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Open Source Driver for ATI Radeon R5xx/R6xx

September 18th, 2007 by

jacklab.jpg AMD has recently released register specifications for the ATI Radeon R5xx and R6xx graphic devices. Engineers from Novell have now released a first alpha quality Open Source driver which currently supports initial mode settings. Next steps are adding support for more hardware, RandR 1.2 support, video overlay support and 2D acceleration.

The developers are now seeking for help to extend support for all graphics cards and motherboards out there. You can get the alpha driver from the multi-distribution packages (Fedora, Mandriva, SUSE Linux Enterprise, and of course openSUSE) in the openSUSE Build Service at:


If you like to check out the latest source code, clone it via git with:


A mailing list has been created at radeonhd@opensuse.org (subscribe). The developers are also discussing the development on the IRC channel: #radeonhd on irc.freenode.net.

Bugs can be filed at http:/bugs.freedesktop.org under the X.Org product, component radeonhd.

Thanks to Egbert Eich, Luc Verhaegen and Matthias Hopf for their great work!

I’m looking forward to seeing the driver in the openSUSE 11.0 release next year.


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21 Responses to “Open Source Driver for ATI Radeon R5xx/R6xx”

  1. Some more information available over at Egbert Eich’s blog post

  2. Now when should the (k)ubuntu people start expecting these drivers?

  3. Andreas Jaeger

    This is an Open Source Driver – anybody can use it today. It’s just Alpha quality. I don’t know when it will be stable enough and which distribution will be the first one to use it. I hope that the (k)ubuntu people will get involved to speed the delivery up.


  4. Chris Butler

    One of the Debian X maintainers has recently announced that the driver has been uploaded to the experimental section of the Debian archive. You might also be able to use these packages on an Ubuntu system..

  5. It looks like one of Ohloh’s users already submitted this work for analysis. If you’d like to see a high-level overview of the source code for this driver, you can checkout the Ohloh report.

    Tidbits: 4 different people contributed to the work, from the surface it looks like 2 were the principal contributors.

    Thanks Novell!

  6. she

    I can only say, wooooot!

  7. I’m very happy about this. I took a calculated risk based on AMD’s previous statement that they’d open up ATI’s graphics card’s specs, and bought a Radeon X1650 Pro. This is making me happy about that choice.

    • theseus-sk

      I have MSI K9VGM-V, Athlon64 X2 4000+ EE (AM2), Sapphire Radeon X1650 Pro 256MB GDDR3 PC-e (32bit bus).
      Ubuntu 7.10 amd64.
      Driver radeonhd is not work (or I don’t know how to setup it) – I try everything.
      I want to use it, because proprietary driver have a bug:
      GPU fan is very load – constantly works.

  8. Stuart

    Very good news. I hope video acceleration will be forthcoming, as this will open the doors for low cost Hi-def Linux HTPC’s.

  9. Looks like it will be part of Mandriva 2008.0 (already in 2008.0 RC2)

    $rpm -qp –changelog x11-driver-video-radeonhd-1.1.1-0.20070920.1mdv2008.0.i586.rpm
    * ven sep 21 2007 Adam Williamson 1.1.1-0.20070920.1mdv2008.0
    + Revision: 91522
    – today’s snapshot

    * ven sep 21 2007 Adam Williamson 1.1.1-0.20070919.1mdv2008.0
    + Revision: 91231
    – latest snapshot, adds a bunch of new ids since yesterday
    – change the spec a bit to handle snapshots and future stable releases

    * mer sep 19 2007 Olivier Blin 1.1.1-0.20070918.2mdv2008.0
    + Revision: 89746
    – build for all architectures

    * mer sep 19 2007 Olivier Blin 1.1.1-0.20070918.1mdv2008.0
    + Revision: 89645
    – initial release
    – Create x11-driver-video-radeonhd

  10. As soon as this driver works I will sell all nvidia cards and replace them with ati cards.
    Their fault that they do not release the specs.
    And we have a lot of computers at work that all use nvidia right now.

    But when we can get 3d desktops out of the box the choice is easy ^^

    • Anonymous

      as far as i know nvidia offered drivers already, and they worked MUCH better than the ones ATI released on their homepage. over the last years i regretted i had an ATI card…

      • david

        That may be the case with the drivers in the past years but atis chaps have gotten a lot more right the recnent releases, especially the cp. But since the nvidian driver is not an open sauce driver, its an restricted component under a different license. To bundle drivers out of the box with a distribution it is a lot easier to make open sauced drivers and they could also easier be changed of something doesn’t work. I hope the open sauce driver will make fast progress and i guess it could be pretty fast in a lot of things ’cause writers of accelerated software could look into the driver or write a fix for the driver to run their software faster or get the compatibility thing. Thats a lot more difficult with closed sauce drivers.
        But since nvidia has the nose still a big leap forward, the ATI boffins should better hurry and get the R630 out or get some people to work for its linux drivers. Generally the r6xx series seems to be crappy compared to the G8x but in the 3D-cad professional sector things seem to be a lot more interesting. AMD cards give a lot more juice here in the former nvidia dominated area. Since professionald 3D is mostly OpenGL, i hope this translates into good linux performance sometime.
        I want to have a live-CD with 3D-drivers preinstalled and beryl out of the box to show win/mac people what they miss *eg*

  11. badger101101

    Having open-sourced drivers built from the ground-up using the official hardware specs will be an incredible step forward for UNIX. nVidia won’t stand a chance in the *NIX market unless they open their specs as well. I’m already making plans to sell my 7900 off and get an AMD. I realize the drivers are going to take time, and I believe AMD has only revealed the basics of the overall specs, but if they keep to their word, I’m sure the rest will come soon enough.

    Thanks Novell for working hard on this!

  12. bitskull

    Great, letz hope they will be ready for next openSUSE!

  13. Mike L.

    Are the drivers for the radeonHD still avaliable? I receive a 404-Object not Found error when I try to access the links above.


  14. hoelder

    I have installed, rebuild uninstalled on openSuSE 10.3 many times and observed the following:

    First hardware:
    two Opteron 1218
    16 GB DDR2 3200 RAM
    HD 2400XT
    LG 19 inch monitor.

    SaX2 shows VESA framebuffer as graphics card and ATI as monitor, which is wrong.
    xorg.conf shows correct make and model of monitor but shows device VESA Framebuffer and ATI HD 2400xt, but it misses all kinds of options that are in the multitude of installation help. I run fglrxinfo and fgl_* SD test and it shows everything it should show and SD works. When I start SaX2 it says that 3D acceleration is disabled because of the graphics adapter. When I look at GLXINFO it shows SGI as adapter at the second time where it is documented as ATI.

    I hope this is confusing enough. Any explanation or help is highly appreciated.

  15. J-B

    I have a similar problem. Both flgrxinfo and glxinfo correctly indicate my ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 but Sax 2 indicates VESA Framebuffer graphics as graphics card and some Samsung Sec 1024 (which is possibly my laptop monitor). I’ve tried all the howtos I could find in vain. [I’m a total newbie on Suse (and Linux btw)].
    Somebody has any idea of what might be wrong? Thanks by advance.


    DELL Inspiron 6400 (laptop)
    2 Go DDR

  16. V-B

    Sorry, but I feel that AMD/ATI not interested to support linux community.
    I already has purchase the HD2600XT card a half year ago and can not find the working driver for OpenSUSE with 2D/3D acceleration.
    In results I must use Vista where this card are working without any hungup and imperfections.