Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Less than a year ago we shared with you the revolutionary steps AMD was taking to deliver significant improvements to their once infamous proprietary Linux display driver and at the same time the work they were doing to foster the growth of an open-source driver for their latest graphics card families. These steps have certainly paid off for both AMD and the Linux community at large. AMD's proprietary driver is now on par with NVIDIA's Linux driver and there are two open-source ATI drivers picking up new features and improvements on an almost daily basis. AMD also continues to publish new programming guides and register information on a routine basis for their latest and greatest hardware. This has been truly phenomenal to see, but AMD has now evolved their Linux support by taking it a large step further. AMD is in the process of pushing new high-end features into their Linux driver -- such as Multi-GPU CrossFire support -- and with the ATI Radeon HD 4850 they have even begun showing off Tux, the Linux mascot, on their product packaging and providing Linux drivers on their product CDs!
While AMD has been making great strides in both their open and closed source investments, their performance-oriented proprietary driver isn't yet feature equivalent to the Windows Catalyst Suite and they have had problems delivering same-day (or close to same-day) Linux support when introducing new graphics processor generations. As of late they have been able to deliver same-month support for their new products that are just minor revisions within a series, but when introducing the Radeon X1000 "R500" series it had took a staggering seven months for any level of Linux support. Most recently, when the Radeon HD 2000 "R600" series was released, it had taken AMD about six months for any level of support. Today though we are excited to share that all of this should be an issue of the past. AMD has not only provided same-day support for their just-announced Radeon HD 4800 "RV770" series, but they're now beginning to ship the Linux drivers on the retail CDs included with these newest graphics cards. In addition, AMD is very close to reaching feature parity between their Windows and Linux drivers.