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AMD Graphics Open Source X Hardware Linux

AMD Publishes New 'AMDGPU' Linux Graphics Driver 88

An anonymous reader writes: AMD has made available its new AMDGPU Linux graphics driver comprised of a brand new DRM/KMS kernel driver, a new xf86-video-amdgpu X11 driver, and modifications to libdrm and Gallium3D. This new AMDGPU driver is designed for supporting AMD's next-generation hardware with no support differences for currently supported Radeon GPUs. While yet to be released, this new AMDGPU driver is the critical piece to the new unified driver strategy with Catalyst where their high performance proprietary driver will now become limited to being a user-space binary component that uses this open-source kernel driver.
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AMD Publishes New 'AMDGPU' Linux Graphics Driver

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  • No good vaapi integration into mplayer like that of vdpau. Not to mention that the AMD linux drivers are still manifestly slower than the nvidia drivers.

    • VDPAU and VAAPI (Score:5, Informative)

      by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2015 @03:46AM (#49517743) Homepage

      Still, there are opensource implementation of VDPAU using VAAPI as a back-end.
      and there are VAAPI implementation using VDPAU as a backend (useful also for opensource drivers which tend to implement VDPAU).

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Nutria ( 679911 )

      Modded Flamebait and Troll?

      Face it, AMD fanbois: the truth hurts, but it *is* the truth.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        They've written a new driver, and you're claiming without testing it that it's still "manifestly slower than the nvidia drivers".

        That counts as flamebait. The truth hurts, but it *is* the truth.

        Anyway, this is Slashdot. We'd rather have an open source driver that we can improve (if it is actually slower) than a binary blob that we can't even analyze. That's why AMD are cool and nVidia are losers, and it will be thusly until nVidia get with the program and stop acting like their hardware is so damned spec

        • by armanox ( 826486 )
          Until reality sets in that the /, crowd just wants to bitch and moan rather then try to improve or port anything. I'll take a working driver any day over a crippled open source one.
        • by Nutria ( 679911 )

          I wrote why I don't (as in "present tense") use an AMD GPU. The new and improved driver isn't out in the wild yet, and certainly not integrated into distros.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The last desktop I shopped for -- I'd liked it to be an AMD. But after this wobbly policy of AMD (do I need now binary blobs for AMD graphics or not?) I decided (I don't need gaming performance) that Intel with its integrated graphics seems the best bet at the moment.

    AMD: you can stuff your "high performance proprietary driver" up any cavity of your choosing. I'll buy things from you again when you have a clear pro-free software strategy again -- if you're around by then at all.

    Good riddance.

    (captcha was "s

    • And what about perf/price ratio?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        He gets enough performance and free is a pretty hard price point to beat.

        This will, of course, mean that the latest empty AAA title that spent a shitton of time effort and ingenuity making graphics good and forgetting about the game a non-sale.

        This is going to save them more money again. And time.

        And it will cost sales of those AAA titles.

        (as I posted elsewhere, Valve shows that if they have an open driver they can make their games run BETTER on that hardware, so the intel driver has better performance per

    • by RanceJustice ( 2028040 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2015 @03:59AM (#49517763)

      Perhaps you're an AC trolling, but in case someone is actually interested in a reply, it doesn't seem that you're giving AMD nearly enough credit.

      Now, I grant that Intel has a great policy when it comes to providing driver components, being open sourced For those who aren't going to use their GPU for anything more intensive than watching media, an Intel integrated GPU is probably sufficient. However, given that Intel's GPUs are orders of magnitude weaker than discrete modern GPUs, those who wish to use graphically intensive creative software, use GPU-preferred workflows for certain tasks (ie crypto-currency mining, video encoding, anything with OpenCL etc..), or just plain wish to play modern 3D games, Intel's hardware is likely insufficient.

      Thus, users have the choice between AMD and Nvidia, and of the two AMD is MUCH more free software / open source friendly, as well as overall more ethically aligned than its competitor. To answer your question, especially if you're not gaming, you do not need a binary blob to have a working AMD GPU on Linux. The open source "ati" driver has been honed over the last few years to the point that for many it provides not only great 2D performance and support for video acceleration, but a bit of 3D as well. Yes, they offer the binary "Catalyst" driver as an option (which supports pretty much all the high end 3D acceleration that someone purchases a discrete GPU to use) so if you're going to be gaming and doing intense 3D work it is a better choice, but - aforementioned open source driver is always available.

