Jul 20, 2023

X.Org ati display driver

This package contains the X.Org xf86-video-ati driver. It is an old version intended to be used with the drm-legacy-kmod.

As one ventures into the world of FreeBSD, understanding the various ports and what they do is a key part in drawing out the full potential of this operating system. One such port is xf86-video-ati-legacy which falls under the x11-drivers category. This port is used by systems that run an AMD/ATI Radeon graphics card, which is a legacy card in the FreeBSD context. By ‘legacy’, it means Radeon models that were introduced pre-GCN Graphics Core Next architecture.

The main role of xf86-video-ati-legacy is to provide the X.Org driver for ATI/AMD Radeon, facilitating superior graphics performance. The driver supports 2D rendering and provides 3D acceleration for most Radeon cards.


Before delving into the benefits and functionalities of xf86-video-ati-legacy, let’s start with how to install this port on your FreeBSD system.

You need to have superuser privileges to add or modify ports. You can switch to the root account with the su command and the corresponding password.

To install xf86-video-ati-legacy, run the following commands

cd /usr/ports/x11-drivers/xf86-video-ati-legacy/
make install clean

These commands navigate you to the correct directory for the xf86-video-ati-legacy port and proceed to install it. The clean option cleans up any residual work directories.

Updating xf86-video-ati-legacy

Just as important as installing this port is ensuring it’s kept up-to-date. You can achieve this using the portsnap tool which fetches, extracts, and updates your FreeBSD ports collection.

Here’s how to use portsnap

portsnap fetch update
cd /usr/ports/x11-drivers/xf86-video-ati-legacy/
make deinstall reinstall

In the above process, portsnap fetch update updates the port tree. The make deinstall reinstall commands safely deinstall the old version of the port and replace it with a freshly updated version.


Now that your xf86-video-ati-legacy is installed and updated, you’ll need to enable it in your xorg configuration file.

cd /usr/local/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/
vi 20-radeon.conf 

Add the following lines to 20-radeon.conf

Section "Device"
    Identifier "Radeon"
    Driver "radeon"

Then save and close the file.


xf86-video-ati-legacy improves graphics rendering and provides support for 2D and 3D acceleration in FreeBSD. Efficient graphical rendering is essential for tasks like server management, running GUIs, or even gaming on FreeBSD.

Moreover, using legacy hardware can lead to cost savings. The xf86-video-ati-legacy enables users to achieve high-level performance with older Radeon models, prolonging their usability.

Also, this port allows for power-management functionality, enabling the GPU to idle at low frequencies when high-performance graphics are not required. This results in less heat production and a quieter system.


FreeBSD’s vast collection of ports like xf86-video-ati-legacy, offers users the flexibility to customize their systems and maximize their hardware’s potential. Additionally, consider exploring other enhancements for your FreeBSD. For instance, bolster your system’s security with ports like nmap, whose details can be found [here]https//freebsdsoftware.org/security/nmap.html.

Remember, understanding and utilizing FreeBSD’s extensive port collection is a continuous process as new ports are added and existing ones updated regularly. Happy FreeBSD adventure!

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