There are no less than 3 choices for a driver when you have an ATI graphics card, it seems. This would be a good thing if any of them actually worked.
I have an X1250 (which is integrated into a 690G-chipset motherboard). The “radeonhd” driver works but doesn’t support TV-out, XVideo acceleration or 3D acceleration and so is really little better than the vesa driver at this stage. The “radeon” (or just “ati”) driver gives me a blank screen (I filed a bug report). The proprietary Catalyst driver (or “fglrx”) works except it is a pain to install (on my homebrew system), all OpenGL programs crash (looks like the opengl library provided with the driver is causing some sort of memory corruption or double-free?), and Xvideo output from MythTV results in a double-image (one on top of the other, as if there’s some sort of de-interlacing issue). Of course XVideo didn’t work at all until I set some option “TexturedVideo” in my xorg.conf file – the only hint I got to do that was the X sever logs; the option wasn’t documented anywhere. In fact, none of the options for the fglrx driver are documented officially.
I’ll also throw in a complaint at this stage about the “/etc/ati/amdpcsdb” file, and the fact that settings it contains silently override equivalent settigns in xorg.conf, so that you end up wondering why changing the xorg.conf file doesn’t appear to have any effect.
Back to the original story. Basically, three drivers just means I’m screwed three ways. I’m trying to build a Home Theatre PC and my only option for watching TV, at this point, is now to install the MythTV frontend on another machine (with integrated Intel video) and watch it on that.
Edit 14/04/2008: I got the double-image problem sorted – it was actually MythTV itself that was causing the issue, the standard de-interlacing filter converts the image into a double-height image with the fields one above the other and this is what I was seeing. It’s meant to then double the frame rate and show the two halves one at a time but for some reason that wasn’t happening. I’m partly to blame here because I’m using a subversion pull of MythTV rather than a released version.
Also, I’m pleased to report there’s been some progress with the open-source ATI drivers. The radeonhd driver made another release (1.2.0) which apparently does nifty stuff like 2D acceleration (still no TV-out, 3D, or Xvideo). Also, by using the latest drm module (latest pre-patch kernel release, 2.6.25-rc9) and switching to the EXA acceleration method I was able to get XVideo working with the radeon driver, which is pretty good, though it still can’t do TV-out, still blanks the screen if anything is connected to the composite output when I start X, and it now also leaves me with a blank screen when I exit X or switch to another VT. Never-the-less it’s great to see some progress on these drivers.