      AMD has actually gone out of their way to embrace open source and the Linux community. . Much of the bias against AMD is left over from ATI's disastrous drivers (even proprietary) back in the day. They knew they had a lot of ground to make up in Linux performance (not necessarily openess...) when they acquired ATI, and its pretty impressive how they've managed to catch up to Nvidia. Subsequently, they put lots of emphasis on contributing to the FOSS driver projects. They aren't keeping Catalyst proprietary so far simply because they're evil, but because of patents and other tech licensed to third parties that go back years. In their overall business plan, they clearly favor openness compared to Nvidia. Where NV creates proprietary implementations and engines like their G-Sync monitors and the frustrating presence of PhysX in gaming, AMD champions open standards and projects such as FreeSync, OpenCL, and Vulkan.

      In fact, the release of AMDGPU and in fact their entire unified driver plan leads to more openness. As the article notes, this will mean that the vast majority of AMD's GPU driver components will be completely free software.! Where Catalyst used to be a completely different animal in every way, now it will only be just an additional binary component that can be added. This is one reason why it is being written with the next generation of hardware in mind (though it may be partially compatible with some current cards); they need to have some entirely new hardware etc....that doesn't require certain patented/licensed tech. This is a great advance for openness as well as driver quality. While it would be great if they were able to instantly fully open the entire Catalyst driver stack, one would be remiss to not see the current path as progress.

        While I can only speak from personal experience (and I've owned both Nvidia and AMD GPUs. At current, I'm using an AMD 290x), running an AMD GPU under Linux is viable. Sure, there are issues that can arise same as dealing with any other non-kernel-included Linux driver. If you want to stay entirely Free Software, there is a FLOSS driver that will likely work well unless you plan to use a lot of 3D or OpenCL etc. If you want 3D acceleration and you're willing to go binary, Catalyst is an option. In the future, the openness, compatibility, performance, and ease of use will likely increase with AMD's unified driver plan we're reading about here. AMD is far from perfect, but they do seem to be interested in making FLOSS a part of their future, along with a whole slew of open technologies.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        > Perhaps you're an AC

        Yes, I'm an AC. I'm not giving Slashdot a cookie.

        > trolling

        is in the eye of the beholder. I just bought a desktop system. My dealer made me an Intel offer and an AMD offer (which was 100 EUR below and I guess quite a bit more performant).

        > Now, I grant that Intel has a great policy when it comes to providing driver components, being open sourced

        That made my decision. Exactly that.

        > However, given that Intel's GPUs are orders of magnitude weaker than discrete modern GPUs

        Yeah

      • AMD has actually gone out of their way to embrace open source and the Linux community.

        Not really. They've trickled out just enough information to support new cards, while never really providing enough information to use old cards. My R690M still doesn't work properly under Linux.

        Much of the bias against AMD is left over from ATI's disastrous drivers (even proprietary) back in the day.

        No, most of the bias against AMD is due to their disastrous drivers today. I've still never had ATI graphics work properly with ATI's driver. If there's not a hacked driver (e.g. DnA) available, then the driver causes me nightmares and headaches. CCC is still festering shit. It's as big as a driver should be by itsel

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by dabadab ( 126782 )

        Unfortunately it all boils down to this: if you want decent 3D performance under Linux, choose NVidia, because it actually works.
        If you do not need it, choose Intel, because they have decent open source drivers.

        • "Actually works"? More accurately "works better than the only alternative". That's a very low bar, and they don't clear it by much. Using the nVidia driver on Linux is a giant pain in the butt unless your chosen distribution happens to ship with their binary drivers and you're OK using outdated drivers. It's also probably the largest software source of system instability for consumer Linux.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by hairyfeet ( 841228 )

          Allow me to LMAO heartily. Once again proving that hypocrisy is something they fail to grasp the meaning of, for all their talk of "FOSS this" and "four freedoms" that when the rubber meets the road? The Linux community will happily fuck the company that open sources their code for the one that has given Linus himself so much shit thanks to their "proprietary or die" stance he flipped them the bird [gizmodo.com.au].

          Thank you once again from the bottom of my black little heart Linux community for proving that your bullshit i

          • I want OSS drivers, but what I pay for is hardware that works. I try AMD every few cards, and they still fail every time I try them, and so I gave up.

            nVidia got into bed with Microsoft back in the original Xbox days and now the geforce line is inextricably encumbered by Microsoft. Allegedly their mobile (Tegra) line is freer.

            I bet any company that was thinking of FOSSing their drivers took one look at AMDs sales (that went exact fuck nowhere) and said "lets not waste our time"...

            If they based the whole decision on AMD then they deserve to make bad decisions. There's lots of OSS drivers in the kernel already, let alone supplied separately. AMD is just shit at dr

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I understand the need to opensource support but AMD simply offers a substandard product.

