Sunday, February 24, 2008

It figures

In an earlier post I documented my experiences upgrading to the latest ATI/AMD drivers on my Ubuntu 7.10 installation. I noted that AIGLX was not working. Now I think I know why.

I check up on the Unofficial ATI Linux Driver Wiki about once per week, in particular the section that has to do with installing the video drivers on Ubuntu, in the forlorn hope that some new information will be added that helps me use the full capabilities of the X1950 Pro card on this system. This morning I found this new little gem of a note under Method 2, right beneath the section title:
Note: The newest 8.455.2 does not enable DRI using gutsy. It needs a more recent X.org for this, but 2D does work. "(II) fglrx(0): driver needs X.org 7.1.x.y with x.y >= 0.0"
DRI is needed for AIGLX, which is needed for Compiz without XGL. And right now I don't have Compiz. Lovely. I guess I must have missed that note earlier. It's probably been there all along.

I'm sure this problem has been going in since January with the first driver release of the year. What is annoying to me is that Ubuntu 7.10 doesn't have X.org 7.1, it has 7.3. Since the note quotes an xorg log message, I grepped for the same message in my log to see if it was there. Sure enough:
wbeebe@europa:~$ grep fglrx /var/log/Xorg.0.log | grep "driver needs"
(II) fglrx(0): driver needs X.org 7.1.x.y with x.y >= 0.0
wbeebe@europa:~$
Of course, you can't easily tell (or I can't easily tell) what version of Xorg I'm using. Here's what Xorg (xserver) tells when queried about its version:
wbeebe@europa:~$ Xorg -version

X Window System Version 1.3.0
Release Date: 19 April 2007
X Protocol Version 11, Revision 0, Release 1.3
Build Operating System: Linux Ubuntu (xorg-server 2:1.3.0.0.dfsg-12ubuntu8.3)
Current Operating System: Linux europa 2.6.22-14-generic #1 SMP Tue Feb 12 07:42:25 UTC 2008 i686
Build Date: 18 January 2008
Before reporting problems, check http://wiki.x.org
to make sure that you have the latest version.
Module Loader present
wbeebe@europa:~$
Again, how lovely. Notice how the version returned from X/Xorg differs radically from the 'official' Xorg version numbers on all the distributions. I'm sure the Windows apologists are about ready to whine 'Why don't you go back to WINDOWSSS?" Because, dear children, the ATI drivers on Windows XP SP2 are as screwed as the ones for Linux. I'm still running with 2007's 8.37.6 release under WinXP because anything later royally screws up DirectX 9c. I haven't tried the 2008 driver series because installing and uninstalling drivers and then testing is every bit as convoluted and painful on Windows as it is on Linux.

In other words advanced video hardware support on Windows and Linux suck equally bad.

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