Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

AMD's Radeon 7000 GPU Gets Improved Open Source Drivers With 2D acceleration

By - Source: freedesktop.org | B 30 comments

AMD is improving its open source driver support for its Radeon HD 7000 "Southern Islands" GPUs.

According to a post on Phoronix, AMD is bringing full 2D acceleration support to the platform. Since the HD 7000 series has been available for more than a year, it is not exactly a timely arrival of the feature for the Linux community, but it's better late than never.

Phoronix described AMD's open source drivers for HD 7000 GPUs "a mess" and a "damn slow process". The GPUs did not get any open source driver support until March of this year and when they did, it was a bare kernel support driver that lacked most features of the Windows driver.

Since 2D acceleration in the open source driver is integrated via the GLAMOR library, the driver requires 3D/OpenGL. However, key features including power management and video acceleration are still no-shows in the open source driver. Phoronix noted that, for those reasons, running the proprietary Catalyst driver is still the better choice for Linux users.

 

Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback

Display 30 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 21 Hide
    11796pcs , December 28, 2012 7:24 PM
    globPathetic.

    It is pathetic, but if you ran a business would you waste valuable resources developing a driver for 0.5% (a guess, but probably a decent one) of your consumers? Probably not. What AMD should do is work closely with the people who want these drivers, give them the information they need and let them do the work.
  • 13 Hide
    blppt , December 28, 2012 8:11 PM
    I think one of the major issues (if they operate anything like Nvidia in this area) is fear that proprietary driver technology would be reverse engineered or stolen by competitors if they released it all via open source. Thats been a part of Nvidia's reasoning in the past. As for the reason why linux users hate using closed-source drivers as part of a kernel, its a philosophy that by using such software that they are tainting the kernel. Whereas, simply using closed source/commercial software doesnt generally affect the kernel. I personally don't care at all, and always prefer the much faster closed source binaries, but thats the way they feel.
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , December 28, 2012 9:35 PM
    "What AMD should do is work closely with the people who want these drivers, give them the information they need and let them do the work."

    This is exactly what AMD does already. You can't simply open source AMD's proprietary drivers because of DRM certification (HDCP et all), licensed third party intellectual property and other various reasons.

    AMD devotes a small team of about 5 people to work on their open source drivers. They must work on technical information that goes through a extremely lengthy internal review process so they can't be sued. The 7000's series support has been longer than previous releases because of the new GCN architecture. Now that the GCN framework is in place the 8000's series support should effectively be day one. Given that AMD's financial position is very weak you cannot AMD to have anything but a skeleton crew to service an extremely small (but important) section of the market. If AMD's fortunes improve and Linux market share grows you should expect things to change in this area.
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    salgado18 , December 28, 2012 7:21 PM
    I'm sorry if it's an offensive comment to anyone, since I only use Windows and OSX, but why wouldn't Linux users use the proprietary but fully supported Catalyst driver? Why stick to open source, if open source is not giving good enough results, and the alternative is free?
  • 21 Hide
    11796pcs , December 28, 2012 7:24 PM
    globPathetic.

    It is pathetic, but if you ran a business would you waste valuable resources developing a driver for 0.5% (a guess, but probably a decent one) of your consumers? Probably not. What AMD should do is work closely with the people who want these drivers, give them the information they need and let them do the work.
  • -6 Hide
    husker , December 28, 2012 8:03 PM
    11796pcsIt is pathetic, but if you ran a business would you waste valuable resources developing a driver for 0.5% (a guess, but probably a decent one) of your consumers? Probably not. What AMD should do is work closely with the people who want these drivers, give them the information they need and let them do the work.

    Because once they agree to work with open source developers AMD is on the hook. Best case scenario is the linux driver is great and everyone is happy. But AMD has to look at the worst case scenario: The linux developer writes a crappy driver, and it is actually worse than AMD's official driver, then that hurts AMD. Also if said crappy open source driver causes the card to burn up, then the customer is calling AMD and asking for a refund. Also if said crappy driver causes the card to burn up, starts a small fire which grows to burn down the house, AMD is on the hook to to pay for a lot of damages because nobody is going to bother suing a broke Linux developer when they can go after a big corporation like AMD.
  • 13 Hide
    blppt , December 28, 2012 8:11 PM
    I think one of the major issues (if they operate anything like Nvidia in this area) is fear that proprietary driver technology would be reverse engineered or stolen by competitors if they released it all via open source. Thats been a part of Nvidia's reasoning in the past. As for the reason why linux users hate using closed-source drivers as part of a kernel, its a philosophy that by using such software that they are tainting the kernel. Whereas, simply using closed source/commercial software doesnt generally affect the kernel. I personally don't care at all, and always prefer the much faster closed source binaries, but thats the way they feel.
  • 7 Hide
    annymmo , December 28, 2012 8:44 PM
    salgado18I'm sorry if it's an offensive comment to anyone, since I only use Windows and OSX, but why wouldn't Linux users use the proprietary but fully supported Catalyst driver? Why stick to open source, if open source is not giving good enough results, and the alternative is free?


    Because the ones who write proprietary software don't give a crap about quality and being able to use your hardware to the fullest. Also how long they give support is a decision on their side. If they decide to stop support and driver improvements because it's not profitable. "Tough for you buddy. You should have bought our newer products."

    It's this attitude that is kinda unfair to the consumer in general.
    Why not even just make the software open source so the community can fix bugs and do things they care about. This does not require an ongoing investment.
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , December 28, 2012 9:35 PM
    "What AMD should do is work closely with the people who want these drivers, give them the information they need and let them do the work."

