Seeing that I'm new here, let me just start off by introducing myself as an avid technological reader with currently an interest in GPUs and Linux. I've now taken considerable interest in Mr. Larabel's editorials, and must say I find them useful. I can't really say that I own anything I'm referring to here (as I'm only 15), but I'll phrase it as: our family currently has three computers (five if you count two old ones from 2001/2002 which we rarely bother with anymore). They are as follows, with an incomplete list of specs:

HP Pavilion dv7 (Laptop):
* CPU: Triple core (weird, huh? :P) AMD Phenom processor (unsure about speed, but somewhere between 2.5 and 3.0 GHz I believe)
* GPU: AMD Radeon HD 42xx series (RS880)
* RAM: 4GB
* Date of Purchase: 2011

HP Pavilion Elite HPE (Desktop):
* CPU: Quadruple core AMD Phenom as well (3.3 GHz processor)
* GPU: AMD Radeon HD 5450 series (CEDAR)
* RAM: 8GB
* Date of Purchase: 2010

HP Pavilion HPE (Desktop):
* CPU: Sextuple core AMD Phenom also (3.5 GHz processor)
* GPU: NVidia GeForce GT 520
* RAM: 10GB
* Date of Purhcase: 2012

Note also that all of these computers are currently dual-booted with Windows 7 and Fedora 17.

Just a little backstory to explain, the laptop and desktop computers from before this year, if you notice, have AMD GPUs, while the most recent one our family got (2012) has an NVidia GPU. I believe this needs no further explanation; after reading some of the forum posts around here and elsewhere in the Internet, it seems that Linux users have a superiorly easier time with NVidia GPUs than AMD GPUs, and I must say that this was the case for me as well. I've started with the proprietary driver on Linux since November, and have been met with nothing but frustration while trying to configure it properly. I was always waiting for next month's release, only to find out that Gnome Shell was still broken, HDMI audio was still disfunctional, anti-aliasing was still unable to be set, or just the general lack of video acceleration. And while I've found, through testing various distributions, that Ubuntu seems to fare well, I've found that this is the only case. The rest of the distributions I've tried all seem to fail with Catalyst, which led me to believe that "Linux support" translates, at AMD, to "Ubuntu support," at least for their proprietary driver. Only recently did I learn that, with Catalyst 12.6, xorg-server-1.12 was supported, as well as kernel modesetting. As usual, there were disappointing aspects to the driver: mainly the persistence of the antialiasing configuration problem, the lack of kernel support, and now an issue with underscanning which persists upon restart even after changing settings in CCC. A further insult was the fact that my laptop is now unsupported; what's worse is that there are currently no functional drivers for xorg-server-1.12 on its hardware. Truly disappointing....


...so, nevertheless, I convinced my parents that their next computer (which they were in serious need of, by then) should at least have a GPU made by NVidia, if nothing else. I must congradulate their decision: not only are their drivers better for Windows, but installation under Fedora 17 was flawless. I ran into absolutely no problems, and continue to experience stability and performance near-equal to what I get on the same computer under Windows. I was even surprised to find initial support for xorg-server-1.12 before Fedora 17 even hit beta. And I'm unsure about how they manage it, but NVidia always happens to support the very latest kernel. I couldn't have been more pleased...


...however, I find myself interested in our other computers with AMD GPUs in them. While proprietary drivers are great, I'd still like to see the day when Linux as a platform reaches the maturity it needs to support AMD hardware to the fullest extent, and thus have been tracking the development of Mesa and Gallium3D more closely now. I've recently read that OpenGL 3.0 support was achieved, which sounds fantastic in addition to other recent accomplishments such as MLAA and GLSL 1.3 support. Unfortunately, however, there is still a long way to go, and I doubt Mesa will reach OpenGL 4.2 compliance before the next two or three major specification bumps are released (OpenGL 5.x). In the past two months, I've found myself spending some time configuring the open-source drivers on our two AMD computers, which I've also found to be improving in quality and performance.


My questions are:

How can one enable OpenGL 3.0/GLSL 1.3 support in Mesa for the R600g series? The XOrg documentation (RadeonFeature) seems to show that this can be done by exporting two environment variables in /etc/environment: R600_STREAMOUT=1 AND R600_GLSL130=1. This worked for previously, but not anymore. (Currently getting OpenGL 2.1/GLSL 1.2 support.) I speculate that these changes would be in Mesa 8.1-git, although updating to it seems to distrupt a whole array of other dependencies (LibreOffice packages and other non-systemic software) which seems to inadvertantly result in almost a complete update to Rawhide. Currently running kernel-3.4.4-3.x86_64. Much help would be appreciated.

Thanks,

-PF