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December 2016
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airlied [userpic]
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...

Will the open source drivers be featureful/very fast?

(This question was partially answered in http://airlied.livejournal.com/50187.html?thread=160523#t160523 )

In the past ATI has been burned by releasing specs and getting back drivers that didn't perform very quickly/lacked features (some will argue the old rage 128 drivers will never be completely fixed). Will the new open source drivers be very fast (or will they only strive for base level performance for open source software)? Is this likely given current expertise levels? Additionally will the features for using software with cutting edge 3D features (if things like Maya, id tech or Unreal Engine are ever ported to Linux again) be implemented in the short term (a year or less)?

Re: Will the open source drivers be featureful/very fast?

One of the nice things about new GPU architectures is that they reduce to a compiler problem. It looks very likely that we'll soon be generating GL commands by using LLVM or similar as our compiler backend. So getting performance out of the card should be quite promising.

But this is a crystal ball question. It's impossible to say for certain that some feature will be implemented in six months. As with all the other drivers in Mesa, we endeavor to make them as fast and feature complete as we can. R500 is not going to be different in that regard.

Re: Will the open source drivers be featureful/very fast?

One of the fun things that's been bugging me is that all the Xorg and Mesa folk are really going to have to accumulate a good set of compiler knowledge. I'm not sure we have that at this point.