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AMD Graphics Open Source Linux

AMD Publishes Open-Source Radeon HD 8000 Series Driver 117

An anonymous reader writes "The hardware hasn't been released yet, but AMD has made available early open-source Linux GPU driver patches for supporting the future Radeon HD 8000 series graphics cards. At this time the Radeon HD 8800 'Oland' series is supported with the Mesa, DRM, X.Org, and kernel modifications. From the driver perspective, not many modifications are needed to build upon the Radeon HD 7000 series support."
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AMD Publishes Open-Source Radeon HD 8000 Series Driver

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  • Well done AMD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SplashMyBandit ( 1543257 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @03:53PM (#42800683)

    This is excellent from AMD to release source in a very timely manner. It shows commercial companies can support Free Software losing the ability to compete (which AMD will have factored in).

    They are supporting us so I suggest we support them - vote with your wallets gentlemen! We win because we get drivers that will be supported for a long time, we also win because AMD GPUs generally have the best price-per-perfomance value (even if not always at the insanely expensive peak of absolute performance), and AMD will also win because it gets sales from customers that recognize the mutal win.

    Hopefully NVidia will also see this move and get the hint. That would be a further win.

    • Re:Well done AMD (Score:5, Insightful)

      by chill ( 34294 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @04:00PM (#42800767) Journal

      Not gonna happen until the FOSS driver built from sources like these shows itself to be competitive in performance with nVidia's closed Linux drivers on comparable hardware.

      • Not gonna happen until the FOSS driver built from sources like these shows itself to be competitive in performance with nVidia's closed Linux drivers on comparable hardware.

        Please explain how NVIDIA open sourcing it's closed Linux driver would cause it to run worse? Considering that when the driver is compiled by NVIDIA for a generic architecture versus the same sources compiled by the end users, but able to take advantage of architecture specific optimizations would actually make the open source driver faster.

        At the end of the day we need all the sources for all our hardware drivers so that when the next version of an operating system comes out we can re-compile the drive

      • by Anonymous Coward

        NVidia is the worst company regarding linux support. "fuck you NVidia!" is what torvalds said. There is no support for my NVidia graphic card in the 3.8 Kernel. I can just repeat "FUCK YOU NVidia!" you are the worst!

      • Not gonna happen until the Linux gaming community support Radeon by buying cards from them, demonstrating that there is a profitable market in writing better open source drivers for their products.

        Free market economics. Vote with your wallet.
    • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @04:18PM (#42800977) Homepage

      Built two htpc's in the last month one for work and one for home using A10-5800K and A8-5600K. My WD TV Live is pissing me off (Slow as molasses) so gonna build a simple htpc for my bedroom using an A4-5300K and another file server for the house with the same chip.

    • This might not be as big of a thing as TFS is making it out to be. AMD has yet to give any details on their truly next-gen GPUs. AnandTech reports [] that all of the currently announced HD 8000 parts are simple rebadges for OEMs.
      • No, OEM Radeon 8xxx are rebadges, retail Radeon 8xxx are new cards. It's pure madness, since it removes meaning from the model number, but that's apparently how it is, at least until now. See []

        TFA talks about Oland, which is the retail 8570/8670.

        • Don't know if they still do it as its been awhile since an OEM Nvidia card landed in my shop but I do know back in the day Nvidia did the same shit with the OEM TNT 2 and MX4000, both of which were packaged to look like the "real" TNT 2 and MX400 but of course ran much worse than those cards. I had a LOT of folks back in the day come to me wanting to know why "That new computer i bought from you won't play the latest games even though I have an MX card!" and it would turn out sure enough that they were dupe

    • vote with your wallets gentlemen!

      I will - by purchasing an Nvidia video card next time I upgrade. Performance on Linux is buggy and slow with AMD/ATI, whether you're using the open source drivers or fglrx.

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        Dunno what you did to your setup, but sitting over here with Ubuntu on a shit HD4200, I don't have any performance issues. Of course, I'm not trying to game or get all the shiny shit, either.

        • Ditto. I've got a HD 5670 and a HD 3300 tied together to power 3 monitors.
          No gaming, mild 3d but fglrx handles powering that many pixels with ease and no performance issues at all. No inter-chip issues either.

