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AMD Graphics Open Source Linux

AMD Overhauls Open-Source Linux Driver 126

Posted by Soulskill
from the added-support-for-individual-tree-leaf-motion-and-rump-physics dept.
An anonymous reader writes "AMD's open-source developer has posted an incredible set of 165 patches against the Linux kernel that provide support for a few major features to their Linux graphics driver. Namely, the open-source Radeon Linux driver now supports dynamic power management on hardware going back to the Radeon HD 2000 (R600) generation. The inability to re-clock the GPU frequencies and voltages dynamically based upon load has been a major limiting factor for open-source AMD users where laptops have been warm and there is diminished battery power. The patches also provide basic support for the AMD Radeon HD 8000 'Sea Islands' graphics processors on their open-source Linux driver."
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AMD Overhauls Open-Source Linux Driver

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  • Yay AMD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Noishe (829350) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @02:21PM (#44115471)

    This is a great step in the right direction. Hopefully it's not the last step.

  • Good guys AMD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reliable Windmill (2932227) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @02:23PM (#44115495)

    I'm excited about getting the upcoming Kaveri. APUs are the way to go unless you have needs that call for huge CPU or GPU power, and I think AMD is definitely leading the innovation here. It's a nice bonus if I will be able to run Linux with good graphics acceleration as well.

  • Re:Yay AMD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @02:23PM (#44115505) Journal

    This is a great step in the right direction. Hopefully it's not the last step.

    AMD's penurious financials do make me nervous; but their strategic change in favor of *gasp* actually working to integrate support for their product into the kernel development process proper seems to be sincere and ongoing. Slower moving than one would like; but since they began their course-change, they've kept it up.

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @02:34PM (#44115627)

    I can't help but wonder if this is related to AMD's recent console design wins, especially PS4. Up until now, there hasn't really been a strong business case for putting a lot of effort into Unix-based video drivers. But since PS4 runs on FreeBSD and uses OpenGL as its API layer, a lot of the effort that AMD put into the drivers there can probably be ported over to the Linux drivers without much trouble. The PS4 and Xbone GPUs both use AMD's standard Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @02:35PM (#44115631) Journal

    Blobs are definitely not ideal; but I've never really understood the distinction between people who put them in ROM and people who require them to be loaded at initialization time(as long as they aren't assholes about redistribution: if Distro X is legally unable to distribute firmware.bin and I have to go to your site, download the Windows driver, and then chop it open to get firmware.bin, just to get an unaltered copy of your firmware to run with your device, I'm going to be pissed).

    Both approaches involve exactly the same binary firmware blob, one just stores it on comparatively expensive, board-space-consuming, flash ROM and one stores it on system mass storage.

    Firmware that is open is better than either; but closed firmware that is handled behind the curtain on the card seems no better than closed firmware that is supplied to the card during startup(again, assuming proper redistribution terms and proper driver support for that aspect of initializing the device).

  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @02:36PM (#44115639) Journal

    I don't understand why simply putting the closed source firmware on the card suddenly makes it ok for free software. Same code, just different home.

  • Re:Poor design (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @03:01PM (#44115839)

    Drivers can also be compiled separately as modules that can be loaded into the kernel (that is, a driver doesn't need to be included in the kernel, it's just a matter of convenience).
    Example: The nvidia kernel module can't be distributed with the kernel, so it's not included in the kernel's code at all. When installing the driver, there's a shim that's compiled against your specific kernel that provides an interface between the binary-blob driver that NVidia provides and the kernel.

  • Re:Yay AMD (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @03:23PM (#44116045)

    How could you be nervous about AMD? They're in every single next generation console system.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @03:31PM (#44116113) Homepage

    Nvidia is only worse in some sort of GPL zealot fantasy land. Out in the real world, it's not so bad actually. They provide the support. They just don't provide it in the precise manner that a noisy minority wants.

    AMD can start by displacing 6 year old ION kit.

  • by unixisc (2429386) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @06:59PM (#44117993)

    Per http://stallman.org/to-4chan.html [stallman.org]:

    "Regarding graphics accelerators for PCs, ATI mostly cooperates with the free software movement, while nVidia is totally hostile. ATI has released free drivers.

    However, the ATI drivers use nonfree microcode blobs, whereas most of nVidia's products (excepting the most recent ones) work ok with Nouveau, which is entirely free and has no blobs.

    Thus, paradoxically, if you want to be free you need to get a not-very-recent nVidia accelerator.

    I wish ATI would free this microcode, or put it in ROM, so that we could endorse its products and stop preferring the products of a company that is no friend of ours."

    This sort of thing gets discussed quite a bit on 4chan's technolo/g/y board. Also, installing Gentoo.

    I won't comment on his liberated firmware blob comment, or the stupidity of his suggestion of putting it in ROM (and calling it a circuit), but why does RMS insist on calling the company ATI, when it's been acquired, merged & digested by AMD?

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @07:06PM (#44118039) Homepage Journal

    Then again, AMD's Linux drivers actually work, while nVidia's do not.

    Then again, you have that exactly backwards.

  • Does intel make an HD7850 counterpart? Your comment lacks a lot of perspective.

    Full prick mode: Also I wouldn't say that they claim there's a open source driver for it. It is not like they market it that way with a big sticker on the box. There are a lot of missing features yet for the whole south islands series [x.org] and there are a lot of bugs [freedesktop.org]. This is /. you should know these things.

    Nice mode again: It is one thing that your card is a year old, but you should have bought something older or done some more research. I went full ghetto (in early 2010) and bought a 4670 and have had no problems with the setup. And it was cheap, the kind of cheap where you don't care that you are using a potentially slower open source driver.

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