • Re:Baby Steps (Score:5, Informative)

    by MrHanky (141717) on Monday February 01, 2010 @08:16PM (#30989650) Homepage Journal

    The driver is functional for your regular 2d needs. Browsing the web and moving windows around is fast enough. It doesn't crash all the time (only tried it for a few hours, and no problems so far), but it does lack video overlays, so it's not quite ready for media use just yet.

  • Re:Name Says It All (Score:5, Informative)

    by Daffy Duck (17350) on Monday February 01, 2010 @08:38PM (#30989882) Homepage

    Wow, attack the guy's name. Nice. Maybe he should go by "Anonymous Coward" like all the cool kids.

    In fact, Alex has been developing open source drivers for ATI cards for years on his own dime, and AMD only relatively recently hired him to do the same thing for money. Would a little gratitude to either of them kill you?

    Alex, the only reason I could see anything from my Radeon card for the last six years was because of your work. Thank you!

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday February 01, 2010 @08:45PM (#30989950) Journal

    Windows 7 manages to support the same graphics driver interface as did Windows 2000, which is nearly ten years old.

    I don't think this is correct. While Windows Vista and 7 support Win2K drivers for many devices unchanged, video driver model in particular was completely rehashed in Vista. I'm not aware of any video drivers for XP, much less 2K, working in Vista or 7.

  • by nxtw (866177) on Monday February 01, 2010 @08:49PM (#30989988)

    I don't think this is correct. While Windows Vista and 7 support Win2K drivers for many devices unchanged, video driver model in particular was completely rehashed in Vista. I'm not aware of any video drivers for XP, much less 2K, working in Vista or 7.

    Every GPU that doesn't have a WDDM [wikipedia.org] driver uses a 2000/XP driver. This includes chipsets like the GMA 900 (famous for not having Aero support).

  • by nadaou (535365) on Monday February 01, 2010 @08:55PM (#30990050) Homepage

    ATI release the free driver AND specifications which means that with work the free driver can get out of its crippled state.

    i.e. with time the nVidia binary-only driver will only get worse (binary bit rot has a half-life of say 1.5 years), while the ATI OSS driver will only get better with time and is not locked to yesterday's Linux kernel or X11.

    It is a choice of candy today, or no candy today but candy for the next month.

  • by nxtw (866177) on Monday February 01, 2010 @09:34PM (#30990350)

    Except it doesn't

    Yes, Windows Vista/7 do support 2000/XP (XPDM) drivers.

    whoever modded you up is an idiot.

    It's unfortunate that you can't get your hardware working in Windows 7, but that's no reason to insult anonymous people on the Internet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 01, 2010 @09:59PM (#30990578)

    O RLY?

    Explain why my non-Aero i855 laptop doesn't work, or why a 915 won't either.

    I submit that you're full of shit.

    This is the difference between a programmer and a user. A programmer runs into a problem and says "eh, must be a quirk with my hardware." A user goes "OMG! Windows is teh broke! M$/Vista sux!!one"

    Please do everyone a favor and remove yourself from this site.

    P.S.: Since you can't be bothered to research your own claim, here is a relevant quote from Microsoft (unfortunately it applies to Vista, but 7 didn't change in this regard IIRC):
    MSDN - Graphics APIs in Windows [microsoft.com]

    While new systems shipping with Windows Vista will include video cards with WDDM drivers, and new drivers for a number of popular video cards are included in the box, Windows Vista continues to support the ability to use older XPDM drivers for upgrades and corporate editions. On systems using the old driver model, Direct3D 9 and older interfaces must be used, and the operation of the graphics system is very similar to that of Windows XP (Figure 1). WDDM is required for applications to use Direct3D 9Ex, Direct3D 10, and later versions.

  • Re:Nightmare (Score:5, Informative)

    by MostAwesomeDude (980382) on Monday February 01, 2010 @11:32PM (#30991252) Homepage

    Actually, we're fortunate to be able to reuse most of our code on lots of GPUs -- there are some bits that apply from r100 to r700. The "fun" is in the sheer complexity of the hardware, the inability of the hardware to cope with incorrect programming, and the lack of documentation, manpower, and testing available to assist us.

    Oh, and hardware bugs. You don't wanna know how many there are. Really. Try getting an RS480, or RC410, to do 3D. It ain't fun.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Monday February 01, 2010 @11:35PM (#30991278) Homepage

    A relatively new nvidia card is going to have support for full video decode acceleration in Linux.

    It's the ANCIENT cards that aren't going to have that capability. Although the xvmc on the older
    cards is actually quite helpful while not being a "complete" acceleration solution. Really, the
    only thing xvmc can't help with is high bitrate 1080p h264 or VC1.

    This is why the really ancient nvidia cards are even better than newer ATI cards on Linux.

    Decent hardware + good driver trumps whatever + really crappy driver.

  • by 7-Vodka (195504) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @12:00AM (#30991418) Journal

    I've had a R600 based radeon HD3870 on linux for a while. I used to go with the fglrx proprietary drivers, but I've recently switched to the radeon (ddx) driver.

    I have to say I'm extremely happy with the Open driver. Now is it Free Software? I'm not sure, I mean *most* of the driver seems to be, but you still need to load microcode firmware.

    As far as the quality of the driver though, it seems very bug free and the kernel mode setting is awesome. Switching from vt-1 to an Xorg session for example is instantaneous. Mesa seems to need some work on the 3d side, but you can play quakelive on it and run the kde version of compiz.

    It's really great that ATI has both released documentation and paid developers to work on getting these drivers up and running, they should consider both sponsoring some 3d work on the mesa side and also figuring out a way around the microcode situation.

  • by walshy007 (906710) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @04:04AM (#30992504)
    I currently have a 9500gt in an old p4 system here running linux, and I do have 1080p video acceleration. It's called VDPAU (video decode and presentation api for unix) works a charm.

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