        If you want to work or game or do things productive, you and other customers will be better served by buying an Nvidia product. From hardware to software, you will get a better product and a better value for your dollar.

        The driver issue is sticky anyway. We'd all LOVE completely open drivers with no unknown binary blobs, but that does not reflect the reality of what GPUs are today.

        At one time, long ago, a graphics card w

    • Simplifying drivers (Score:5, Informative)

      by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2015 @04:08AM (#49517781) Homepage

      (do I need now binary blobs for AMD graphics or not?)

      The whole point of AMDGPU is to simplify the situation.
      Now the only difference between catalyst and radeon drivers is the 3d acceleration - either run a proprietary binary opengl, or run mesa Gallium3D.
      All the rest of the stack downward from this point is opensource: same kernel module, same library, etc.

      Switching between prorietary and opensource driver will be just choosing which opengl implementation to run.

      I decided (I don't need gaming performance) that Intel with its integrated graphics seems the best bet at the moment.

      If you don't need performance, radeon works pretty well too.
      Radeon have an opensource driver. It works best for a little bit older cards. Usually the latest gen cards lag a bit (driver is released after a delay, performance isn't as good as binary) (though AMD is working to reduce the delay).

      Like Intel, the opensource driver is also supported by AMD (they have opensource developpers on their payroll for that), although compared to Intel, AMD's opensource driver team is a bit understaffed.
      AMD's official policy is also to only support the latest few cards generation in their proprietary drivers. For older cards, the opensource *are* the official drivers.
      (Usually by the time support is dropped out of catalyst, the opensource driver has caught up enough with performance to be a really good alternative).

      The direction toward which AMD is moving with AMDGPU is even more reinforcing this approach:
      - the stack is completely opensource at the bottom
      - for older cards, stick with Gallium3D/mesa
      - for newer cards, you can swap out the top opengl part with catalyst, and keep the rest of the stack the same.
      - for cards in between it's up to you to make your choice between opensource or high performance.

      If you look overall, the general tendency is toward more opensource at AMD.
      - stack has moved toward having more opensource components, even if you choose catalyst.
      - behind the scene AMD is doing efforts to make future cards more opensource friendly and be able to release faster the necessary code and documentation.

      AMD: you can stuff your "high performance proprietary driver" up any cavity of your choosing. I'll buy things from you again when you have a clear pro-free software strategy again -- if you're around by then at all.

      I don't know what you don't find clear, in their strategy.

      They've always officially support opensource: they release documentation, code, and have a few developpers on their pay roll.
      Open-source has always been the official solution for older cards.
      Catalyst has always been the solution for latest cards which don't have opensource drivers yet, or if you want to max out performance or latest opengl 4.x

      And if anything, they're moving more toward opensource: merging the to to rely more on opensource base component, to avoid duplication of development efforts,
      and finding ways to be faster with opensource on newer generations.

      For me that's good enough, that why I usually go with radeon when I have the choice (desktop PC that I build myself) , and I'm happy with the results.

      • What gives is, if you want to buy new hardware then wait for Ubuntu 16.04 or Debian 9..

        Even with older graphics (such as the Radeon HD 6000 in pretty current APUs) you get barely adequate support now.
        If you find yourself with a little bug when using the proprietary driver, and another little bug when using the open source one, that's a pain. Also, on that computer there's a CRT monitor and with linux/Xorg (as usual) a lot of resolutions and refreshes are missing, so I need a script to add them (instead of e

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

        (Usually by the time support is dropped out of catalyst, the opensource driver has caught up enough with performance to be a really good alternative).

        Nonsense. First, AMD's driver performance lags behind nvidia in general. Second, AMD's linux driver peformance lags well behind their windows driver. Third, AMD frequently drops hardware from the proprietary driver before it is well-supported, and some hardware is never supported properly at all, like the R690M chipset's GPU. Just get graphic trash if I try to use it. But the windows driver is also shit and causes problems with power management.

        ATI is just incompetent, and no amount of handwaving can change

        • by armanox ( 826486 )
          Actually, that is something I have to agree with. I've generally found that ATI/AMD GPUs are on a hardware level as good (sometimes better) then nVidia, but God help them if they could write drivers under any OS to get the most out of them (I've also gotten the best performance out of an ATI card right before it was dropped from support...)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 21, 2015 @04:09AM (#49517783)

      Wtf you're trolling??

      Open driver ALREADY works like a fucking charm. Much better than Intel driver.

