“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.”
The Open-Source ATI R500 Driver
About The Author
Follow me on Twitter @thomholwerda
2007-06-19 9:27 pmThawkTH
I’d bet that close to 100% of the time, if a person is discussing a video card, somebody will say “Don’t by ATI if you use Linux!”
Though AMD may soon hold that title. I think we’re all hoping that doesn’t happen…
2007-06-20 1:03 amthebin
Sadly, I too will have to go back to the opensource ati driver because ATI’s OpenGL implementation is broken and as such many 3D won’t compile or run properly. I expect to take a performance hit as well as not being able to use video out to connect to a projector.
2007-06-20 1:54 pmmakc
I really hope that AMD will make some improvements in linux drivers.
Think to be AMD managers. Is it worth to spend the required amout of money for such a small percentage of the market?
While I agree this is not enough to claim they opened the drivers, they did a step in the direction. Better than nothing, isn’t it?
I have an ATI Radeon X1300 Pro in my Dell desktop, and it is currently running the commercial ATI driver (thanks to Ubuntu) quite nicely, but I would prefer to use a pure oss solution. I’m not a gamer, so I’m sure I would be able to live with any speed differences between the oss driver and the commercial one. As long as the oss driver is faster then the default vesa driver! 🙂
Keep working on the driver folks, I’m sure I’m not the only one stuck with the commercial driver.
The lack of good ATI linux video drivers are holding me back from buying an ATI GPU laptop. NVidia GPU laptops run $700+ more, but I’ll be paying the extra (again) if ATI doesn’t start producing a competitive linux driver soon.
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.
2007-06-20 5:18 amShade
“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
2007-06-20 1:15 pmB. Janssen
The “ati” module automatically selects the appropriate module for your card, in your case the “radeon” driver. Thus, you are already using the best FOSS driver for your card. If you don’t need hardware 3D or automatic resolution switching (e. g. docked/undocked) you should be fine.
There are issues with EXA however, sometimes causing redraw problems on the root window. You can work around this by simply setting a background picture instead of filling it with a color. Maybe this MigrationHeuristic-Option helps also, I don’t know.
2007-06-21 8:31 amgustl
Best 3d Open source drivers are available for the Intel graphic chips.
Not something you can play the latest games with, but 3d desktops and Celestia should be no problem.
Games with reduced detail level settings and resolution work quite well.
I’m hoping that if/when Intel ever gets around to releasing discrete video cards, they still keep up with the free drivers, though it may be a bit strange having and Intel video card in my AMD system.
Hopefully AMD finally gets ATI on the right path here. Sure they can make great video cards but if there’s no open driver then they are missing the cutting edge tech crowd. We might be less than 1% of the market, but it’s that market who tells their friends which hardware to buy and which hardware to stay away from.
As I recall one of AMDs test for compatibilly used to be that their processors must run BeOS. Well let’s see if they are still open to giving the info needed to make video drivers for Haiku.
It took a year (if I remember correctly) for ATI to give us X1000 family support in fglrx, it took a year more to get open source driver that can start up those cards. If it gonna stay this way we will be hearing a lot of “Don’t buy AMD/ATI if You use linux” on forums. I really hope that AMD will make some improvements in linux drivers. I got X700 in my notebook and I’ve switched to open source driver, it gives about a half of performance of fglrx which gives about a half of speed of windows driver.
Edited 2007-06-19 19:08