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May 2014
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AMD annoucement of open drivers...

So the news is out that AMD have committed to opening up specifications and providing some driver code to the open source community!!!

Alex Deucher and I have been working with AMD on this for about 3 months now and it's great to see it finally go public with their plans going forward. The initial code from Novell/SuSE will be appearing around XDS time, and AMD will also be attending.

Initially it will be a 2D modesetting driver, and hopefully a 3D driver will follow later. They are not stopping work on fglrx and will not be releasing any code from fglrx.

They will also be providing us with some access to engineering staff for information on older cards that we hadn't access to before, so we can properly support the current radeon driver (mainly BIOS parsing and workarounds..)

AMD, myself and Red Hat are also working through clearing me from my NDA issues so I can work on the r5xx cards.

So its all very positive and hopefully it we can all work together going forward to produce a top-notch open source driver...

If anyone has any questions on this feel free to post them here and I'll try and answer them if I can...


This is great news! Especially since its the first (and so far only) real fact that corroborates their claims.

I do wonder about the 3d though... If they release to linux full specs so that we can write our own GPL'ed driver, and maintain that relationship, then its reasonable to expect that fglrx will, even if well maintained, eventually become an inferior driver, no? I just don't see the point in maintaining it in the long run, unless they intend to keep certain chip features private or something. Do you think we'll get full 3D acceleration out of these chips when all is said and done? Or are we going to end up with an open but partially crippled due to undisclosed chip features 3D driver?

80% performance with few bugs and no guesswork would be far better than what we get now, but it would suck if they intentionally hold back the 20%.

Re: 3d!

The open driver may well surpass the closed one at some point in the future. If it does, then ATI may well choose to switch to it for their certified workstation drivers.

They're not holding back some magic feature from the docs that will make fglrx go faster or anything, the intent is not to "cripple" the open driver. They've just sunk a lot of engineering and testing effort into fglrx, and they have customers that rely on its feature set. They can't change that overnight.