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[2]: Things are Still a Mess
by kaiwai on Thu 10th Sep 2009 03:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Things are Still a Mess"
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm sorry ... what exactly will we need fglrx for?

For the next kernel, 2.6.32 or later, only nvidia cards will still require a binary blob driver for 3D hardware accelerated graphics and compositing.

There is a reverse-engineering project (nouveau?) to write a driver for even nvidia cards, but AFAIK it isn't ready yet for 3D acceleration or KMS.

http://www.osnews.com/story/21033/Nouveau_Becomes_Default_Driver_in...


Excluding the open source argument; I wouldn't use Nvidia simply their products are poor quality and have been so for many years. The only people who don't seem to care about stability and quality are ricers and gamers who seem to change their hardware configurations more times than they change their undies.

This is one of the reasons I have resisted getting a new MacBook - I don't want Nvidia in my laptop or desktop; they've screwed the pooch far too many times with customers that have MacBook Pro loaded with 8400 GPU's still experiencing GPU failures with some having had their boards replaced 4 times.

Quite frankly, I'd sooner go for a ATI powered laptop running Windows than having a MacBook with an Nvidia chipset from Apple. Yes, I loath Nvidia that much.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Things are Still a Mess
by lemur2 on Thu 10th Sep 2009 03:26 in reply to "RE[2]: Things are Still a Mess"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"I'm sorry ... what exactly will we need fglrx for? For the next kernel, 2.6.32 or later, only nvidia cards will still require a binary blob driver for 3D hardware accelerated graphics and compositing. There is a reverse-engineering project (nouveau?) to write a driver for even nvidia cards, but AFAIK it isn't ready yet for 3D acceleration or KMS. http://www.osnews.com/story/21033/Nouveau_Becomes_Default_Driver_in...
Excluding the open source argument; I wouldn't use Nvidia simply their products are poor quality and have been so for many years. The only people who don't seem to care about stability and quality are ricers and gamers who seem to change their hardware configurations more times than they change their undies. This is one of the reasons I have resisted getting a new MacBook - I don't want Nvidia in my laptop or desktop; they've screwed the pooch far too many times with customers that have MacBook Pro loaded with 8400 GPU's still experiencing GPU failures with some having had their boards replaced 4 times. Quite frankly, I'd sooner go for a ATI powered laptop running Windows than having a MacBook with an Nvidia chipset from Apple. Yes, I loath Nvidia that much. "

That is all fine from a personal point of view. I too bought my last hardware with ATI graphics specifically because ATI published the specifications for open source developers. Excellent. Kudos to AMD/ATI.

However, having said that, it is still important that open source doesn't abandon those people who have nvidia hardware, IMO.

For that reason, even though I wouldn't get nvidia hardware myself, I still applaud the efforts of the Nouveau project.

Apparently they have Xrender hardware acceleration working (so KDE4 should be good to go), and they have made strides towards (but still have some way to go yet) for KMS, Gallium 3D support, 3D support in general, video support etc, etc.

Still, it works well enough for desktop use such that Fedora have been able to adopt it for the default desktop. Even if you don't like nvidia, this is still a good thing for users.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Things are Still a Mess
by kaiwai on Thu 10th Sep 2009 03:50 in reply to "RE[3]: Things are Still a Mess"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

That is all fine from a personal point of view. I too bought my last hardware with ATI graphics specifically because ATI published the specifications for open source developers. Excellent. Kudos to AMD/ATI.

However, having said that, it is still important that open source doesn't abandon those people who have nvidia hardware, IMO.

For that reason, even though I wouldn't get nvidia hardware myself, I still applaud the efforts of the Nouveau project.


But the problem is with the Nouveau is the impression I get is the same I get from Wine. It sounds very nice to do it for compatibility reasons but it can be a double edged sword. Through the continued development of Nouveau Nvidia can easily keep the status quo and claim they don't have to cooperate because the OSS world is doing fine and dandy.

Apparently they have Xrender hardware acceleration working (so KDE4 should be good to go), and they have made strides towards (but still have some way to go yet) for KMS, Gallium 3D support, 3D support in general, video support etc, etc.

Still, it works well enough for desktop use such that Fedora have been able to adopt it for the default desktop. Even if you don't like nvidia, this is still a good thing for users.


