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AMD Puts Out Radeon HD 6000 Open-Source Driver

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  • by CynicTheHedgehog (261139) on Friday January 07, 2011 @12:38PM (#34792286) Homepage

    For what it's worth, my AMD CPU and ASUS motherboard (quad core AMD 870 chipset) work just fine in Linux, as does my AMD/ATI video card. As did my previous AMD CPU/motherboard. I have yet to be disappointed by them.

  • by NtwoO (517588) on Friday January 07, 2011 @01:07PM (#34792848) Homepage
    In the past two years I've migrated from 10+ loyal Linux NVidia years to ATI. The ATI closed source drivers were reasonable whilst the NVidia drivers showed a slide in performance and stability (on my system in any case). Since September last year I've migrated my machines to the open source 3d drivers and what a beaut! My MythTV frontend with ATI onboard is impeccable. It'll require much to convince me to change away from ATI/AMD if they keep this kind of support available.
  • by Kjella (173770) on Friday January 07, 2011 @01:20PM (#34793070) Homepage

    It's not an oversight, blame DRM. Everything about their video decoding block (called UVD) is heavily coupled with the protected video path they have to provide for BluRays and other protected content. That means you have to have lawyers and tech people going over everything with a fine tooth comb and how much easier it would make it to reverse engineer the missing bits. It doesn't matter if AACS is broken and BluRay rips are everywhere because the contracts are still valid and the terms and penalties are as nasty as they get. AMD has said they will try to get changes to make it more open source friendly in the pipeline but new designs are started 3-4 years before release and it's probably not on their top 10 must do changes.

    That said, multi-threaded H.264 decoding has improved very much in software and I have no problems decoding 1080p video with that on my desktop CPU, it probably hurts a bit in power usage but at least you *can* do without. Hardware acceleration is more important for laptops and battery life, AMD is working on it but this is a very hard problem and they need most of the resources getting support for new architectures like the HD6000. This is not like much other software, hardware moves fast and in close sync with the closed source drivers. If the open source developers don't keep up, there won't be any support at all. P.S. DRM is also one of the reasons you can't share more of the "fundamentals" with the closed source driver. That would make it too easy to decompile the Windows/Mac driver to track and grab the protected content in transit. It really is a big hindrance to open source drivers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 07, 2011 @01:21PM (#34793090)

    Only reason you'd get a segfault is because fglrx is installed. Remove it or ati-drivers (it's called one or the other) and you should be able to configure with the regular xf86-video-ati driver, which should at the very least give you smooth 2d if drm isn't available, and 3d/kms if it is (and the kernel is later than 2.6.36 or so.)

  • by Kjella (173770) on Friday January 07, 2011 @01:49PM (#34793558) Homepage

    No, OpenGL 2.1 is the highest supported [x.org], but this is because Mesa - the open source implementation of OpenGL - doesn't support anything higher. Somebody needs to implement OpenGL 3 and 4 before there can be drivers for it.

  • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Friday January 07, 2011 @02:47PM (#34794344)

    Mesa GL 2.1 is already quite kickass, with a very capable shading language and plenty of extensions covering most of the advantages of OGL 3/4. The main improvement I'd like to see is geometry shaders, which are getting close [phoronix.com].

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