    This is exactly what AMD does already. You can't simply open source AMD's proprietary drivers because of DRM certification (HDCP et all), licensed third party intellectual property and other various reasons.

    AMD devotes a small team of about 5 people to work on their open source drivers. They must work on technical information that goes through a extremely lengthy internal review process so they can't be sued. The 7000's series support has been longer than previous releases because of the new GCN architecture. Now that the GCN framework is in place the 8000's series support should effectively be day one. Given that AMD's financial position is very weak you cannot AMD to have anything but a skeleton crew to service an extremely small (but important) section of the market. If AMD's fortunes improve and Linux market share grows you should expect things to change in this area.
  • -3 Hide
    randomizer , December 28, 2012 9:48 PM
    salgado18I'm sorry if it's an offensive comment to anyone, since I only use Windows and OSX, but why wouldn't Linux users use the proprietary but fully supported Catalyst driver? Why stick to open source, if open source is not giving good enough results, and the alternative is free?

    Those who use open source drivers usually do so for idealistic reasons or simply because proprietary drivers don't like to play ball with the rest of their system (which they often don't as they are not built to integrate well).

    husker...AMD is on the hook to to pay for a lot of damages because nobody is going to bother suing a broke Linux developer when they can go after a big corporation like AMD.

    These are "official" drivers. They are primarily developed by AMD, not "broke" 3rd party developers. The problem is that there are so few (human) resources dedicated to this piece of software that it doesn't get proper maintenance.

    blpptI think one of the major issues (if they operate anything like Nvidia in this area) is fear that proprietary driver technology would be reverse engineered or stolen by competitors if they released it all via open source. Thats been a part of Nvidia's reasoning in the past.

    It's also a very bad argument. No competitor is going to have any use for a driver that is designed for your architecture; the hardware is completely different. Yes, it would provide a better understanding of how your product works, but that doesn't provide much benefit in the end.

    No competitor will reverse engineer your product based on your drivers and incorporate design elements into their own products. Patent lawyers will be tying up courts for a century if they did this.
  • 3 Hide
    thomasf94 , December 28, 2012 9:52 PM
    Finally!
  • -2 Hide
    FloKid , December 28, 2012 11:21 PM
    Open Source driver... Seems like a nightmare.
  • 7 Hide
    dozerman , December 29, 2012 1:52 AM
    salgado18I'm sorry if it's an offensive comment to anyone, since I only use Windows and OSX, but why wouldn't Linux users use the proprietary but fully supported Catalyst driver? Why stick to open source, if open source is not giving good enough results, and the alternative is free?

    I'm not sure. As a Linux user, I have no problem with the proprietary drivers, but then you have these diehard FOSS guys who just want to throw a fit every time proprietary software comes out.
  • 0 Hide
    wdmfiber , December 29, 2012 2:26 AM
    Code breaking, brute force attacks (exhaustive key search). You run Linux and want the most powerful Radeon GPU, so preferably the 7000 series (ideally several 7970's in crossfire).
  • 2 Hide
    husker , December 29, 2012 3:22 AM
    randomizerThese are "official" drivers. They are primarily developed by AMD, not "broke" 3rd party developers. The problem is that there are so few (human) resources dedicated to this piece of software that it doesn't get proper maintenance.

    My comment (if you go back and look) was a response to someone who suggested that AMD WORK WITH 3RD PARTY DEVELOPERS so they can develop linux drivers for themselves, rather than use AMD's official drivers. My response pointed out why AMD does not encourage this type of 3rd party development of drivers for their hardware: Because it will open them up to liability issues for problems when such 3RD PARTY drivers are developed with AMD's consent. Get it?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , December 29, 2012 6:22 AM
    while not everyone is an idiot on this thread most of you are
  • 1 Hide
    11796pcs , December 29, 2012 4:25 PM
    Quote:
    Also if said crappy open source driver causes the card to burn up, then the customer is calling AMD and asking for a refund.

    AMD does not have to endorse any drivers created by a third-party team they aid. I'm sure they could include a disclaimer. Using the proper drivers it's probably impossible to burn up a card and therefore AMD could dispel any liability by saying that the consumer was using unofficial drivers.
  • 2 Hide
    alextheblue , December 29, 2012 9:32 PM
    11796pcsUsing the proper drivers it's probably impossible to burn up a card and therefore AMD could dispel any liability by saying that the consumer was using unofficial drivers.
    Kind of hard to prove what drivers they were running. Anyway the best aid they can offer others is to release open source drivers, which they just did. Not to mention I've seen "proper" drivers from Nvidia that didn't think adjusting the fan speed was important even when the GPU was hot enough to boil water. Thankfully the machine crashed before anything melted. So there goes the theory of proper drivers never causing issues like that.

    Personally in the rare instance I use Linux, I don't give a rat's arse if the drivers are proprietary or not. But everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if it means they like less performance and fewer features. As to why the open source drivers from AMD are not as good, read Informed Linux User's post above.
  • 1 Hide
    bloc97 , December 29, 2012 9:50 PM
    Open source drivers ftw! :) 
  • 1 Hide
    madjimms , December 30, 2012 4:18 AM
    Just be glad they provide ANY open-source drivers....
  • 0 Hide
    Pherule , December 30, 2012 10:16 AM
    First Steam on Linux, now this?

    2012 - 2020, the decade Windows dies?

    Let's hope.
Display more comments