Like I said, Nouveau is a double edged sword.

Then again, I question how many end users have Nvidia GPU's given that most of the time I come across people with Intel X3100 or X4500 in their laptops.

Mind you, I might be proven wrong and because of the additional infrastructure put in place within Linux that more companies are willing to open up specifications.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Things are Still a Mess
by m_abs on Sun 13th Sep 2009 13:36 in reply to "RE[3]: Things are Still a Mess"
m_abs Member since:
2005-07-06

That is all fine from a personal point of view. I too bought my last hardware with ATI graphics specifically because ATI published the specifications for open source developers. Excellent. Kudos to AMD/ATI.

I bought an ATI-card because they released specs, all I got was a barly working and slow card, what I quickly replaced with a nvidia card.

Maybe the linux kernel 2.6.32 will give me a card, I can actually use.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Things are Still a Mess
by werpu on Thu 10th Sep 2009 04:54 in reply to "RE[2]: Things are Still a Mess"
werpu Member since:
2006-01-18

Actually quality was the reason why i dropped ati and replaced it with an nvidia card. The ATI drivers sucked majorly for Linux while the Windows drivers were working excellently.
Getting compiz up and running without locking X was a trial and error test (which stuff did not lock up X could be enabled the other one had to be disabled)
The revision before even crashed X on video window resize.
You can tell me many things about nvidia, but with the card I just had to enable the binary drivers and suddenly everything worked flawlessly, no X crashes anymore.
ATI always has been like that, good hardware really shoddy drivers, but at least under Windows they finally have gotten their act together driverwise, the Linux land is business as usual. And btw. where are the BSD drivers?

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[4]: Things are Still a Mess
by lemur2 on Thu 10th Sep 2009 10:52 in reply to "RE[3]: Things are Still a Mess"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

The ATI drivers sucked majorly for Linux while the Windows drivers were working excellently.


This is exactly why the fact that there are now open source drivers (coming soon in the mainline Linux kernel) is so important.

We now have the documentation for how to drive the graphics GPUs, and we have open source code to drive them. Having both of those also means that when new bugs are discovered, they can be fixed. This is now true for very capable, competitive graphics GPU hardware (since ATI hardware outperforms Intel hardware). These drivers and graphics cards will quickly become the top line for performance, stability and supportability on Linux.

It will no longer be possible for an OEM to hinder Linux (unintentionally or not) by providing sub-standard binary graphics drivers.

Edited 2009-09-10 10:53 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Things are Still a Mess
by Jondice on Thu 10th Sep 2009 06:35 in reply to "RE[2]: Things are Still a Mess"
Jondice Member since:
2006-09-20

A few years ago ATI was nothing but trouble for me and some of my friends in *Windows*. In Linux, it was much worse. I haven't tried ATI lately, but now that they have OSS drivers, I do hope that the quality of the hardware and drivers has gone up.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Things are Still a Mess
by gfx1 on Thu 10th Sep 2009 12:06 in reply to "RE[3]: Things are Still a Mess"
gfx1 Member since:
2006-01-20

I was toying with windows 7 on my old laptop (2GHz P4) which came with Win XP. No sound, no graphic accelaration
cause the radeon mobilty M6 seems no longer supported by ATI.

But with Ubuntu 9.04 everything works (even the netgear wifi). Cutting edge hardware will always be trouble and this laptop certainly was back then.

On my more recent desktop win 7 is behaving a bit better.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Things are Still a Mess
by moxfyre on Thu 10th Sep 2009 21:04 in reply to "RE[3]: Things are Still a Mess"
moxfyre Member since:
2007-10-18

A few years ago ATI was nothing but trouble for me and some of my friends in *Windows*. In Linux, it was much worse. I haven't tried ATI lately, but now that they have OSS drivers, I do hope that the quality of the hardware and drivers has gone up.


Yeah, I had the same experience. I had an ATI card on an old desktop and basically considered it to be "VESA-only" under Linux. Fglrx was awful and the open-source 2D driver barely worked.

Well, you wouldn't believe the improvements in the last couple of years. I have an HD3200 IGP (R700), an R400-series 128gb PCIe card, and a laptop R500-series IGP, and they all run *flawlessly* today under Ubuntu 9.04, including compositing and 2D acceleration. Until a few months ago, I had to use the awful Fglrx proprietary driver for the R700 IGP, but now that AMD/ATI have opened up the documentation progress has been astonishingly swift.

