New video card — ATI HD4350 — Sigh for proprietary drivers

So I got a new video card, since the old one was quite fuzzy (compiz went haywire repeatedly, or froze, or emacs decided to ovrewrite the window instead of clearing it before scrolling, the Tyan logo at boot up had the wrong colours, …). Since finding r500 cards on the market is near-impossible, I got an HD4350; I got one that would support 1920×1440 resolution, which seems to be available on some pretty high-end 24” monitors, which hopefully one day I’ll get (the 20” feels small lately).

Now, since this also has an r700-series CPU, I had to fiddle quite a bit to get it to work, and the results are, sincerely, not extremely nice.

First stop: trying the experimental radeon driver with all the extra support enabled. Using GIT versions of the driver, mesa, libdrm and the kernel itself (long story anyway), I get to the point it actually starts up after creating the modeline manually (because otherwise the monitor gets out of range… on a DVI connection). It seems to work, KMS enabled and all the stuff.. it worked fine, for a few hours, then it kernel panicked (and the panic wasn’t sent to the serial console, just the vga console!).

Second stop: non-KMS drivers, still with all the GIT software… it works, sort-of. When compiz is enabled (and I use compiz to be more productive: desktop wall and obscured non-focus windows are definitely useful), menus and textboxes corrupts… to the point of being unusable.

At the end, I had to install ati-drivers, and I’m now running the proprietary version of the drivers; on the upside, it works quite decently for now. I’ll stick this way until radeon can deal with this decently, which means when KMS won’t freeze my system. Maybe 2.6.23?