ATI Users - Beware of Ubuntu Jaunty

Friday, April 24. 2009

Just tried to upgrade to Kubuntu Jaunty from Intrepid and recognized that my 3 years old notebook is too old to be worth for ATI to be supported.

Jaunty comes with a new XServer and needs the FGLRX 9.4 drivers from ATI. However ATI stopped support for several older cards as discussed in the Ubuntu Forums. There are even some never cards affected, so in case you wish to upgrade, first make sure that FGLRX 9.4 supports your chipset.

Unfortunately the Open Source radeon driver is - in my case - way too instable to work with. I had complete X server crashes after just a couple of minutes each time I've booted.

OK... ATI has the right to support what they want. But what makes me really angry is that you have to enter your chipset in order to download the driver, and when entering Radoen Mobility X700 I get the 9.3 driver. Then you can look into the release notes that are referenced on this page. The file name is catalyst_93_linux.pdf. However at the beginning it says:

This release note provides information on the latest posting of AMD’s Proprietary Linux
driver. This particular driver updates the software version to 8.593.


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    #1 Isaac Geronimo on 04/24/09 at 08:43 PM
    *Thanks for the heads-up! :-) I have an ATI Rage Mobility, so I think it's the VESA driver for me no matter what. If that still works in Jaunty.
    #2 Mouseclone on 04/24/09 at 11:45 PM
    *You really can't blame AMD. They are moving on with hardware. If you built computers you wouldn't continue to support 3 or 4 year old computers unless someone was paying you to do so.

    XServer upgraded. AMD made a choice. I have a RadeonHD card and I'm really happy with that choice. I am now able to play Win game under WINE because of the changes made in XServer forced AMD to really update their driver this go around.
    #2.1 Carsten Schlipf on 04/25/09 at 10:02 AM
    *You know, on one side I do understand the decission of ATI. On the other hand they obsoleted even never chipsets that are just 2 years old. How many laptops that are just a little bit older than 2 years are still being used out there? I guess quite a lot.

    And if they obsolete hardware, they really should make sure that the people are aware of it, by updating the release notes and not offering false drivers, although the user is asked prior to download.
    #2.1.1 Ed Dantes on 05/05/09 at 09:30 PM
    *ATI moved into legacy mode hardware still being sold today in motherboards using AMD chipsets with integrated graphics.

    The problem here is that they apparently will not update the existing Linux drivers for comparability with the new Xorg. One might assume this policy will pose a problem for users upgrading to Windows 7 as well. However it is more critical for Linux users who upgrade OSs often even in older hardware.

    It is a huge challenge to the Linux driver market. Users became dependent of manufacturer provided drivers for graphic cards. It is clear now that these drives may become unavailable at the manufacture's whim.

    For my next system, should I go Intel or NVidia?
    #3 Raclaw on 04/29/09 at 09:33 PM
    *I have two computers with ATI 9550
    and 9600XT.I always got problems with these cards. More than a year it is a torture to setup boxes because of ATI.
    Both of them can't even
    give a correct resolution nor 3D 2D effects not working.

    I checked my systems on a less powerful Geforce 5200, everything was wonderful.

    #4 Mark Dulcey on 05/30/09 at 09:00 PM
    *Their decision makes sense only if they don't care about their ongoing relationship with customers. Basically, they have told the world that you can only expect a 3 year life cycle (at BEST - they are STILL selling motherboards with graphics chipsets that have been obsoleted!) from their hardware, while NVidia continues to offer support for much older video cards. For the typical Linux user, that means NVidia is now a much better value than ATI, because an ATI card will have to be thrown away well before its useful hardware life is over due to lack of support.
    #5 Frustrated ATI user on 07/08/09 at 12:06 AM
    *I came across this post while researching the subject, and I think that the comments speak for themselves. But I could not let it pass. I've stopped buying ATI gear, period.

    Now, it could be that nVidia does such a stupid move in the future. I'll switch my preferred brand of graphics card then to someone else.
    #6 Carsten Schlipf on 09/28/09 at 09:02 PM
    *I got a new notebook and it has an NVidia Chipset... Boy! I didn't expect it to be so much better than ATI.

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