Open Source Drivers
NOTE: The features listed are based off of the development repository at the time of this writing (1/17/11). This does not mean that every Linux distribution will have the same capabilities. More than likely, major distributions will have an older, better-tested version of the graphics stack as a default and offer bleeding-edge versions of the driver in a repository. For a concise chart of features supported by the open source radeon drivers, see: http://www.x.org/wiki/RadeonFeature Here are the highlights:
* Kernel Mode-Setting (KMS) * 2D Acceleration (EXA) * DRI2 * OpenGL 2.x and GLSL 1.2 * Textured Video Acceleration (Xv) * Power Management * HDMI Audio * XRandR 1.3 * AIGLX (desktop effects)
The developers also have a frequently updated list of 3D applications which they use to mark their progress: http://www.x.org/wiki/RadeonProgram
Switchable Graphic Chips Status
Some laptops (and other systems) are now being sold with both an integrated, low power GPU, and a discrete, high performance GPU AMD Switchable Graphics Technology Open source drivers support switching from integrated to discrete graphics cards using vga_switcheroo. However, the performance of the chips with the switchable open source drivers may not be optimized. For example, with the open source driver on the HP DV7-4045ea you can switch between the 4200 and 5650; the 4200 works okay, but although the 5650 does work, it does not perform well.
Video Decode Acceleration Status
While the video quality of the open source drivers is now in an excellent state as of kernel 2.6.38, we are still anticipating development of video acceleration code (using shader hardware).
I wanted to spend a mnutie to thank you for this.