    • My wife won't let me by another video card after I bought three HD 7850s the past 60 days. I'll have to wait until the 4th quarter of 2013 but I will definitely be going with AMD HD 8000 and using Steam on Linux.
    • I've been saying this for quite awhile, if the FOSS community would put their money where their mouth is more companies would be willing to support FOSS. And this isn't just some minor offering, not only has AMD been opening the GPUs as fast as they can but they are moving to Coreboot [] so for the first time you'll be able to have a fully open system from the BIOS on up.

      And when you consider that you can get a 6 core AMD kit for just $260 [] frankly its not a hard choice. Even though I primarily use Windows I th

      • by richlv ( 778496 )

        foss community does put their money in hardware that works with foss. what's the point in buying hardware that does not work properly ? company would just say "they are buying it anyway, no need to improve".

        as for amd/ati, just look at all the problems with brighness control on their chips. it is great that they are improving, but they are still quite a pain.

        • If the comments here are any indication, no the FOSS community doesn't put their money where there mouths is until after it's a moot point. Right now your choices are AMD and Intel, but nVidia is getting a lot of support here as well. nVidia has no open option of any sort and I see a lot of people kicking AMD to the curb for nVidia rather than Intel.

          Also, even before I opened the page, I knew there was going to be a ton of comments by ungrateful FOSS advocates because it isn't quite what they wanted. I was

          • by richlv ( 778496 )

            hmm. ati has talked opensource for quite some time. at first the public was excited, but cautious - i guess by now many have been burnt and are suspicious of the results.

            what did you expect ? everybody being cheerful, even if it's still not working ?

            • The 'Libre'/FSF crowd should be all excited, since their point is whether it is 'free' or not, not whether it works. From that POV, AMD fits their bill completely. For the Open Source guys, the goal is different, since there, open is about having the best system work. But here too - if AMD has published all the things needed, from specs to the source code, what's there from stopping anyone from taking AMD's supposedly crappy code, and fixing it and then putting it out, and letting everyone - including
              • by richlv ( 778496 )

                i do find it a bit silly (assuming you are serious) to label people with a couple of labels and then tell them what to think.
                apparently actual users are more... real and different ?

          • Its sad but then the FOSS community will simply get the support they deserve, which is none. AMD spent quite a lot of money opening their drivers, not only did they have to have legal go over every page with a fine tooth comb (Because Intel owns HDCP and would end up blacklisting AMD cards if they ended up giving away a way to crack HDCP) but they even went so far as to hire several devs to work on the open drivers.

            Now when AMD does all that and shows ZERO ROI what kind of message is that gonna send to othe

  • by ameline ( 771895 ) <> on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @03:59PM (#42800759) Homepage Journal

    How is the stability and performance compared to their drivers on Windows for the same hardware?

    Functional parity (GL version and extensions) would also be nice.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @04:13PM (#42800905)
      ""The hardware hasn't been released yet,"
      • by ameline ( 771895 )

        Pedant. :-)

        How about comparing on the most recently available hardware...

        My point is that, while open source drivers are a good thing, they are of limited usefulness unless they are competitive with closed source ones for performance, stability and completeness of functionality.

    • by marcello_dl ( 667940 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @04:25PM (#42801061) Homepage Journal

      For the same hardware which has not been released, I dunno :)
      You should head to phoronix [] which has comparisons between open and closed drivers.
      In my experience, with an obsolete hd2400 that I run with debian wheezy and the experimental fglrx-legacy driver, gamers should opt for the closed source one, while desktop effects, simpler games etc are handled perfectly by the open source drivers. Both closed and open drivers seem not to have problems with kernel updates thanks to dkms, and are stable. Of course free software is easier to deploy-distribute-use in business.

    • Remember that Valve got various Steam games working significantly faster on Linux than Windows.

  • by cod3r_ ( 2031620 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @04:01PM (#42800771)
    Maybe they are getting ready for an influx of gamers switching to linux?! That'd be cool
    • Lines up great with Origin porting over.
    • by jakobX ( 132504 )

      What influx of gamers switching to linux?