My hat's off to AMD/ATI for doing the Right Thing. They'll get better drivers and loyal users. I'm not buying or recommending NVidia graphics to anyone unless and until they open up as well.

Reply Parent Score: 2

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Sorry but you only have to blame Apple for it.

NVidia only produces drivers for desktop systems based on their reference design boards.

The drivers coming with your Mac are partially developed by Apple. One are where I was disappointed with Snow Leopard is that it still lives in OpenGL 2.1 world.

Macs are good for many things, but not for Graphics workstations.

Comparing ATI and NVidia, the later gives way much better support to developers making use of their products. Just look to the amount of tools and developer documentation that each vendor is providing.

What I find positive is that ATI is providing GLSL support on their tools, while NVidia only provides Cg and HLSL.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Things are Still a Mess
by tyrione on Thu 10th Sep 2009 07:05 in reply to "RE[3]: Things are Still a Mess"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

Sorry but you only have to blame Apple for it.

NVidia only produces drivers for desktop systems based on their reference design boards.

The drivers coming with your Mac are partially developed by Apple. One are where I was disappointed with Snow Leopard is that it still lives in OpenGL 2.1 world.

Macs are good for many things, but not for Graphics workstations.

Comparing ATI and NVidia, the later gives way much better support to developers making use of their products. Just look to the amount of tools and developer documentation that each vendor is providing.

What I find positive is that ATI is providing GLSL support on their tools, while NVidia only provides Cg and HLSL.


OpenGL 3.2 drivers are in beta for Nvidia and AMD. When they are released I'd expect 10.6.2+ to have them.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Things are Still a Mess
by abraxas on Thu 10th Sep 2009 11:44 in reply to "RE[3]: Things are Still a Mess"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

Macs are good for many things, but not for Graphics workstations.


That's an odd statement. Macs are almost exclusively graphics workstations when deployed in the business world.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Things are Still a Mess
by mckill on Thu 10th Sep 2009 15:44 in reply to "RE[3]: Things are Still a Mess"
mckill Member since:
2007-06-12

Sorry but you only have to blame Apple for it.

NVidia only produces drivers for desktop systems based on their reference design boards.


This is false, Nvidia and ATI provide the full driver per Apple's requirements.

Reply Parent Score: 1

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Excluding the open source argument; I wouldn't use Nvidia simply their products are poor quality and have been so for many years. The only people who don't seem to care about stability and quality are ricers and gamers who seem to change their hardware configurations more times than they change their undies.

I have it exactly the opposite; I've never had anything except trouble with ATi cards and I've found nVidia cards to not only perform very well but also be stable as a rock as well.

As for driver side.. well, nVidia drivers may be binary but they've ALWAYS worked like a dream for me and support all the functionality of the card in question, even old cards are still supported. But my old ATi cards..well, the last ATi driver that works for them doesn't work with Compiz, it's unstable as heck and is somehow oddly slow. The open-source one works otherwise okayish except I still can't make TV-out work and the open-source one doesn't support pixel shaders. The lack of support for pixel shaders totally blows.

Reply Parent Score: 5

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

One of the reasons that makes me live in Windows land is that even the binary drivers aren't providing the same level as support as on Windows, being ATI or NVidia for that matter.

Even Carmack is referring to the current state of 3D drivers as a reason to stop caring about Linux in what concerns Rage.

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1244727%22

And I could care less for funny 3D desktop effects. What I want is my 3D code to work properly.

Reply Parent Score: 2

vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26

As for driver side.. well, nVidia drivers may be binary but they've ALWAYS worked like a dream for me and support all the functionality of the card in question, even old cards are still supported.


Ditto. I'd still recommend nvidia to Linux users, entirely because of their binary driver. We should understand that their driver codebase is their "crown jewel" (they share the codebase with the windows driver") and they are not giving that up lightly. But, in exchange we get a good (stable and fast) driver that receives much of the love dedicated to their money-maker (windows users).

