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AMD Linux 2008 Year in Review

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  • AMD Linux 2008 Year in Review

    Phoronix: AMD Linux 2008 Year in Review

    Last year when publishing our AMD Year in Review article there were numerous new features to account for, including but not limited to the new OpenGL driver, support for Compiz, and the AMD Catalyst Control Center Linux Edition. This year has been another interesting year for AMD's Linux efforts on both the open and closed fronts. We are focusing on their Catalyst driver efforts in this article, which has picked up support for CrossFire, is now capable of being overclocked with OverDrive, and AMD is now delivering same-day Linux product support. In this article we will recap some of the highlights from the Catalyst driver releases this year as well as set out on a benchmarking extravaganza.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=13267

  • #2
    Great... but if you find some one in this forum who claims that fglrx doesn't suck -- now that will be an achievment!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by sundown View Post
      Great... but if you find some one in this forum who claims that fglrx doesn't suck -- now that will be an achievment!
      agreed
      Try KDE4 (4.1.3) with fglrx.
      I found this on the opensuse wiki.
      There seems to be an issue with the fglrx driver and KDE4, which causes windows to be painted/repainted very slow on KDE4, while this does not occur on KDE3. It doesn't matter if compositing effects are turned on or off in KDE4. Using the free radeon or radeonhd drivers seems not to cause such performance problems......
      Well I can confirm this and I don't have the option to use radeon oder radonhd (Radeon4670/2600Pro) because then my video performance is terrible.

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      • #4
        When AMD had made the evolutionary step in ensuring equal Linux features and support, we were told by multiple AMD representatives -- even when in person at their launch event -- that some AIB partners would ship the Linux driver on their product CD and showcase Tux on the product packaging. It has been over six months and we have yet to see a single product that has either of these attributes. Hopefully this will come to fruition in 2009, as it's becoming apparent from our work and communications that more of AMD's partners are concerning themselves with Linux.
        Don't quote me on that, but I remember reading on a mailing list (linux?) one of Linux main kernel developers say that graphic card vendors providing linux proprietary binary blobs would be really risky. Kernel developers don't see binary blobs kindly, and when they approached some lawyers for a check they were told the card vendor (or ATI/Nvidia) would have most chances to face huge damages in court. I expect we won't see Tux logo on the cards packaging if no Linux driver comes in the box.

        Maybe when the open source drivers will prove stable and with enough feature they might provide them with the cards, but until them I wouldn't count on a Tux logo anywhere near an ATI/Nvidia graphic card. That might be different for Intel when they start selling dedicated graphic cards.

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        • #5
          Well the driver "improvement" is for general use (the newly introduced features 99% of the ppl will not use anyway) is always the same:

          a) feature X breaks
          b) wait a certain amount of month
          c) fix feature X - now listed as improvement

          Of course not everything is fine with NV, but bugfix releases for latest gfx cards are much more often - ok, some problems took quite some time there too. But I can't remember a NV driver which locked the system when xv is used. Also it absolutely sucks, that features like beryl/compiz support is not working for Xorg 7.1.1, not even for Xserver 1.3. Also rendering issues for over 1 year, only community based kernel patches (NV provides em on their own) and hardlocks, especially when switching from radeon to fglrx have been never fixed. The whole driver is a complete mess - the monthly releases do not improve anything. If they would update the driver on purpose, like major bugfixes, new kernel support, better stability if needed - not when a month is over - then all would be more happy. Nothing hurts more then a driver which reached the timeout and gets released with more bugs than the predecessor.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by miles View Post
            Don't quote me on that, but I remember reading on a mailing list (linux?) one of Linux main kernel developers say that graphic card vendors providing linux proprietary binary blobs would be really risky. Kernel developers don't see binary blobs kindly, and when they approached some lawyers for a check they were told the card vendor (or ATI/Nvidia) would have most chances to face huge damages in court. I expect we won't see Tux logo on the cards packaging if no Linux driver comes in the box.
            I'm not a lawyer, but that lawyer sounds wrong to me.

            AFAIK, publishing GPL code (like the Linux kernel) along with a binary blob would be copyright infringement - but only because you're copying the kernel in a way the kernel's copyright holders don't approve of. They don't approve of it being published next to a binary blob.

            But publishing your own binary blob all by itself is perfectly legal. The copyright holder doesn't object, because YOU ARE the copyright holder of your own binary blob.

            This is the reason Linux distros can't include the binary drivers on their install CDs, even though nVidia and Ati would be ok with it.

            Again AFAIK, nVidia and Ati have every right to include their binary drivers for Linux in the box with any hardware they sell. They would just be disallowed from publishing any GPL code along with it.

