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ATI R200 + XFree86 4.x mini-HOWTO

H�vard Stranden

<havarden@cloudchaser.net>

2003-09-21
Revision History                                                             
Revision 1.3.1            2003-09-21           Revised by: HS                
Alternative 2 updated, minor errors corrected.                               
Revision 1.3              2003-07-27           Revised by: HS                
Aternative 2 no longer deprecated. Several updates to this alternative.      
Revision 1.2.1            2003-07-15           Revised by: HS                
Date fixes.                                                                  
Revision 1.2              2003-07-14           Revised by: HS                
General update + alternative 5. Alternative 2 deprecated.                    
Revision 1.1              2002-09-30           Revised by: tab               
Reviewed by LDP                                                              
Revision 1.0              2002-09-12           Revised by: HS                
Initial release                                                              


This HOWTO is for anyone who owns an ATI Radeon 8xxx graphics card and wants
it to function in a certain way or, in general, properly with XFree86, the X
Window System. It describes the procedure of making XFree 4.x run on an ATI
R200 (Radeon 8xxx series). There are several ways of doing this, with various
results (further described below). If you know of any other ways (maybe
better as well) of achieving the goal of this document, please let me know.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Table of Contents
1. Copyright & License
2. System Requirements
3. The alternatives
    3.1. Experiences with XFree86's driver
    3.2. Experiences with ATI's own driver
    3.3. Experiences with DRI's driver
    3.4. Experiences with the GATOS project's driver
    3.5. Thoughts on Schneider Digital's driver
    3.6. Still Haven't Chosen One?
   
   
4. Step-by-step instructions
    4.1. Alternative 1: Using XFree86's Radeon driver
    4.2. Alternative 2: Using ATI's own R200 Driver
    4.3. Alternative 3: Using DRI's Latest Radeon Driver
    4.4. Alternative 4: Using the GATOS Project's Latest Driver
    4.5. Alternative 5: Using Schneider Digital's drivers
   
   
5. Links
A. GNU Free Documentation License
    A.1. PREAMBLE
    A.2. APPLICABILITY AND DEFINITIONS
    A.3. VERBATIM COPYING
    A.4. COPYING IN QUANTITY
    A.5. MODIFICATIONS
    A.6. COMBINING DOCUMENTS
    A.7. COLLECTIONS OF DOCUMENTS
    A.8. AGGREGATION WITH INDEPENDENT WORKS
    A.9. TRANSLATION
    A.10. TERMINATION
    A.11. FUTURE REVISIONS OF THIS LICENSE
    A.12. How to use this License for your documents
   
   

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chapter 1. Copyright & License

Copyright (c) 2002,2003 H�vard Stranden

  Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under
the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later
version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant
Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of
the license is included in Appendix A, entitled "GNU Free Documentation
License".
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter 2. System Requirements

For this HOWTO to apply to you, you'll need the following hardware/software
up and running:

Hardware

��*�ATI R200 (Radeon 8xxx) based AGP card
   

Software

��*�Linux kernel 2.4.x (check with uname -r)
   
��*�Glibc 2.2 (check with /lib/libc.so.X where X is a decimal number)
   
��*�XFree86 4.2.x for alternative 1 (check with X -version)
   
��*�XFree86 4.1.x for alternatives 2, 3 and 5 (check with X -version)
   
��*�XFree86 4.x for alternative 4 (check with X -version)
   

Important If you run XFree86 4.1.x/4.0.x on your computer, you can NOT use   
          alternative 1, as shown above. Of course you can try it, but it    
          won't work (or at least it didn't for me). Also, if you read [http:
          //www.xfree86.org/] The XFree86 Project's [http://www.xfree86.org/ 
          4.1.0/RELNOTES.html] release notes for XFree 4.1.x, you'll see that
          the R200 chipset is not listed as a supported chipset for the      
          radeon_drv.o driver, which means that the Radeon 8xxx is NOT       
          supported. However, if you read the [http://www.xfree86.org/4.2.0/ 
          RELNOTES.html] release notes for XFree 4.2.x, you'll see that the  
          chipset IS supported by the same driver.                           

Once you have met the system requirements, it's time to decide which of the
available alternatives to choose.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter 3. The alternatives

As you could see in Chapter 2, the alternatives you can choose may be limited
by the XFree86 version you are running. It is very important that you check
the dependencies first. If you don't meet the requirements, this HOWTO will
not apply to you, and you may and probably will suffer a system crash if
proceeding.

