Users on ATI cards on Linux distributions utilizing Xorg 7.5 can finally rejoice, because ATI’s latest Catalyst driver now includes support for that particular version of X. And about time too, ATI!
Read on to find out more.
In the world of Linux, where various aspects of the OS are often updated and refreshed at a rapid pace, driver support can be a very tricky issue, especially if one is making use of binary drivers provided by the hardware manufacturer instead of those that have been written by the Linux community.
The reason is simple: unlike community drivers which are written well enough to allow for various system updates without breaking due to unexpected changes in the system, binary drivers provided by the manufacturer are often compiled for a specific version of the Linux kernel and its relevant modules. As a result, users who rely on proprietary drivers often find that a single update of the OS’s various key components almost always ends up in broken drivers and near-complete loss of hardware support, like what happened to users of ATI’s graphics cards and Catalyst drivers when upgrading from Fedora 10 to Fedora 11 (kernel not supported), and later from Fedora 11 to Fedora 12 (Xorg 7.5 not supported).
Fortunately, for those who are on Fedora 12 (or any other distro which makes use of Xorg 7.5), it seems that ATI has finally gotten around to pushing out a driver that supports that particular version of X, which will undoubtedly be good news for all of those who had been forced to use the open “VESA” or “radeon” drivers in such distributions, which completely lack support for hardware acceleration.
However, it should be noted that ATI’s move to support Xorg 7.5 came at an exceptional late stage of its product life: according to the official Xorg site, Xorg 7.5 was released as early as October last year, and ATI took almost six months to churn out a working driver which supported this particular version of X. Furthermore, it has also been announced that Xorg 7.6 is already in the works and is slated for a September/October release this year, and just how quickly ATI can respond to Linux’s rapid development pace and produce a driver that will support the upcoming version of X without causing too much disruption to users remains to be seen.
Still, a working driver with support for Xorg 7.5 is better than having no driver at all, and Xorg 7.6’s September/October release date means that most Linux distributions will push out at least one more release of their OS which still runs on Xorg 7.5 before making the transition to Xorg 7.6. And until that happens, ATI users can rest easy with the knowledge that their drivers are still useful for at least one more distro refresh.