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Testing Out ATI Kernel Mode-Setting On Ubuntu

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Linux
Software

Kernel mode-setting for Intel graphics hardware can already be found in the mainline Linux kernel and will be included by default in the release of Ubuntu 9.10 later this year. While Intel's kernel mode-setting support has been maturing in a steadfast manner, this support has not been moving along quite as fast for ATI and NVIDIA hardware. It is possible we will see ATI/AMD kernel mode-setting along with the necessary memory management support enter the Linux 2.6.31 kernel and potentially see this feature appear in Ubuntu 9.10 as an end-user option, but currently this support is still deemed under development. For those with ATI Radeon hardware looking to test out kernel mode-setting, there is now a Launchpad PPA and a LiveCD available for testing out these mode-setting capabilities atop Ubuntu.

Enabling kernel mode-setting for ATI hardware on Ubuntu currently requires specialized snapshots of the kernel DRM, a Linux 2.6.30 kernel that is built with the memory management and KMS support, a snapshot of Mesa 7.6, and a version of the xf86-video-ati DDX driver that is derived from a v12.2.99 Git snapshot. The Ubuntu xorg-edgers project has also pushed out an Ubuntu LiveCD spin that comes with these packages installed by default to assist in the testing process.

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