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.