AIGLX

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AMD / ATi

  • AIGLX support is listed for introduction in the AMD 8.42 Catalyst Drivers


AIGLX is not supported in AMD's proprietary drivers as of version 8.40.4 released August 13, 2007. Beryl, Compiz, and AIGLX are officially unsupported by AMD/ATI. The functionality of the DRI API used by AMD has been surpassed by the AIGLX project [1], and the lack of AIGLX support is considered a point of contention for owners of AMD/ATi hardware.

ATi, now AMD, have communicated with the Open Source Communities through Phoronix, Rage3D, as well as at the Red Hat Summit stating that the existing drivers were entering a maintenance stage, and that new a OpenGL driver architecture was in the process of being written. AMD/ATi has explained before that spending development time and money adding AIGLX support to a driver that was being replaced did not make financial sense. AMD has also made it very clear both in print and online media that it intends to Open up the source code the drivers. There is no current timeline as to when an Open Sourced Driver set will be made available. ATi, now AMD, has stated multiple times that their existing drivers include licensed technology that they do not have the rights to Open the Source code too. (IBM and SGI are known to hold some of the licensed technology).

Providing feedback to AMD through the Linux Driver Crew feedback page also has an option to specifically request AIGLX suppport, as well as support for MythTV and TVtime. AMD does collect and read the feedback given to them. AMD employees are also known to read posts made in the Driver sections on Rage3D, as well as Phoronix, and also are known to reply to posts in both locations.

The X.org Radeon Driver team offers support for R100, R200, R300, and R400 series graphics cards from AMD/ATI cards. The X.org Radeon Drivers are generally slower than the official Fglrx Drivers from AMD, on the order of anywhere from 300%-700% depending on the application (Source : Phoronix, already linked). However, on supported hardware the X.org Drivers offer full pixel and vertex shader functionality which enables composition managers such as Beryl to function properly. Support for the Radeon Cards was made possible due to chipset specifications released by ATi. There is some controversy surrounding the R200 chipset specifications, reported by Phoronix. The supported cards list are as follows:

R100; original Radeon series, Radeon 7000 series, Radeon 7500 series.
R200; Radeon 8500 series, Radeon 9000 series, Radeon 9100 series, Radeon 9200 Series
R300; Radeon 9500-9800 series (considered beta)
R400; Radeon x300-x800 series (considered beta)

There are some caveats to the Radeon X.org support. Chipsets based on the Radeon Xpress GPU's are known to not work, due to an issue derived from a memory controller system that has to contend with both Intel's FSB architecture, and AMD's HyperTransport architecture.

Intel

It should be noted that Intel responded to the AMD/ATi merger by opening the source code to their intergrated GPU's. It should also be noted that Intel's Integrated GPU's supported under the Open Sourced driver lack some physical GPU components, instead performing many operations in a software mode in order to save on cost of the chipset. More information about the hardware is available on TechArp, with Intel's Desktop GPU page on TechArp here, and Intel's Mobile GPU page here. Intel's GPU's are also generally held in derision by Game Developers, such as Mark Rein of Epic Software. While the drivers that have had their source opened support AIGLX, several pixel shader and vertex shader effects are known to not work. Intel has yet to announce whether or not future integrated GPU's would have their driver code opened up, and AIGLX support on forthcoming Intel GPU products is as yet, undetermined.


Nvidia

Nvidia's binary drivers have several performance and stability issues. However, unlike the existing Fglrx driver, Nvidia has implemented support for the AIGLX protocol. Unlike Intel hardware, Nvidia hardware generally supports all of the Pixel and Vertex Shader Operations. Like AMD, Nvidia announced several months ago that their OpenGL driver was in the process of being re-written. The 1.0-97xx driver set was supposed to be the last of the previous OpenGL driver, although the current 100.14.11 and following series seems to continue using the previous OpenGL driver. Various unconfirmed forum reports state that several of the stability problems with the 1.0.-97 driver set seem to addressed in the 100.xx series, however there are multiple issues with running Pixel Shader 1.4 operations. This is probably due to Nvidia only shipping one Pixel Shader 1.4 part, the Nv2A in the Microsoft Xbox, and never having focused on supporting some of the calls outside of cursory support in the GeforceFX series. The Nvidia x86-64bit drivers still have some issues when presenting OpenGL and DRI to the OS in use. External photobucket image showing Cedega report on Nvidia 1.0.97 driver under 2.6.15 x86-64. Updated snapshot: External Photobucket image showing Cedega reports on Nvidia Driver 100.14.11 on 2.6.22 x86-64 kernel.

There also is a critical memory leak with Beryl, AIGLX, and Nvidia drivers. Such that there is an explicit warning in the Beryl configuration manager to not use certain effects with Nvidia cards. Nvidia's driver release notes have yet to indicate that the memory leak has been addressed. External photobucket image showing Beryl configuration warning.

Currently Nvidia has no plans to open the source code to their driver, and makes no specifications available to Open Source communities. Unlike AMD/ATi, Nvidia does not offer any feedback for their drivers outside of forums on Nzone and Nvnews. It is unknown if anybody on the Nvidia driver team visits either forum location. Also unlike AMD/ATi, Nvidia has no bug reporting system in place, or any community bugzilla, for their Linux drivers. The result is that fixes for AIGLX support seem unlikely to occur.

The only involvement Nvidia has with the open source communities outside of a recently established preview driver set is an Open Sourced 2D driver.

Nouveau is a community project that is in the process of reverse engineering Nvidia cards in order to create an open source driver set. Nouveau's current position on the status of their drivers is that nothing is yet operational. There is, however, some basic 2D support offered in the driver. GlxGears is known to run on Nv40 hardware for some developers. AIGLX support is scheduled to be included in the Nouveau driver set.

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