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.
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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.
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.
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.