Not all Unhappy campers on ati
Instead of a complaint, I want to say I am very pleased to have the OSS drivers with whatever flaws they have. I have an agp HD 4650, and have had to taste the alternative.
I need windows for a fortnight on my box. I have put in XP-sp3. The issues are legion, it seems. Video comes up as a driverless card running at the speed of the clock's hour hand on 800x600 @ 16 colours. Of course windows wants drivers for everything, and keeps shoving that in my face; I have gotten the 11.3 hotfix drivers(Hotfix for the driver not recognizing the card). Point windows at the .inf files, and it installs - eventually. Getting this far wasn't easy. If I touch the resolution, I'm back to 640x480 at 4 colours. If I reboot, I'm back to 640x480 @ 4 colours. If I break wind, I'm back to 640x480 @ 4 colours.
Once at 640x480, I can't set anything because "OK" and "apply" are six inches below the bottom of the screen :-O. I delete the card & shutdown, and I can work at the pace of the clock's hour hand. The pci ids are:
1002:9495 - vga card
1002:aa38 - hdmi sound card
I'll never say a bad word about OSS Drivers again. Not until I forget this. Is anyone out in the ether able to install these %$@! things? I've looked around and there's gigabytes of complaints about HD 4xxx cards, half the pci ids not there, the hdmi audio driver crashes out, if the agp aperature is wrong nothing sets, etc etc. Forum threads last for years with no solutions.
You need to install the win agp driver for your board, otherwise ati drivers will never work.
i have the same card hd4650/agp and yes the opensource driver is the best in my testing... the catalyst11-5/linux also fails in 11.04 (black screen on startup)
its ironically the so called worst driver "radeon" beat the catalyst on windows and linux.
yes sure i have problems to on linux because right now i do only have software rendering with galium3d 0.4,,,
Well, I passed it to my bsce toting windows nerd son, and after half a day, _he_ gave up on it. So I pulled the ATI card, threw in an old nvidia mx-440 and am running fine. Lol. I only need windows for a week or two, then I can restore order. Linux still functions under slackware-12.0 which was set up for the old card.
What really astonishes me is the stability of the development trees. I'm running kernel 2.6.39-rc4 with drm/mesa/xf86-video-ati from git and everything is completely stable. I haven't submitted a bug report in ages.
Today I tried to install the nvidia drivers for a new GTX 560 board at work.
I don't know why people put up with that crap. Nothing worked out of the box, but that's understandable for such a new card. Installed the drivers form Debian repositories, no graphics. Had to debug from the command line, to find out that the drivers don't support it. Pulled the latest stable drivers from "unstable" (adding unstable tree to sources.list, then removing it immediately after allez!), same thing. Then I find out that I need the 270 beta drivers, which are not even in Debian experimental (at least not in the nvidia-recommended version).
Oh, and the Debian nvidia installation guide has about 300 pages on all the tricks and pitfalls. The nouveau section is a one-liner. It's hilarious, really: http://wiki.debian.org/NvidiaGraphicsDrivers
If anyone starts another rant about how user-friendly the nvidia blobs are, I'll shit on him. I spent half a friggin day, and I still only have a framebuffer. I'll either have to wait for debian unstable to package this stuff (which will take weeks) -- this is the way Linux is supposed to work -- or I download the blob from the nvidia webpage (which has problems with both firefox and webkit) and run unknown binaries as root, thus potentially compromising the system. I'd take installing from git by hand any day.
If nouveau were an option with this board, I'd ditch the blob to hell. All because of some old CUDA code we have, which I /might/ have to touch at some point.
The nvidia run installer works with debian too. Just uninstall every installed nvidia debian package. It is clear that you need a new driver for a new card and not a fully outdated one. You need to blacklist nouveau if it was loaded. If you have got trouble using plain debian use Kanotix.
ATI open-source (and the bug reporting/fixing process) works very well if you don't need demanding 3D or video accel. Actually, the r300g driver is making gaming and more advanced 3D a reality as well (mostly thanks to Marek's work). I'm hoping the gains and innovation on that driver will help make the r600g development (and future drivers) less painful and time-consuming, as was ATI's plan to begin with.
The ATI drivers are pretty much garbage on every platform. As an end user they're fragile, and as a developer they're often just insanity-inducing (especially their OpenGL drivers, though the D3D ones aren't without epic-fail at times too).
The OSS drivers are missing tons of functionality and speed I flat out need for what I do, but at least I can be reliably sure that they work. Sans the occasional crash deep in dri_r600.so for what should ideally just be reported as an error via the OpenGL error mechanism, but those are pretty rare. I can crash my NVIDIA drivers on Win7 more often with a simple GLSL shader than I can crash the OSS r600 driver (granted, I can't run that particular shader at all on the OSS drivers, so maybe that's not a fair comparison...).