Although it is available today, the driver is slated to appear in new Linux distributions beginning with version 2.6.38. That means users most likely won't see the driver accompany distributions such as Ubuntu until 2011, according to reports.
Since it is open source, users can view and edit the driver's code. The move marks AMD's latest pro-open source step: Earlier this year, the company joined the Linux Foundation's MeeGo Project, which supports a Linux-based open source mobile operating system. AMD and competitor Intel also are supporters of the Linux Foundation's License Compliance Program.
AMD's Ontario chip is the processor manufacturer's first Fusion API slated for release. Designed for use in netbooks and other similar devices, the dual-core chip features integrated Radeon HD 6250 graphics and 3D support. The chip is based on the low-power Bobcat CPU core and requires only 9 watts of power, according to reports.
Fusion chips -- or accelerated processing units (APUs) -- meld together parallel graphics processing cores and high-performance serial computing onto one die, a move designed to enhance both visual and data-heavy tasks. AMD's open source support mirrors its existing support for Radeon HD Evergreen, such as its kernel mode-setting, 2D EXA, X-Video, user-space mode-setting, and 3D/OpenGL support, according to the Phoronix website.
"The graphics portion of Ontario is very similar to the entry-level Evergreen GPU, at least for the portions used by the open drivers," AMD's John Bridgman told Phoronix. "There are a few enhancements, but we haven't looked at those yet."