March will be the last month that the R300 architecture, launched back in 2003 with the Radeon 9700, will be supported under AMD's Fglrx releases. As of the April Catalyst 9.4 set, all of AMD's OpenGL 2.0 cards will be removed from support, on both the Windows and Linux drivers. (so no, this isn't AMD picking on Linux, Windows is losing support too). These are all graphics cards from the Radeon 9500 - 9800 series, x300-x800 series, and x1x00 series.
Phoronix goes over how the news affects upcoming distributions : http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=13559
The bad news is that AMD has no plans to update the final 9.3 driver to work against future X.org servers, a practice Nvidia carries out on the 71.86.xx, 96.43.xx, and 173.14.xx driver sets.
The good news is that improvements alread in development for the X.org Mesa drivers will probably bring the 3D support for R300-R500 GPU's in within 10% or so of the existing Fglrx driver, and 2D support is in many cases, faster on the existing Open-Sourced Drivers.
The other good news is that the decrease in product support will mean fewer regressions, and should simplify driver development for the RadeonHD series.
Okay... my take. I'm not really sure what to think. I'm a little uncomfortable... okay, a lot uncomfortable with the UAE taking an interest in AMD. If this change in support hadn't occured so shortly after the board of directors changed up, I'd be a little bit more willing to just pass it on as standard obselence.
Phoronix also makes mention that the hours had been cut on RadeonHD developers. However, what isn't mentioned is whether or not these shorter hours are by the request of AMD to Novell, or by Novell directly. What some people have also noted is that the X.org ATi driver has seen faster development than the RadeonHD driver, mostly due to Novell's approach being based on a complete reverse-engineering of the hardware and registers, rather than by using AMD tools such as AtomBIOS. Last year though, the RadeonHD developers pretty much gave in and started to use AtomBIOS : http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...atombios&num=1
Only time will tell if the new AMD after the split off of the Foundry, and the loss of Hector Ruiz to the new Foundry Company, will continue to support Open-Source... I'm just hoping that some of the moves over the past couple of weeks are just knee-jerk reactions by Novell and not indicative of a change in AMD...
otherwise, Intel's Larrabee.. and yes, this is ME saying this... Intel's Larrabee suddenly just a heck of a lot more attractive.