Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 19th Jun 2007 18:33 UTC, submitted by Michael
3D News, GL, DirectX "Last week the first open-source ATI R500 driver had entered the world. This new driver (named the xf86-video-avivo) is very early into development, but a small set of developers have been working on reverse engineering this GPU class for the past couple of months. This driver does not yet contain any 3D functionality or support for features that most end-users expect. At this point, the driver just contains very basic initialization and set video mode support for a portion of the Radeon X1000 family. Even with this very basic R500 driver, we couldn't help but to explore the Avivo driver for the past few days."
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"Is there a list of open source drivers for the different graphics cards? I have a Radeon Xpress 200 in my AMD machine, but I am using the i386 ISO of FreeBSD 6.2 and right now I am using the xf86-video-ati driver. I have not had any problems, but if there is a driver specific to my card I would rather use it instead."

I believe that is an r300 or r400 based chipset, so if the Driver "radeon" would be a good bet. (Knowing that the BSDs and Linux share the DRI.) That being said, if I recall, there were problems with one of the 'small numbered' ATI mobile chips in that family. After that 'man radeon' is your friend for performance tweaking. If you're going to experiment with 'exa' (and a sexy window manager) you're probably going to want "AccelDFS" "on", and since you're on a mobile "DynamicClocks" "on" probably wouldn't hurt either. Also, if drawing becomes slow under 'exa' I found that the undocumented "MigrationHeuristic" "greedy" does wonders.

With that being said. ATIs / AMDs closed drivers are of a quality vaguely reminiscent of being repeatedly kicked in the groin. I'm not talking about the vs. windows speed issues (as I wouldn't know), or even the kernel boogie (which I agree with the kernel developers on), or even the fact that they are closed (which I hate), but their sheer capacity to either crap out on upgrade or to hard lock your system. I switched to the r300 drivers long ago (as soon as they were usable) and haven't looked back. Slower yes, but it gives you more stability and better support for the sexy new XOrg stuff.

Heh, I bought my ATI 7000 because it was one of the first cards to have OK open linux support. (r100) I got my ATI 8500 for the same reason. (r200) Then I discovered my Enemy Territory and the need for the closed driver, and learnt the nature of true pain. At the same time my friend got a ATI 9800, and he dual booted, and also discovered the nature of closed driver suffering. The fun part is that different driver releases would hardlock differently for both of us. Once I heard the open r300 driver was stable'ish' I went out and bought an AGP X700 and switched back to the open driver and never looked back...

I'm really pleased to know when I build my next linux box at Christmas (Boxing Day) I should be able to get a newish X1XXX with an open driver. Yay!

Edited 2007-06-20 05:19

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