The various alternatives of this HOWTO will give variable results. I haven't
tested every possible use of the card, but I have had a few experiences, and
the drivers also provide some information.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

3.1. Experiences with XFree86's driver

This alternative is by far the simplest and safest way to set up your Radeon
if you use XFree86. The bad news is that this driver only supports 2D
(meaning DRI won't work).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

3.2. Experiences with ATI's own driver

This alternative uses ATIs own drivers for the Linux operating system. The
drivers are developed by 3rd party Linux developers for ATI. The driver
supports some 3D acceleration, and works almost "out of the box".
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

3.3. Experiences with DRI's driver

This alternative seemed like a good idea after running tired on the DRI
problems with both previous driver alternatives. DRI is the 3D part of
XFree86, and is an independent project, releasing it's own drivers. XFree86
has DRI implemented, but the drivers aren't the same. In fact, DRI has
developed their own driver specifically for the R200 chipset, meaning it is a
driver that supports 3D and works fine with X. Still, the driver supports
hardly any of the later GL extensions, meaning more recent games like UT2003
won't run with it.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

3.4. Experiences with the GATOS project's driver

This alternative is a 3rd party alternative, meaning it can result in a much
more unstable (and possibly damaged) system. I found this alternative to work
rather well. The 3D support was equivalent with that of DRI (at least when I
tried it), meaning this and the DRI alternative are almost equivalent.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

3.5. Thoughts on Schneider Digital's driver

This alternative is another 3rd party alternative, but this one's rather
good. [http://www.schneider-digital.de/] Schneider Digital provides drivers
for various cards, among them [http://www.schneider-digital.de/html/
download_ati.html] ATI R200/R300. The drivers are made for XFree 4.1+, and
seem rather well developed. Note though that I haven't yet tried these
drivers myself, but I still thinkt they look like a very decent alternative.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

3.6. Still Haven't Chosen One?

I'd recommend you to use the DRI driver. I've had great experiences with this
driver, although its GL support is somewhat narrow. If a more worthy 3D
system is what you want, I'd recommend you to make the upgrades necesseary
and go for Schneider Digitals driver or XFree86's own driver, but please give
me some feedback if you do.

Now that you've been given the information you need to choose a driver,
choose one and move on!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter 4. Step-by-step instructions

4.1. Alternative 1: Using XFree86's Radeon driver

This alternative requires XFree 4.2 or later, and the installation or upgrade
to this version is beyond the scope of this HOWTO (visit [http://
www.xfree86.org/] The XFree86 Project for further information on how to
upgrade or install XFree86). When XFree is installed and/or upgraded to the
correct version, all you need to do is configure it. There are two ways of
doing this that apply to all Linux distributions. You can either run 
xf86onfig, which is XFree86's own text-based configuration tool, or you can
edit the configuration file by hand. Keep in mind that this HOWTO only
describes how to configure the Radeon card, and XFree86 needs a lot more
configuration than that to work.

If you choose to run xf86config, you will sooner or later come to the
question, "Do you want to look at the card database? (y/n)". Answer y (yes),
and press ENTER. Choose one of the cards that use the ati driver by keying in
the number to its left and then pressing ENTER. Which card you choose does
not matter, as long as you choose a card that runs the ati driver. You will
then be asked to give an identifier string for your card. You can type
anything you want, but I recommend you type something descriptive, such as 
"Radeon card". Finish the configuration process.

If you want to edit the configuration file manually, locate it (usually /etc/
X11/XF86Config), and open it in your favorite editor. Find the place that
says Section "Device". In this section, there should be a line saying Driver
"somedrivername". Edit this line so it says Driver "ati". Comment out all
other lines in the Device section (add a # in front of them). Your device
section should now look like this:
Section "Driver"                                                                  
Identifier "some_identifier" (the identifier is your choice, but if you edit it,  
make sure you update  every reference to it in the config file).                  
Driver "ati"                                                                      
                                                                                  
# ...                                                                             
# ...                                                                             

You are now ready to run!

Configure the rest of XFree86, and you're ready to run!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

4.2. Alternative 2: Using ATI's own R200 Driver

ATI's R200 driver comes in three distributions - one for XFree4.1, one for
XFree4.2 and one for XFree4.3. You can download ATIs driver from [http://
mirror.ati.com/support/drivers/linux/radeon-linux.html] here. Sadly, for
those of us who do not use a RedHat-based or other RPM-supporting
distribution, the package is only available in RPM format. For those of us
who do not have RPM support, alien is the program to use. Alien converts
between various package formats. To convert the ATI driver package to a .deb
package, use alien --to-deb packagename.rpm. To convert it to a .tgz package,
use alien --to-tgz packagename.rpm.

