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Re: ATI Linux Driver Packages

On Sun, 1 Jun 2003 23:16:12 -0500, Adam Majer wrote:
> On Sun, Jun 01, 2003 at 09:42:10PM -0500, Chris Cheney wrote:
> > Are these drivers much better then than XFree ones or is there a reason
> > to be promoting nonfree drivers? I orginally packaged up the nvidia ones
> > in the way they are done due to the fact the XFree ones had no 3d
> > acceleration at all and that it was illegal to distribute nvidia's
> > binaries directly.  Also binary only drivers will taint the kernel and
> > can cause the user to have trouble getting help with kernel related
> > issues. I got rid of my nvidia cards (some poor sucker took them) and
> > now use only ATI cards. 8)
> I think you might be the "sucker". :) [ok, it's not a flame thing].
> Does the radeon driver support 3D accel for cards beyond the R1xx level?
> ie. something like Radeon 7500. I don't think that Radeon 8500, 8800, etc..a
> are supported since they use the former FireGL GPU. The drivers from
> ATI fill the gap to support FireGL, and yes they are better. They
> can be used with Maya etc.. [at least it says that on ATI's site.]

3D acceleration exists for r[12]xx and r250; I'm not sure whether it
exists for the rv280. Indeed, it's in the stock XFree86 4.3 debs
previously distributed by myself, now distributed by the XSF.

daniel@nanasawa:~/music/mixMasterMike/spinPsycle% glxinfo | grep OpenGL
OpenGL vendor string: Tungsten Graphics, Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: Mesa DRI R200 20020827 AGP 4x x86/MMX/3DNow! TCL
OpenGL version string: 1.2 Mesa 4.0.4
OpenGL extensions:

> BUT, ATI doesn't have any drivers for new cards like Radeon 9800 and I 
> do not think they will have any Linux drivers.

The r3xx series is currently only supported (in both 2D and 3D form) by
ATI's binary drivers. However, ATI have a standing offer of specs,
hardware and developer access to any DRI developer who wants to write a
driver for the r3xx series.

> On the other hand, I installed Debian for a frried and he had a 
> GeForce 4 MX card. The driver from nVidia worked perfectly.
> Futhermore, I think that they only distribute the X driver that's 
> precompiled. The kenrel part has to be compiled by hand (which is good).

Binary-only drivers are best avoided, but when you have no other option,

> Futhermore, I believe that nVidia have _much_ better support in X
> from nVidia than radeon ever had from ATI. The free 3D driver
> hacked together does not give good performance as does nVidia's
> propriatory driver. Frankly, I very much prefer that nVidia has
> in-house support for their cards while ATI has none (the ones for
> Radeon 8500, 8800, etc.. are just FireGL drivers).

Uhh, that's utterly incorrect. My Radeon 9000 has out-of-the-box 3D
support, as do original Radeons, and all Radeon 7xxx, 8xxx, and 9[01]00
cards. The 9200 *may*, but I'm unsure. Hell, GATOS will even give you
VIVO support. The reason why you only get FireGL drivers is because you
don't *need* those drivers for the cards I mentioned above.

As for support, I've had pretty amazing support from ATI. ATI have
developer contacts who regularly feed patches into XFree86 upstream and
packagers (the entire 030 patch series was sent through ATI), and they
have the standing offer I mentioned above. The only thing preventing
capital-F-Free drivers being written right now is DRI developer time
constraints, AIUI.

nVidia have never offered any such deals to developers, or Free drivers
(the current ATI driver was originally donated by ... yep, them - ATI).

I personally buy ATI because not only are they currently the best card
around (even when wrapped in OpenGL, the demo optimized for nVidia
cards, by nVidia, to show off nVidia cards, runs over 15% faster on the
9800 Pro than the GeForce FX, and the 9800 Pro has been out longer than
the FX. Not only that, but ATI have offered outstanding support to
XFree86, and I can do my acceleration with a Free driver, not needing to
depend on nVidia to fix my bugs, or make the kernel module not use up
1mb RSS, or whatever.

Daniel, happily with his Freely out-of-the-box 3D-accelerated r250.

Daniel Stone 	     <daniel@raging.dropbear.id.au>             <dstone@kde.org>
KDE: Konquering a desktop near you - http://www.kde.org

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