      Even if all the games i own would magically work on linux i would still prefer windows. Even something like ubuntu is far from user friendly.

  • Qualifications? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @04:05PM (#42800819)

    Every time I've bothered to dive into one of these AMD open source driver stories I find qualifications. It's 2D driver code only, or mode setting code only, no MPEG-2/4 AVC acceleration, etc. What are the qualifications this time? Is this the real McCoy, full stack accelerated OpenGL driver with video acceleration and everything?

    Didn't think so.

    Want good video drivers on Linux? Intel or NVidia. Want good open source video drivers? Intel.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In terms of today's Oland work, there was a simple commit to Mesa to "add support for Oland chips" inside the RadeonSI driver. This ended up being a fairly trivial commit for introducing the Oland GPU chip support, but again the RadeonSI driver is far from being feature-complete.

      Another commit added in the new Oland PCI IDs: 0x6600, 0x6601, 0x6602, 0x6603, 0x6606, 0x6607, 0x6610, 0x6611, 0x6613, 0x6620, 0x6621, 0x6623, and 0x6631.

      There was also a fairly trivial commit to the xf86-video-ati DDX for introduci

      • The 8000 series is a small step from the 7000 series (which was a completely new generation), so the RadeonSI already supports most of them.

        • Yes a little explanation is probably in order for those that haven't kept up with GPU arches, which frankly has been pretty interesting as of late. For every card up to and including the HD6xxx the graphics cores were based on VLIW, this gives great performance in games but is very difficult to use efficiently for GP-GPU work like video decoding/transcoding which of course means more power used in those applications.

          Starting with the 7xxx series AMD went to a new design called Graphics Core Next [] or GCN. GCN

    • I'm running radeonsi on a 7850 (since fglrx kept crashing.) It has 3D, is reasonably stable, there is video acceleration but it only seems to use the shaders, not the video hardware. There are a few bugs that sometimes cause artifacts and performance is so-so with some hiccups, but it's usable for real work.

      • Sadly its doubtful you will ever see the video decode hardware used in the Radeon free without reverse engineering and its no fault of AMD as they simply don't have the rights to hand that out. You see the video decode hardware is tightly tied in with HDCP [] which is owned by a subsidiary of Intel.

        At the end of the day its just not their to give, since AMD doesn't have access to the smaller processes that Intel does AMD has had to save die space in other ways and one of those ways was tying their video decode

        • Agree. I'd looove to find the time to reverse engineer some fglrx code.
          I'd hope, though, that with SI they avoided some of the IP shackles of the past. We'll see.

          • I just think its asinine that ALL of us must pay for what probably not even 5% of the PC buyers even use. Do YOU have a BD in your PC? Out of all my customers I have exactly ONE, just one, that has a BD in his PC...he uses it for backups.

            So I think its just insane that AMD can't hand out something as basic and required as basic video decode for fear of getting in trouble with the media cartels and that they have to bake this DRM in if you are gonna use it or not. Make the media cartels support a simple DR

    • Every time I've bothered to dive into one of these AMD open source driver stories I find qualifications. It's 2D driver code only, or mode setting code only, no MPEG-2/4 AVC acceleration, etc. What are the qualifications this time? Is this the real McCoy, full stack accelerated OpenGL driver with video acceleration and everything?

      The qualifications are 2D acceleration, OpenGL 3.1, profile-based power management, no video decoding.

      For still unreleased hardware, mind you.

      Want good video drivers on Linux? Intel or NVidia. Want good open source video drivers? Intel.

      Both Intel and AMD support OpenGL 3.1. Neither supports OpenCL. Intel is more optimised, but AMD cards still run circles around them. Intel has fully automatic power management, AMD is profile-based. Intel supports VA-API (big plus).

      I don't see a huge difference, really.

    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )

      no MPEG-2/4 AVC acceleration

      Of course not, that would be illegal.

  • Blender and cycles (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    With all of the previous versions of the AMD drivers there were some problems with the implementation of the Cycles engine in Blender. The problem was a limited HLSL implementation that made it impossible to compile the necessary thing on the graphics-card. Because of this Cycles has disabled hardware-rendering for AMD graphics cards. Has this been addressed or will it only be possible to use nVidia cards with GPU rendering with the Cycles engine for Blender?