You are now ready to install the driver. To install it, use:

��*�rpm -i --force /path/to/packagename.rpm, if you are installing the rpm
    package
   
��*�dpkg -i --force-overwrite /path/to/packagename.deb, if you made a .deb
    package
   
��*�cd / && tar zxvf /path/to/packagename.tgz, if you made a .tgz package.
   

You are now ready to configure the driver. To install it, issue the following
commands as root:
cd /lib/modules/fglr200/build_mod/                                           
./make.sh                                                                    
cd /lib/modules/fglr200/                                                     
./make_install.sh                                                            

The driver is now ready for use.

Important The driver will not load unless you tell your Linux system to load 
          it every time at startup. To do this, you must find out where to   
          tell your Linux which modules to load at startup. In Debian, you   
          must add the followng line to /etc/modules:                        
          fglr200                                                            
                                                                             
          Add the line to the end of the file. You are now ready to configure
          XFree86.                                                           

XFree86 can be configured in two ways: either by running fglrxconfig
(supplied by the ATI driver), or by editing the XF86Config file manually.

If you choose to run fglrxconfig, the process is similar to a regular 
xf86config run, except for the choice of which screen card driver to use
(which will automatically be set to the ATI Radeon driver).

If you want to edit the configuration file manually, locate it (usually /etc/
X11/XF86Config), and open it in your favorite editor. Find the place saying
Section "Device". In this section, there should be a line saying Driver
"somedrivername". Edit this line so it says Driver "fglr200" and add the
following lines right below that line:
Option "no_accel" "no"                                                       
Option "no_dri" "no"                                                         
Option "overlay" "off"                                                       

Comment out all other lines in the Device section (add a # in front of them).
Your device section should now look like this:
Section "Driver"                                                                  
Identifier "some_identifier" (the identifier is your choice, but if you edit it,  
make sure you update every reference to it in the config file).                   
Driver "fglr200"                                                                  
Option "no_accel" "no"                                                            
Option "no_dri" "no"                                                              
Option "overlay" "no"                                                             
                                                                                  
# ...                                                                             
# ...                                                                             
                                                                                  

You are now ready to run!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

4.3. Alternative 3: Using DRI's Latest Radeon Driver

The first thing you must do is to download the driver. You can download it
from [http://dri.sourceforge.net/download.phtml] here (make sure you download
the r200-XXXXXXXX-i386.tar.bz2 package). After you have downloaded the
driver, go to the directory you saved it in and type tar jxvf
packagename.tar.bz2. Go to the new directory, (cd dripkg/), and type ./
install.sh. This will install the driver for you. You are now ready to
configure XFree86, either by running xf86config or by editing the config file
manually. The configuration process is exactly the same as in Section 4.1, so
just follow the configuration steps there.

You are now ready to run XFree86!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

4.4. Alternative 4: Using the GATOS Project's Latest Driver

The GATOS project is an independent developer team. They develop drivers and
utilities for ATI cards. To install their driver with DRI-support, you need
to download it from [http://gatos.sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?
group_id=12629] here. Download the ati.2 file for your appropriate XFree86
version. You also need a set of files to enable dri support. These files are
called the drm-kernel module. They can only be downloaded from CVS. To
download them, issue the following commands:
cvs -d:pserver:anonymous@cvs.gatos.sourceforge.net:/cvsroot/gatos login             
cvs -z3 -d:pserver:anonymous@cvs.gatos.sourceforge.net:/cvsroot/gatos co drm-kernel 

You are now ready to install the driver. Type the following commands to
install it:
cd drm-kernel/                                                               
make -f Makefile.linux                                                       
cp radeon.o /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/video/gatosdrm.o          
modprobe gatosdrm                                                            

You now need to make Linux load the module gatosdrm each time at startup. To
do this, find out where your Linux distribution keeps the list of modules to
load at startup and add the line gatosdrm to the end of that file (in Debian,
the file is /etc/modules).

You are now ready to install the GATOS driver for the Radeon card. To do so,
type the following commands:
cd /usr                                                                      
tar zxvf /path/to/name-of-ati.2-package.tar.gz                               

The driver is now installed.

You are now ready to configure XFree86. This can be done by running 
xf86config, or by editing the XFree86 configuration file manually. The
configuration process is the same as for XFree86's own driver in Section 4.1,
so go back to that point and follow the XFree86 configuration process
described there.

