Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 9th Sep 2009 22:29 UTC, submitted by lemur2
Linux Open source 3D graphics drivers for ATI R600 garphics cards has been submitted to the kernel-next tree for possible inclusion in the Linux kernel 2.6.32. "David Airlie has pushed a horde of new code into his drm-next Git tree, which is what will get pulled into the Linux 2.6.32 kernel once the merge window is open. Most prominently, this new DRM code brings support for kernel mode-setting with R600 class hardware as well as 3D support."
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RE[4]: R700+ also supported
by smitty on Fri 11th Sep 2009 05:02 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: R700+ also supported"
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Ok, let's clear up some of the confusion here:

ATI actually did release some specs (i think it was under NDA only) way back in the R200 days (Radeon 8xxx). That card was actually pretty well supported.

When the 9700 came out, there were no more specs, and the architecture was different enough that a new r300 driver was created. Some of the code there came from the old r200 driver, and the rest had to be reverse engineered. Later, r400 and r500 support were added by building on top of the r300 driver with reverse engineered knowledge. Good r500 support in particular didn't come about for a long time.

AMD did eventually drop some r500 docs as you noted, although it was much less than what we got for the new cards. The developers did use it to quickly finish up the half-done state of the existing r500 support, and it now works pretty well. I think AMD has hinted at providing more docs for other old cards as well, but it's very low priority and probably won't happen until the current cards are working well.

Meanwhile, r600/700 came out with a completely new architecture and the driver was started from scratch. This is the driver that is just now becoming ready for use, and although it's still rough it's working remarkably well.

The radeon rewrite project wasn't a seperate driver itself, but a port of the existing codebases to take advantage of the new KMS, kernel memory manager (TTM), DRI2 system. The rewrite added wrappers so that the same codebase could support both the new DRI2 features and the old classic DRI environment. As a result, the new code that is landing now supports both, just like the r300-r500 driver does as well. This is the change that screwed up the Intel drivers so badly, but radeon seems to have done much better, most likely because they didn't release it immediately when it still sucked and because Intel worked out a bunch of the kinks for them.

The current code only supports OpenGL1.4, although 1.5 support should come soon (already in the r300-500 driver), as well as Xv video acceleration and is quite snappy for desktop use. Things like Google Earth will run great in this driver. Things like the newest game won't (although i think you're pretty silly for trying to run those in linux anyway).

So OpenGL3 / GLSL and fast 3D support will only come with the Gallium drivers, which are still a ways off. I don't think anyone honestly knows when they will be ready. I've heard that the r300-r500 gallium driver is in pretty decent shape and might come out within a few months at least for an alpha type release. I'm thinking we could have a decent 3D driver for the newer cards by xmas 2010, but going that far ahead there's just no way to know for certain what will happen.

Edited 2009-09-11 05:04 UTC

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