      For some things it lacks behind Catalyst, for most part its completely usable. I even use it for gaming.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    After a decade+ of watching management at ATI/AMD screw the Linux users, with shite drivers (See numerous posts across www & various in particular @ http://www.phoronix.com/, with Astroturfing to boot!), I will refrain from holding my breath.

    Pity, cause the hardware tends to show promise, again, and again, and again....

    After those dumbasses @ AMD actually put some $$$$ into it, then I will look twice. Until then, the hardware will continue to underperform, video playback will be rubbish and the forums w

  • by Anonymous Coward

    . . . well - perhaps 3D is better on some other card. But who even cares about 3D, if the 2D performance isn't good enough?

    And this is where all fancy graphichs cards fall on their face. They can't match the 2D performance of the "simpler" Intel stuff. In theory they can, but not with existing open-source drivers. 2D is what you use for office work, for scrolling large windows. Or try playing openttd - a great 2D game. Nice and snappy with 4 cores and Intel graphics, sluggish with 8 cores & a new rade

  • I know I'm ranting, but graphics cards are without doubt the most annoying piece of gear I own. I have used ATI cards so far but they always have problems, be it overheating at normal clock speed (my current R9 280), driver problems, crashes, flickering in OpenGL. So I'm thinking about switching to NVIDIA for my next machine, only to hear from reliable pro-audio people that these cards often cause problems with the audio drivers of professional external sound cards like horrible crackling noises.

    Do I really

    • only to hear from reliable pro-audio people that these cards often cause problems with the audio drivers of professional external sound cards like horrible crackling noises.

      Citation? I can't find reports of problems like that with external sound cards. I have an nVidia 750Ti (formerly had a 450GT) and an m-Audio Mobile Pre USB and there are absolutely no problems.

      • by aaaaaaargh! ( 1150173 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2015 @07:43AM (#49518445)

        For example here [gearslutz.com], here [gearslutz.com] and here [gearslutz.com].

        But I remember many more mentions of problems with NVIDIA drivers at Gearslutz. Obviously, that doesn't mean that there are always problems, I just took such comments as a sign to be cautious about switching to NVIDIA. I'll probably still do it, because I'm fed up with ATI. It's good to hear that you don't have any problems.

        • I've had problems with nVidia drivers on occasion, but not those kinds of problems.

          The most important thing to do is research a specific card (or at least chipset) before buying it, especially if it's come out recently. When I got my 240GT (two cards back) it was not well-supported. I had to load a beta driver to get it to work properly, and the driver substantially misreported its characteristics. It's safest to buy a card which has been out for a while, which is also a good way to save money so it's somet

        • by Tailhook ( 98486 )

          I looked through those threads. The first solved his problem by disabling some nvidia power management feature that caused glitches with his $300 "professional" external audio interface. The second is someone struggling with his $999 quad DSP board and the third is yet another high end external audio system.

          That sort of high end audiophile grade stuff is never glitch free. You and the other 8 people on Earth attempting to operate your external quad DSP board are expected to cope with such things. The

    • My anecdotal experience:

      I've experienced audio issues relating to graphics cards with poor EMI shielding on the soundcard causing it to pick up noise from some gfx card circuit or component. This usually manifests itself as a high-pitched whine audible in headphones or speakers that varies with gfx card load/framerate - this is not the same as coil whine that is audible inside the actual PC case.

      If your soundcard is properly designed and manufactured, this shouldn't be an issue.

      Also, PCI-E timing issues lik

  • by Anonymous Coward

    An open driver allows a game producer to produce a game that works better on your graphics card.

  • by Miamicanes ( 730264 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2015 @12:11PM (#49521013)

    Serious question... I have a desktop w/HD5450 and three monitors on a desktop PC running RHEL 6.5. How do you build & install this driver without completely breaking RHEL's package management for everything else in the process, breaking the kernel configuration, or anything else that might render the computer nonworking?

    I *tried* installing ATI's binary Catalyst driver a few months ago. Unfortunately, I think it made some naive assumptions about the underlying filesystem that aren't quite right when you have a spinning HD and a SSD, and both use LUKS for whole-drive encryption. I desperately want to upgrade the video driver, because the performance totally sucks (even for things like dragging a browser window to another monitor), but I don't want to end up burning another day undoing a failed upgrade adventure.

    TL/DR: Want to build & install ATI's new driver. Running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5. Not allowed to upgrade to 7, and a prior attempt to directly install ATI's Catalyst binary driver rendered the system unbootable [most likely, because of issues with LUKS whole-disc partition encryption]. Yes, I'm root.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm no native, but "comprised of" is ugly English to me.

  • So does this mean we'll be able to get kernel mode setting with the proprietary Catalyst driver? Because that would be real sweet..:)

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