Almost two decades later, ATI Radeon R300 Linux driver sees occasional improvements
While at the start of the year AMD shifted its focus from Radeon Software driver to only supporting Polaris / GCN 1.4 and newer, when it comes to supporting open source drivers on Linux, there is still has occasional activity dating back to the ATI Radeon R300 days of nearly two decades since.
ATI R300 GPUs were first introduced in 2002 and eventually covered the legendary Radeon 9000 series up to the X300 / X500 / X600 series. (Additionally, the R300 Gallium3D driver also supports the ATI Radeon X1000 series.) While AMD’s open source Linux developers have not focused on this R300g driver for a long time or even the R600g driver for that matter in the rest. of the pre-GCN GPU, the community is able to make occasional improvements to this legacy hardware support due to the nature of open source.
The R300g pilot aged much better than the box models of the time.
Merged this Friday night, implemented some missing cases for different textures with TGSI, the intermediate representation used by R300g and other older Gallium3D drivers. This in turn fixes some Piglit OpenGL regression tests now in 2021.
This is also not the first R300 Gallium3D commit of 2021 but now the 14th of the year. Granted, most of the commits relating to this nearly twenty-year-old GPU driver support relate to simple typos and other mostly trivial fixes. Here is an overview of the activity of the R300 Gallium3D driver lately. The R600g driver continues to see occasional improvements also to support Radeon HD 2000 to HD 6000 series as well as open source on Linux.
Either way, it’s fun to see that vintage ATI / AMD Radeon open-source graphics support continue to improve for those interested in those aging graphics cards. R300g was not the official ATI / AMD Linux driver for hardware, but it was this amateur, reverse engineering work that led many of these open source developers to join AMD and continue working for the company on their more modern drivers.