Debian X.org notes - Got specs? - Brice Goglin's Blog
Sep. 12th, 2007
22:04 - Debian X.org notes - Got specs?
So, this time it was for real! AMD really meant it when they announce the release of specifications of ATI boards last weeks. During XDS2007 at Cambridge, we received the actual specs, 2 PDFs files, 460 pages for the M56 (Mobility X1600, r5xx board) and 436 pages for rv630. The files are now online, but I am not going to give the link here since the web server already suffered too much today (and the URL is easy to find anyway).
People should NOT understand this as if we were going to get an open-source driver for all ATI boards next weeks. First, these are only 2D specifications for r500 and r600. 3D specs are expected in a couple weeks once AMD fixes the remaining issues. r300 specs might arrive later. Also, these specifications are pretty hard to use, as expected. There are something like 9000 registers in r6xx boards, and these PDF files are just description of these registers. It's of course far away from being a "How-to write a driver?". So if you want to help, there will be lots of things to do.
We also got a demo from some Suse guys of the driver they are working on. They got these specs about 2 months ago. And they already have some part of modesetting working. It means you might get your X server to start. There are about one hundreds different chipsets with their own quirks, so still lots of work to do. And then lots of performance things, 3D, ... to do. This driver is called "Radeon HD" so far. It will remain separated for now, but it might end up being merged with the upstream ATI driver later since the 3D engine are very similar (I personally hope it will happen).
The reverse-engineered Avivo driver is dead now then. Fortunately, Jerome Glisse has been aware of the event for a couple months now, so he didn't waste to much time working on it. xserver-xorg-video-avivo will remain in Debian experimental until the new driver arrives. The good thing about Avivo is that it (and the ongoing Nouveau driver for Nvidia) led to the development of very nice reverse-engineering tools (revenge, renouveau, mmio trace, ...). They will be very useful for other graphic boards, or even some network hardware.
Of course, many thanks to AMD for making this happen!