  • Dell is selling itself to a private consortium consisting of Michael Dell and Microsoft. If you were Lenovo or HP or Asus, wouldn't that make you seriously think of supporting devices running open-source system software such as Linux? Wouldn't you start to consider Windows-based machines a deprecated product line?

    • by Jeng ( 926980 )

      Dell and Microsoft have always had a very very close relationship, much closer than Microsoft had with HP or any other company besides Intel, and Intel has always had a very very close relationship with Dell and Microsoft.

      Those other companies are looking at non-Microsoft operating systems, but primarily due to the success that Apple has had as well as the specter of 8.

    • Actually as we've seen here in articles for the past few weeks it looks like they are gonna go Google and NOT Linux, which sadly I can't say as I blame 'em. when Dell had to run their own repo [] and keep their own fork of Ubuntu just to keep the drivers working when we are talking only a handful of devices? That is pretty sad.

      I'll get hate from the zealots for pointing this out but truth is truth, the current Linux driver model is deep fried ass. Quick, what do BSD, Solaris, OSX, iOS, Windows, and even OS/2 h

  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @04:49PM (#42801367) Homepage

    If I wanted to buy an AMD graphics card, or an integrated "APU" with graphics onboard, which one should I pick for the best Linux experience?

    If I want to be able to play Steam games without rebooting, is there any AMD card that would give me a decent experience? Someday I would like to run 100% free software drivers, but in the near term I'd be willing to run fglrx if that is the way to go.

    TFA is about bleeding-edge drivers that aren't ready yet. If I buy ancient hardware it will be fully supported, but the hardware will be too slow. Somewhere in the middle there must be a sweet spot.

    • At one point in time, even until recently the 4650(?) card had the most value/performance/usefulness under linux with the open source drivers. I am not sure if this is still the case. Something to see... [] Any way I have no proof, take it with salt. I have a 4670 and it runs ok for what I have done so far on Linux. It was cheap 3 years ago, should still be cheap. I have never installed the proprietary Linux/ATI driver, nor wanted to.

    • by thue ( 121682 )

      This page is your friend: []

      Don't buy a 7xxx (Southern Islands) or (I assume) a 8xxx (Sea Islands) card, since they don't have open source 3D drivers for Linux; a 6xxx graphics card is the best bet (Northern Islands). For integrated graphics, I suppose the 2012 A series trinity [] should work, since it is based on the well-supported Northern Islands GPU.

    • It depends on what games you're talking about.

      I've been running Steam in Arch and playing games natively with the OSS video-ati driver just fine. Granted, they're usually 2D or light 3D games; we're not talking Crysis 3 here.

    • I've got a fileserver/TVPC I built with the A8-3870K Llano chip. It's now only like $90 (with $50 mid-range motherboard or $100 top-notch motherboard) and it seems to work very well with the latest fglrx releases. Meanwhile, I have a dual-graphics AMD A10-4600M (Trinity) laptop with discrete RadeonHD 7730M and it runs like crap in comparison. The drivers just aren't there for dual-graphics, but even the on-board chip can't hold its own compared to my Llano. I've got TF2 going at 50-60fps on the Llano wi

  • I had a misfortune to buy a machine with a Radeon HD 7000 series. The open-source driver is a joke, it fails to play a simple video! (one frame per second is what it does if you try)

    Upon installing AMD Catalyst Proprietary Display Driver the video is normal (but the screen is dim. Turns out they have the same problem with Windows 7 driver)

    So hold your optimism, if you want a real driver you will need to get a proprietary one.

    • The open source driver plays 1080p without hiccups on my 7850. Conversely, fglrx 13.1 kept crashing (KDE on Debian with 4 monitors, 3 of them in portrait.)

  • by sturle ( 1165695 )

    AMD, if you want to rock and win: Get OpenCL support in the free (as in speech) driver. Now. With OpenCL the card can be put to good use. Without it is just another badly supported VGA card.

"In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved." -- Butler