For the longest time, getting updated drivers for computer hardware on Linux has been one of the major issues holding back its adoption rate on the desktop. While servers and enterprises have embraced the open source operating system early in its development, the barriers on the desktop arena are higher, due in part to the dominance of Microsoft's Windows. Newer and more user friendly distributions like Ubuntu have helped to increase the user base but even the tech savvy among us will be stumped if there are no drivers released in a timely fashion to support their hardware.
Therefore, it was a massive boost to the Linux community when AMD announced last week that it has plans to develop open source drivers for its Radeon graphics cards. True to its words, the GPU specifications for the RV630 has been released for download and possibly, open source drivers are set to follow soon. In the mean time, there's also a new proprietary driver available available for the Radeon HD series for Linux users. Hopefully, such a move will force NVIDIA to do the same for its own graphics chipsets so that Linux users can fully utilize their hardware and in a more timely fashion.
So perhaps it's fitting that today, we're looking at the RV630 core, in the form of a Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR4 card from MSI. It's a 'Diamond' edition card, which those familiar with MSI's products should know that it is not the standard issue version, but a premium one that usually has additional features. With higher clock speeds and a two-slot cooler, this Radeon HD card is already off to a decent start. Before we get to it, here are its specifications below: