Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-factory (340 mails)

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[opensuse-factory] Plans and Issues for ATI fglrx Driver for 11.2?
  • From: "David C. Rankin" <drankinatty@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2009 02:37:59 -0500
  • Message-id: <49DEF757.4000103@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

There are 2 issues that need to be addressed regarding the fglrx driver
the upcoming 11.2 release. Currently in 11.1, there are many laptop cards
supposedly "supported" by the ATI driver that crash or hardlock when the driver
is installed. Currently my X1200 is one, the 200 is another from the list (I'm
not sure what the technical card architecture is for the "200"). Suffice it to
say, this is a significant problem for all affected users. The issues that need
to be addressed pre-11.2 are:

(1) Performance issues and crashes caused by the ATI driver. Recent driver
problems: The 9-2 driver release caused my Toshiba 205d laptop to reboot on xdm
start and the 9-3 driver caused my laptop to hardlock if glxgears was started.
All fglrx drivers 8-10 through 8-12 had performance of less than 60% of the 8-9
driver. Compounding the problem is the fact that nothing prior to the 8-12
driver will even compile or run on 11.1 or later (presuming 11.2 as well)

Thankfully, there are some cards that seem to do OK with the recent 9-3
on 11.1, but it is hit or miss ...and... the fact that it works on "some" does
nothing to address and help the users where it "does not" work. Before the 11.2
release, Novell needs to get a handle on what cards will and will not run with
the ATI driver and at least incorporate a warning or release note for those
with affected hardware.

(2) Confirm - ATI driver support will be dropped for all R300-R500 ATI cards
post 9-3 driver release (per ATI forum). This is another *biggie*
Novell needs to get its arms around, to again, either incorporate into the
installer a way to not install the driver on non-supported hardware or identify
and warn about the lack of support for all R300-R500 cards.

That means no (nada) fglrx driver support for the R300-R500 series
cards which
include the: 9500, 9600, 9700, 9800, X300, X550, X600, X700, X800, X850
AllInWonder, and X1050 cards affecting all laptops bought before Q3 2005 (or
January 2007 in the case of the X1050). All of which are still *very* prevalent
in the group of laptops that make up the installed user base today and will
continue to do so through 11.2 release. This issue of dropping support is
separate and apart from issue (1) above because the group of cards in (1) are
supposedly still supported.

Other Thoughts:

After Stefan Dirsch handed over the reins of driver maintainer to Bob
<bob@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> I guess he is now the guy that this should be coordinated
through. I am glad to try and help, and to run test cases, etc. since I drew
the black bean in laptop selection so let me know if/when there are new cases
to test. I follow the ATI driver releases and test each one so I have a good
handle on where things stand today. The problem is that Novell needs to use its
resources to get a working partner in ATI to address some of these issues.
Luugi Marsan <atilinuxnovellbugs@xxxxxxx> was in the past the ATI contact, but
at present, I haven't a clue who the ATI contact is or even if there is one.
Without a good contact, we are dead-in-the-water getting any of these issues
addressed and we are guaranteed a significant number of stranded users if these
issues are not addressed.

Right now the 8-9 driver works fine for 10.3 and 11.0, but
unfortunately it is
incompatible with 11.1. The ATI issues prevent me, and all others affected,
from being able to move to 11.1. Hopefully, if Novell will start now to address
some of these driver issues with ATI, then by 11.2 release they have a good
chance of ironed out.

With a desktop, you can always rip the ATI card out and replace it.
With a
laptop ... you are kind-of stuck.

David C. Rankin, J.D.,P.E.
Rankin Law Firm, PLLC
510 Ochiltree Street
Nacogdoches, Texas 75961
Telephone: (936) 715-9333
Facsimile: (936) 715-9339
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