There is no real need to get worked up about device drivers and open source. Hardware is expendable. When intel and ati get their acts together regarding the driver quality, we'll have more choices, but nvidia is currently the safe bet.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Things are Still a Mess
by dagw on Thu 10th Sep 2009 10:31 in reply to "RE[2]: Things are Still a Mess"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

I wouldn't use Nvidia simply their products are poor quality and have been so for many years.

I've worked in several companies and industries where the stability and quality of the GPU is paramount and it's been many years since I worked in a place that didn't use Nvidia GPUs. These people are neither "ricers" or "gamers", but professionals who need to be able to depend on their graphics cards, and they're all happy with Nvidia (or at least more happy than they'd be with any other brand).

Reply Parent Score: 7

tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Wow... what an "objective" BS you just wrote there, backed by absolutely no evidence other than personal bias.

Given that NVIDIA defined, literally, 3D graphics in Linux. And the fact that up til recently ATi had mediocre support for the OS at best, and there are still plenty of features missing from the ATi drivers (which up to recently were just plain awful, in both Windows and Linux land BTW). Then yeah, it sounds like "you know what you are talking about" NOT.

Seriously, I never though I would see the day where someone would try to make a serious attempt at claiming with a straight face that ATI products work better under linux that NVIDIA's.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: Things are Still a Mess
by lemur2 on Thu 10th Sep 2009 23:26 in reply to "RE[3]: Things are Still a Mess"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Wow... what an "objective" BS you just wrote there, backed by absolutely no evidence other than personal bias. Given that NVIDIA defined, literally, 3D graphics in Linux. And the fact that up til recently ATi had mediocre support for the OS at best, and there are still plenty of features missing from the ATi drivers (which up to recently were just plain awful, in both Windows and Linux land BTW). Then yeah, it sounds like "you know what you are talking about" NOT. Seriously, I never though I would see the day where someone would try to make a serious attempt at claiming with a straight face that ATI products work better under linux that NVIDIA's.


A lot of people just don't seem to get this.

I'll try again.

Up until a few years ago, there were no open source drivers for Linux. Only proprietary ones. This presents a big problem, because the stability and the entire performance of the entire system depended on the OEM's proprietary, secret, binary-only code. The Linux experts who coded the kernel and who would be the best people to debug any problems with drivers had no visibility at all into the graphics drivers.

So open source developers tried to write their own graphics drivers for Linux. In the dark, using reverse engineering, without specs. This is always going to be a slow, laborious process, only minimally effective. It is surprising the amount of functionality that was achieved.

The critical points here are these: (1) specs were NOT available, and (2) open source code was NOT written by the card manufacturers, (3) but code could be debugged, and (4) no danger of obsolesence through support being dropped.

OK, some while ago, this situation changed. Intel released their graphics drivers for Linux as open source.

The critical points here are these: (1) specs were available (to Intel staff), and (2) code WAS written by the card manufacturers, (3) but code could be debugged, and (4) danger of obsolesence through support being dropped.

This was a vast improvement, but still there were no specs. Still at the mercy of the OEM (Intel in this case). It is also a pity that Intel graphics are performance-wise significantly inferior to ATI or nvidia cards.

OK, early this year, ATI finally released the specs for R600 and later GPUs. Open source developers have been working on drivers since then (about eight months now).

The critical points here are these: (1) specs were available (to open source developers), and (2) code was NOT written by the card manufacturers, (3) but code could be debugged, and (4) no danger of obsolesence through support being dropped.

We are just now seeing the fruits of that coming through. These drivers represent an entirely new class of graphics driver, which has not been available in Linux before now. ATI cards are entirely competitive hardware-performance-wise. Finally they are going to enjoy a well-integrated graphics driver, written by people who know the Linux kernel and graphics systems inside out.

I never though I would see the day where someone would try to make a serious attempt at claiming with a straight face that ATI products work better under linux that NVIDIA's.


Well, now you have seen that day, it is finally almost here. The new code has been comitted to linux-next. "Working better" is precisely what this new class of graphics drivers will deliver. This is why people are excited about it.

PS: Obsolesence works to the advantage of a graphics card manufacturer. Card manufacturers enjoy a new round of sales (to 'serious' gamers) evey time Microsoft helps them out with a new version of Direct X. Think about what that fact means (to most end users) for a second.

Edited 2009-09-10 23:45 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3