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AMD Open Source Graphics Software Hardware Linux

AMD Is Open-Sourcing Their Official Vulkan Linux Driver (phoronix.com) 75

An anonymous reader writes: While many of you have likely heard of the "RADV" open-source Vulkan driver, it's been a community-written driver up to this point in the absence of AMD's official, cross-platform Vulkan driver being open-source. That's now changed with AMD now open-sourcing their official Vulkan driver. The code drop is imminent and they are encouraging the use of it for quick support of new AMD hardware, access to the Radeon GPU Profiler, easy integration of AMD Vulkan extensions, and enabling third-party extensions. For now at least it does provide better Vulkan performance than RADV but the RADV developers have indicated they plan to continue development of their Mesa-based Vulkan driver.
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AMD Is Open-Sourcing Their Official Vulkan Linux Driver

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  • by paulatz ( 744216 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2017 @05:08AM (#55730657)
    Maybe AMD has understood that if you have the geeks on your side, than the next generation of general consumers will be yours as well. Because nobody, except the geeks, can tell two brands of hardware apart but everybody ask their geek family member for advice
    • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere ( 2201864 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2017 @05:17AM (#55730679)
      Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!

      Where have I heard that before?
      • Not the same thing.

        • Oh, I think it is. In this era of GPU-driven machine learning, commitment == lockin. AMD is inviting people to play right down on the metal with this.
          • Oh, I think it is. In this era of GPU-driven machine learning, commitment == lockin. AMD is inviting people to play right down on the metal with this.

            You got the wrong opensource driver.

            Vulkan is about "right down on the metal" mostly in the graphics departement (through there are idea to run computations using Vulkan).

            The "right down on the metal" drivers stack that got open sourced by AMD that target "GPU-driven machin learning" (and any other GPU computation), is the ROCm + OpenCL stack (with ROCm being the "down on the metal" part).
            AMD has recently finished their opensourcing efforts for that one too, and the necessary component are in the process of

            • The driver code will show how to talk directly to the hardware; you'll be able to reverse engineer this driver much more easily now that you'll have the code, and bypass it entirely for certain operations. That's as "right down on the metal" as it gets, and you won't be limited to just graphics, even though this driver might be, because you'll have access tot he entire lexicon, courtesy of a cursory read through the source code.

              If that's something you actually care about and know how to make proper use of
              • The driver code will show how to talk directly to the hardware;

                The lower level of the stack has been available for ages :

                Initially in the form of "radeon.ko" a separate opensource effort progressively more and more supported by AMD themselve.

                And the "amdgpu.ko" as part of a complete rewrite from the ground up by AMD devs, with the aim to enable as much code sharing as possible including between multiple drivers stacks (used by both the usual opensource driver stack AMD has been supporting, and amdgpu-pro - basically a binary libGL.so that is the current day successor o

        • by pots ( 5047349 )
          Yes, he only said it five times. That's hardly comparable.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 13, 2017 @05:36AM (#55730725)

      AMD has understood this like a decade ago. They've invested _a lot_ in open source graphics stack, release the specs (even they still have proprietary FGLXR driver), and SUSE employs developers who solely do Radeon drivers based on these specs. You gotta be slightly careful when getting cards, but all in all, the open source driver is freaking fantastic (on older R280 mine beating FGLXR in performance on most open source games).

      Check out https://www.x.org/wiki/RadeonFeature/

      • AMD and opensource (Score:4, Informative)

        by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2017 @07:20AM (#55730871) Homepage

        They've invested _a lot_ in open source graphics stack, release the specs (even they still have proprietary FGLXR driver)

        I might even add :
        their opensource driver is now currently considered the "official recommended one", while AMDGPU-PRO (the current closed source one, basically the successor of FGLXR, but with bits rewritten from scratch for better code sharing with the opensource drivers - it's mostly only a blob "libGL.so") is currently only recommended for workstation users that have weird compatibility requirement for "that old mission-critical CAD software over there" that requires compatibility profiles.

        but all in all, the open source driver is freaking fantastic (on older R280 mine beating FGLXR in performance on most open source games).

        One of the reason for AMD to recommend the opensource drivers is exactly this.

        Add to that the finally managed to get DAL/DC/whatever-it's-called-now upstream in the kernel, and the recently open-source ROCm + OpenCL stack is also in the process of getting upstreamed...
        It globally sounds very nice.

        We just needs to see how this opensourced "official" Vuklan drivers co-evolves with the community-built "RADV" one.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        AMD has but ATI did not. ATI literally laughed in the face of open source and especially Linux. I know because I was there when their president of marketing laughed in my face when I asked about broader Linux support and higher quality drivers.

        The ATI/AMD products have suffered because ATI was such a shitty company with shitty drivers and shitty executives. NVIDIA on the other hand has always embraced the Linux community. While these days people like to shit on them NVIDIA supported Linux while ATI was lite

        • AMD has but ATI did not. ATI literally laughed in the face of open source and especially Linux.

          Actually no. ATI supported and funded open source driver development from the time that Linux gaming became a possibility (~1998 with the introduction of DRI) until 2002 when we acquired FireGL and hoped that their pre-existing closed-source Linux workstation driver (fglrx) would be a good replacement. As it turned out, fglrx was OK for workstation users but never worked out well for consumer/desktop users. We looked at restarting the open source driver effort a couple of times but since that was also the p

    • This is why "Linux on the desktop" figures are so greatly misleading: one influential geek has as much effect as dozens or even hundreds of everyday users.
    • It depends on how they opensource it. We've seen this out of AMD before. Dumping a bunch of manuals and code on volunteers doesn't actually do much.