You are now ready to run XFree86!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

4.5. Alternative 5: Using Schneider Digital's drivers

Schneider Digital's driver is the one driver I haven't tried myself, but it
seems like a serious attempt on making a decent ATI Radeon driver for Linux.
Well, enough chatting, let's get down to business.

 First, download the driver file for either [http://www.schneider-digital.de/
download/ati/glx1_linux_X4.1.zip] XFree86 4.1.x, [http://
www.schneider-digital.de/download/ati/glx1_linux_X4.2.zip] XFree86 4.2.x or
[http://www.schneider-digital.de/download/ati/glx1_linux_X4.3.zip] XFree86
4.3.x..

The installation instructions for this driver are exactly the same as for 
Section 4.2, so follow those.

Congratulations, you are now up and running! Please let me know about your
experiences with this driver, as I didn't try it myself.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter 5. Links

��*�[http://mirror.ati.com/support/drivers/linux/radeon-linux.html] http://
    mirror.ati.com/support/drivers/linux/radeon-linux.html - ATIs R200 driver
    for XFree86 4.1.x/4.2.x
   
��*�[http://gatos.sf.net/] http://gatos.sf.net/ - The GATOS Projects homepage
    - ATI drivers and utilities
   
��*�[http://gatos.sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=12629] http:
    //gatos.sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=12629 - The
    download section of the GATOS project's website.
   
��*�[http://dri.sf.net/] http://dri.sf.net/ - The DRI Project, the Direct
    Rendering Infrastructure for XFree86. 3D Support, drivers and
    documentation.
   
��*�[http://dri.sourceforge.net/download.phtml] http://dri.sourceforge.net/
    download.phtml - The download section of the DRI's website.
   
��*�[http://www.cloudchaser.net/projects/ati-howto/] http://
    www.cloudchaser.net/projects/ati-howto/ - The homepage of the HOWTO
   
��*�[http://www.schneider-digital.de/] http://www.schneider-digital.de/
    Schneider Digital's website
   

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Appendix A. GNU Free Documentation License

Version 1.1, March 2000

   
    Copyright (C) 2000 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 59 Temple Place, Suite
    330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA Everyone is permitted to copy and
    distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is
    not allowed.
   
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
A.1. PREAMBLE

The purpose of this License is to make a manual, textbook, or other written
document "free" in the sense of freedom: to assure everyone the effective
freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifying it, either
commercially or noncommercially. Secondarily, this License preserves for the
author and publisher a way to get credit for their work, while not being
considered responsible for modifications made by others.

This License is a kind of "copyleft", which means that derivative works of
the document must themselves be free in the same sense. It complements the
GNU General Public License, which is a copyleft license designed for free
software.

We have designed this License in order to use it for manuals for free
software, because free software needs free documentation: a free program
should come with manuals providing the same freedoms that the software does.
But this License is not limited to software manuals; it can be used for any
textual work, regardless of subject matter or whether it is published as a
printed book. We recommend this License principally for works whose purpose
is instruction or reference.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

A.2. APPLICABILITY AND DEFINITIONS

This License applies to any manual or other work that contains a notice
placed by the copyright holder saying it can be distributed under the terms
of this License. The "Document", below, refers to any such manual or work.
Any member of the public is a licensee, and is addressed as "you".

A "Modified Version" of the Document means any work containing the Document
or a portion of it, either copied verbatim, or with modifications and/or
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A "Secondary Section" is a named appendix or a front-matter section of the
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The "Invariant Sections" are certain Secondary Sections whose titles are
designated, as being those of Invariant Sections, in the notice that says
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The "Cover Texts" are certain short passages of text that are listed, as
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A "Transparent" copy of the Document means a machine-readable copy,
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Examples of suitable formats for Transparent copies include plain ASCII
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The "Title Page" means, for a printed book, the title page itself, plus such
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-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

A.3. VERBATIM COPYING

You may copy and distribute the Document in any medium, either commercially
or noncommercially, provided that this License, the copyright notices, and
the license notice saying this License applies to the Document are reproduced
in all copies, and that you add no other conditions whatsoever to those of
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may accept compensation in exchange for copies. If you distribute a large
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You may also lend copies, under the same conditions stated above, and you may
publicly display copies.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

A.4. COPYING IN QUANTITY

If you publish printed copies of the Document numbering more than 100, and
the Document's license notice requires Cover Texts, you must enclose the
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Front-Cover Texts on the front cover, and Back-Cover Texts on the back cover.
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If the required texts for either cover are too voluminous to fit legibly, you
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If you publish or distribute Opaque copies of the Document numbering more
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It is requested, but not required, that you contact the authors of the
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-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