            That's how it works. You can't take GPL code and try to turn it closed source, and you can't mix GPL and closed source code. But if you're not mixing them at all, then it's fine.

            Besides, the binary driver coming in the box is no different from letting people download it. It's still a form of publishing that falls under copyright law. If one is illegal then they both are. If that laywer is correct then nVidia and Ati both have to remove their binary drivers from their websites.
            Last edited by StringCheesian; 12-15-2008, 07:37 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by miles View Post
              ...linux proprietary binary blobs...

              Kernel developers don't see binary blobs kindly...
              To nitpick...the current video drivers are very proprietary, even the open source ones because they are drivers to be used by only one vendor. Also there's nothing wrong with binaries, you mean the problem is that they are closed source, of course open source is a feature, but at least Linux users can use their cards in the meantime until that feature becomes more common.

              Originally posted by miles View Post
              I expect we won't see Tux logo on the cards packaging if no Linux driver comes in the box.
              That's silly, and I dunno if you're right about that, but regardless, to me it would be common sense to include the Linux driver if you put on the box that you support Linux. Demanding that users go online and download and install their drivers isn't the norm at least right now.

              Originally posted by miles View Post
              Maybe when the open source drivers will prove stable and with enough feature they might provide them with the cards, but until them I wouldn't count on a Tux logo anywhere near an ATI/Nvidia graphic card. That might be different for Intel when they start selling dedicated graphic cards.
              Again I don't think you're right about that, but IANAL and don't know the ifs, ands, and buts with trademarks. IMO, you shouldn't need someone's permission to talk about them as I feel it violates free speech. If I want to say that my product "supports Linux" I should be able to, but obviously outright lies to the customer could come with a backlash. Either way, I don't think that effects whether or not the drivers you include are open or closed source, or even requires that you include any drivers at all in the box.

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              • #8
                ok whatever. anyways, while doing a review , you must compare the product you review to its rival, in this case NVIDIA. Reading this article seems that NVIDIA has only VDP(blabla) more than AMD: SILLY!

                come on, do a correct review and simply state: if you are a customer and want your card to work in 99% of cases then DON'T BUY AMD if you are using Linux(x86 and x86_64) because its drivers has more bugs than internet explorer ever did in 15 years. Instead buy NVIDIA.

                This isn't a review, it's a friendly speech about AMD and its progress. But AMD's enemy is years ahead and we all know that. (if in year 2008 my operating system has chances to hang watching a video then...there isn't much to say about this).

                It's not because I want to talk bad about AMD, but if you do a review how can't you not compare it to it's main rival? maybe because you know that would just hurt AMD? (actually totally kill).

                Why don't you do an NVIDIA review starting from the first year they published drivers for linux? year 2001. yea.
                Last edited by bulletxt; 12-16-2008, 02:13 AM.

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                • #9
                  Sorry, I must have missed the "evolution" in the driver. Yeah, overclocking. Yeah, Crossfire, whatever. Things a good chunk of people don't do.

                  Most of the benchmarks, the performance across the year was comparable amongst all releases. A few of them, the latest releases wouldn't run. Yep, that's evolution.

                  Every month when a new fglrx release comes out, soon after there's at least one thread on here of "new catalyst broke fearure X" or "new catalyst won't install" or "new Catalyst freezes when I look at it funny". You might have great luck with your particular card, your particular system, and your particular distro. Someone else could have one seemingly insignificant difference in their setup and the driver will bork on them. I've never heard of a more finicky driver.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jeffro-tull View Post
                    Sorry, I must have missed the "evolution" in the driver. Yeah, overclocking. Yeah, Crossfire, whatever. Things a good chunk of people don't do.

                    Most of the benchmarks, the performance across the year was comparable amongst all releases. A few of them, the latest releases wouldn't run. Yep, that's evolution.

                    Every month when a new fglrx release comes out, soon after there's at least one thread on here of "new catalyst broke fearure X" or "new catalyst won't install" or "new Catalyst freezes when I look at it funny". You might have great luck with your particular card, your particular system, and your particular distro. Someone else could have one seemingly insignificant difference in their setup and the driver will bork on them. I've never heard of a more finicky driver.
                    exactly.... there are more threads on fglrx drivers not working than anything else! not to mention how many howtos and wikis to actually install the driver!! why isn't this mentioned in the review? why doesn't this review actually dedicate 1 page about the infinite bugs the driver has? why why why? who knows.. I suggest to put an AMD flag as logo for website. at least if a user enters this website he knows it's a pro-AMD. and I'm not inventing anything, I just read and extract clear conclusions...

                    and all this is said from an ATI customer. (yes, I love dreaming).

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