Thursday, July 03, 2008

ATI and KDE 4

I've got a cheap on board ATI 1200 series video. I've been using the Catalyst proprietary driver from ATI, with some success. I have become reaquainted with the hard reset button, but the free drivers have been not much better. Seeing notice of a new version that supported EXA rendering, it was time to try them again. Here is the announcement

What a nice surprise. Everything worked fine once I renamed the xorg.conf file. It detected the monitor and resolution just fine. The peripherals worked as expected. Plug and Play. Scrolling in Konqueror is quick, Dolphin is downright snappy. 2D is quite satisfactory.

When I turned on Desktop Effects using OpenGL, it didn't work at all, and I had to revert. Using XRender however, the effects are quick and tidy. I can watch a video with Dragon, which I couldn't do with the Catalyst drivers with Effects enabled. A slight problem with Dragon, it doesn't want to go full screen. I'm sure there will be other issues show up, but so far so good. I can't get the 3D Earth Model plasmoid to work, but it didn't work with Catalyst either. I may be missing something there. Xine ui doesn't work properly either, but mplayer does.

Ahh, the sweet smell of freedom. There has been enormous effort to get the video stack working, there is quite a ways to go. But how nice to experience the first fruitage of the efforts. Kudos to the ati radeon developers. And kudos to AMD for releasing specs that allow free drivers.

Oh, this was version 6.9.0 of xf86-video-ati, KDE svn version 827820.

the 3D earth plasmoid requires programmable shaders; i believe only the closed source nvidia drivers provide those right now in land.

future earth widgets based on marble will be more friendly in that regard.
For OpenGL to work properly, you may need newer mesa (7.1_rc1) and drm (included in kernel 2.6.26-rc8) too.
Unfortunately I've had rather less luck with 6.9.0. The previous SVN snapshots (in debian) worked fine for my ATI Xpress 200m, but since the upgrade to 6.9.0, my external monitor won't go to its native resolution anymore. 1680x1050 running at 1280x800 is not pretty.
leo s:

A setting if the monitor isn't detected properly.

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