A.5. MODIFICATIONS

You may copy and distribute a Modified Version of the Document under the
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 E. Add an appropriate copyright notice for your modifications adjacent to
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 G. Preserve in that license notice the full lists of Invariant Sections and
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If the Modified Version includes new front-matter sections or appendices that
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You may add a section entitled "Endorsements", provided it contains nothing
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The author(s) and publisher(s) of the Document do not by this License give
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-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

A.6. COMBINING DOCUMENTS

You may combine the Document with other documents released under this
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The combined work need only contain one copy of this License, and multiple
identical Invariant Sections may be replaced with a single copy. If there are
multiple Invariant Sections with the same name but different contents, make
the title of each such section unique by adding at the end of it, in
parentheses, the name of the original author or publisher of that section if
known, or else a unique number. Make the same adjustment to the section
titles in the list of Invariant Sections in the license notice of the
combined work.

In the combination, you must combine any sections entitled "History" in the
various original documents, forming one section entitled "History"; likewise
combine any sections entitled "Acknowledgements", and any sections entitled
"Dedications". You must delete all sections entitled "Endorsements."
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A.7. COLLECTIONS OF DOCUMENTS

You may make a collection consisting of the Document and other documents
released under this License, and replace the individual copies of this
License in the various documents with a single copy that is included in the
collection, provided that you follow the rules of this License for verbatim
copying of each of the documents in all other respects.

You may extract a single document from such a collection, and distribute it
individually under this License, provided you insert a copy of this License
into the extracted document, and follow this License in all other respects
regarding verbatim copying of that document.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

A.8. AGGREGATION WITH INDEPENDENT WORKS

A compilation of the Document or its derivatives with other separate and
independent documents or works, in or on a volume of a storage or
distribution medium, does not as a whole count as a Modified Version of the
Document, provided no compilation copyright is claimed for the compilation.
Such a compilation is called an "aggregate", and this License does not apply
to the other self-contained works thus compiled with the Document, on account
of their being thus compiled, if they are not themselves derivative works of
the Document.

If the Cover Text requirement of section 3 is applicable to these copies of
the Document, then if the Document is less than one quarter of the entire
aggregate, the Document's Cover Texts may be placed on covers that surround
only the Document within the aggregate. Otherwise they must appear on covers
around the whole aggregate.
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A.9. TRANSLATION

Translation is considered a kind of modification, so you may distribute
translations of the Document under the terms of section 4. Replacing
Invariant Sections with translations requires special permission from their
copyright holders, but you may include translations of some or all Invariant
Sections in addition to the original versions of these Invariant Sections.
You may include a translation of this License provided that you also include
the original English version of this License. In case of a disagreement
between the translation and the original English version of this License, the
original English version will prevail.
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A.10. TERMINATION

You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Document except as
expressly provided for under this License. Any other attempt to copy, modify,
sublicense or distribute the Document is void, and will automatically
terminate your rights under this License. However, parties who have received
copies, or rights, from you under this License will not have their licenses
terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance.
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A.11. FUTURE REVISIONS OF THIS LICENSE

The Free Software Foundation may publish new, revised versions of the GNU
Free Documentation License from time to time. Such new versions will be
similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address
new problems or concerns. See [http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/] http://
www.gnu.org/copyleft/.

Each version of the License is given a distinguishing version number. If the
Document specifies that a particular numbered version of this License "or any
later version" applies to it, you have the option of following the terms and
conditions either of that specified version or of any later version that has
been published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation. If the
Document does not specify a version number of this License, you may choose
any version ever published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

A.12. How to use this License for your documents

To use this License in a document you have written, include a copy of the
License in the document and put the following copyright and license notices
just after the title page:

   
      Copyright (c) YEAR YOUR NAME. Permission is granted to copy, distribute
    and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation
    License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software
    Foundation; with the Invariant Sections being LIST THEIR TITLES, with the
    Front-Cover Texts being LIST, and with the Back-Cover Texts being LIST. A
    copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free
    Documentation License".
   
If you have no Invariant Sections, write "with no Invariant Sections" instead
of saying which ones are invariant. If you have no Front-Cover Texts, write
"no Front-Cover Texts" instead of "Front-Cover Texts being LIST"; likewise
for Back-Cover Texts.

If your document contains nontrivial examples of program code, we recommend
releasing these examples in parallel under your choice of free software
license, such as the GNU General Public License, to permit their use in free
software.





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