      I don't care if I pay more for Nvidia because Nvidia pays people to develop drivers for my platforms and they work. I don't have any "closed binaries" moral issue when I need to get work done. AMD just dumped their codebase and said "Hey, there it is, do our work for us as well as pay us money for the hardware".

      • by mlyle ( 148697 )

        Yah, because the proprietary NV drivers on linux is such a great experience free of oddness. /s

        AMD is doing the right things, which is nice. And beyond that, the experience is good for modern AMD hardware on Linux.

      • AMD just dumped their codebase and said "Hey, there it is, do our work for us as well as pay us money for the hardware".

        Citation needed. I don't think we have ever done that with Linux drivers. We have been hiring developers to contribute to the existing open source driver projects for a decade now. If you think we dumped a driver code base and walked away from it please give me an idea what you are talking about. Thanks.

  • by zaphirplane ( 1457931 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2017 @05:20AM (#55730689)

    Nvidia and firmware makers tell us it's impossible because of 3rd party, security, competitive edge and a whole bunch of what now looks like excuses. I would love to hear from all the nay sayers how it was made possible ;)
    well done, I hope system makers start making intel CPU with AMD GPU (sorry not meant as a back hand compliment)

    • by Wootery ( 1087023 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2017 @05:30AM (#55730709)

      Pretty safe bet, now that Intel CPU + AMD GPU on a chip [anandtech.com] has been announced.

      • Intel has been playing catch-up in the integrated GPU space for years. While they are getting better, they're still leaps and bound behind AMD's APU's.

        That said, I'm curious where things will shake out 5 to 10 years down the line. Maybe Intel will have learned a bit about GPU's and not be so friendly with AMD.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Because AMD via AGESA has locked up all that same firmware on both the CPU/Motherboard and GPU platforms as closed source opaque and proprietary modules, same as everyone else.

      What Intel and AMD have done (and Nvidia may have to do in the future in order to survive) is foist the many eyes/bugfixing part for the more resource intensive part of the driver architecture on the open source community, while maintaining control over the aspects which most endanger the end-user, while providing security to the cont

      • Unless we can get new players into both the cpu/motherboard platform ecosystem, and the GPU/Compute ecosystem, we are going to find ourselves with less and less control of own devices...

        Are "new players" somehow resistant to National Security Letters?

    • [W]ell done, I hope system makers start making intel CPU with AMD GPU....

      This strengthens my decision to buy AMD everywhere.

      • Indeed, even when I buy Intel I'll strive to buy AMD. I don't have use for an APU, but if I ever do, Intel is back on my list of possible buys.
    • I'm definitely favoring AMD cards for my Linux computers now, which is all but one of them! I may even give AMD cards a closer look on my gaming PC since they tend to get handed-down to one of the non-gaming PCs later on. It's a shame Nvidia has a practical monopoly on GPU-accelerated physics.

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2017 @09:24AM (#55731363)

    Perhaps the greatest limiting factor in getting an open source GPU (source for firmware available) has always been implementing drivers and graphics libraries. Vulkan drastically reduced this requirement by creating a common platform for graphics libraries to execute on (see SPIR-V) and this can be a template for drivers. This leaves on two elements locked away: the firmware and the hardware itself. This is a massive reduction in labor for those who wish to bring an open source GPU to the market. It might not be the best/fastest GPU but it will be up to date and as functional as it's counterparts.

  • If your favorite retailer drops your product, that means they no longer carry it. Is AMD dropping their video cards?
  • AMD for the WIN! Now we need ThreadRipper boards with ipmi!!!

  • RX480, 4GB. I've been using the FOSS drivers for about a year now and they're GREAT. I did have to compile my own kernel in the earlier days but now the ones that come with Ubuntu etc seem to work just fine out of the box.

  • i actually like AMD, my first PC has an AMD processor and almost all replacements after that also were from AMD.

    I've been using nvidia GPU's now on linux for so long, because the driver, even though closed, at least worked best. The last 2 years AMD has made so many improvements and has open source implementations that my next GPU probably will be AMD based.

    At first Valve only supported nvidia for steam and steamos, but i think even they are now involved in improving the AMD oss drivers and a lot of games j

  • There are a large number of middle budget laptops from HP and Dell that comes with rebranded AMD SI and CIK cards which have only GCN 1.0 or 1.1 supported. I have a HP 15-BS576TX which is a June 2017 launch which has AMD 520 discrete card. So, does many models with AMD 520/530 cards which are recognized in amdgpu as HD8xxx cards. The driver performance is most of the times laggard compared to radeon driver. I hope the developers kindly give some attention to this also. The only hope is amdgpu project with t
    • Why do you say "the only hope is amdgpu" when radeon is the officially supported driver for your card ? Agree that you will want to move to amdgpu eventually in order to get Vulkan support, and as you know we published the first open source Vulkan support for amdgpu this morning, but other than "Vulkan vs OpenGL" I don't think you should be expecting any more performance from amdgpu than from radeon.

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