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AMD Makes An Evolutionary Leap In Linux Support

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  • #16
    All this is good, but it's really PITA that AMD/ATI drivers aren't compatible with the latest stable Linux kernel available. That's one of the advantages of Nvidia drivers and that's why I'm considering get an Nvidia soon.

    If this doesn't change, maybe I will need to change to Nvidia. Sorry, but I prefer to be able to update the kernel to the latest one than having the AMD alternative.

    And keep in mind that Nouveau project progress a lot more than some people may think, being usable for NV40 cards and even showing quite interesting results in 3D support. So in practice Nvidia has better FOSS support, even if isn't official by Nvidia (they should hire those guys for working full time on Nouveau, but that's another matter).

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    • #17
      Do you want a Linux live distro with autoinstaller for fglrx 8-6 and kernel 2.6.26 (also includes Nvidia 177.13) and my favorite test: gl2benchmark?

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      • #18
        Originally posted by timofonic View Post
        All this is good, but it's really PITA that AMD/ATI drivers aren't compatible with the latest stable Linux kernel available. That's one of the advantages of Nvidia drivers and that's why I'm considering get an Nvidia soon.

        If this doesn't change, maybe I will need to change to Nvidia. Sorry, but I prefer to be able to update the kernel to the latest one than having the AMD alternative.

        And keep in mind that Nouveau project progress a lot more than some people may think, being usable for NV40 cards and even showing quite interesting results in 3D support. So in practice Nvidia has better FOSS support, even if isn't official by Nvidia (they should hire those guys for working full time on Nouveau, but that's another matter).
        Just because it works "quite well" that doesn't mean the FOSS support is better.
        The radeon and radeonhd drivers already got full (and stable) 2D accel on anything up to R500 (R600 too I think) and many 3D games already work very well.
        I understand you point, but a reverse engineered driver will never outperform a well written driver that was written using provided docs.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by d2kx View Post
          4800 series for real gamers and (upcoming) 4600 series for multimedia/middle-end games and integrated 780G/790GX for multimedia/lower-end games only should satisfy everyone who wants to switch over to AMD in the future...
          http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Powercolor/HD_4850/

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          • #20
            timofonic, fglrx supports latest stable kernel series since last month and the unstable kernel series is supported with external patches, as Kano already mentioned. Open Source-wise, AMD is/will be leading if nVidia does no announce own plans soon...

            I forget to say that Michael's cards look awesome

            sundown, they broke the NDA, because it is only allowed to post benchmarks today, and nothing else like power consumption, fan noise etc.

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            • #21
              It’s come a long way I agree but none of the drivers have matured for me yet.
              I bought a used Asus x800xl pcie (an upgrade from the radeon 9250).
              I cried bloody tears when fglrx dropped 9250 support because the radeon driver was
              a mess back then. Disabling DRI was the only way to guarantee my computer wouldn’t freeze overnight.

              for my x800xl, the fglrx driver is the fastest but least stable, so I use radeon. The radeon driver hasn’t been really stable for me until this latest RC 6.8.191. And going off my glxgears tests, radeon is about 2/3 the speed of fglrx.

              So I’ve been using radeon drivers for a long time and it’s still heart-ache. No point spending big bucks for a card when I can’t get the performance and features out of it. Probably another year before ATI drivers mature: open and closed. But I’m staying open-source.

              Keep up the great work radeon driver guys !!!

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              • #22
                Kudos to AMD/ATI on all their efforts. However, we still don't have anywhere near feature parity. While CrossFire on Linux is a nice goal, its not important. I'm not aware of any Linux games that need it, and most hardcore gamers are not going to be Linux only anyway...

                I'd much rather effort be put on making things stable. 8.6 is a big step in the right direction, nothing broke for me and I got a nice speedup on my X850 XT. However, lots of people have problems and Iget the dual X server bug myself. Just remember to please, please, please get r300 cards fully working! Fglrx has moved on, and the open source drivers have far too many issues with 3D. OpenGL fog, for example, doesn't seem to want to work, only OpenGL 1.3 is supported, etc.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Tillin9 View Post
                  Kudos to AMD/ATI on all their efforts. However, we still don't have anywhere near feature parity. While CrossFire on Linux is a nice goal, its not important. I'm not aware of any Linux games that need it, and most hardcore gamers are not going to be Linux only anyway...

                  I'd much rather effort be put on making things stable. 8.6 is a big step in the right direction, nothing broke for me and I got a nice speedup on my X850 XT. However, lots of people have problems and Iget the dual X server bug myself. Just remember to please, please, please get r300 cards fully working! Fglrx has moved on, and the open source drivers have far too many issues with 3D. OpenGL fog, for example, doesn't seem to want to work, only OpenGL 1.3 is supported, etc.
                  I guess the CrossFire support is more symbolic, as they want to show us that they really stand behind Linux and try to support it as best as they can.
                  And actually there are many people who have a demand for CrossFire.
                  Also, as Michael always wrote in past AMD articles, users are crying for new features and so the fglrx devs somehow must "supply" them with something ;-)

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                  • #24
                    Unfortunately, Phoronix, at times, does not seem completely impartial towards AMD's and NVidia's respective closed source driver efforts so I feel I must always take any information about either product cautiously. However, the article definitely contains some encouraging promises. For starters, giving their linux support proper advertising treatment does give them alot of extra bonus points with me. But there is one single, uber feature that would get me to switch and buy all new AMD cards immediately for my Linux desktops and that is x264 hardware acceleration. I do alot of x264 encoding of my own personal movies and recordings and the lack of driver support for this hardware feature in both products bothers me quite a bit as decoding takes up quite a bit of precious CPU resources. So while nothing was revealed in this article which would convince me to buy AMD or that they are in any way the superior closed (or open) source product, they've certainly got my attention. I hope they can deliver.
                    Last edited by immudium; 06-19-2008, 03:46 PM.

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                    • #25
                      I can't help but think what AMD's plans are, when R500 and R600 have 2D/3D support out-of-the-box in Ubuntu/Fedora/Suse.

                      Will they brand their graphics cards as "Linux Ready" on the box too?

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by immudium View Post
                        Unfortunately, Phoronix, at times, does not seem completely impartial towards AMD's and NVidia's respective closed source driver efforts so I feel I must always take any information about either product carefully. However, the article definitely contains some encouraging information. For starters, giving their linux support proper advertising treatment does give them alot of extra bonus points with me. But there is one single, uber feature that would get me to switch and buy all new AMD cards immediately for my Linux desktops and that is x264 hardware acceleration. The OpenGL implementation and the rest of the driver could be crap for all I care, but I do alot of x264 encoding of my own personal movies and recordings and the lack of driver support in both products bothers me quite a bit. So while nothing was revealed in this article which would convince me to buy AMD or that they are in any way the superior closed (or open) source product, they've certainly got my attention. I hope AMD delivers.
                        Actually, as part of AMD's strategy, they will be having new work going on in the area of video playback. However, you'll need to wait and see what that entails.
                        Michael Larabel
                        http://www.michaellarabel.com/

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Kano View Post
                          Do you want a Linux live distro with autoinstaller for fglrx 8-6 and kernel 2.6.26 (also includes Nvidia 177.13) and my favorite test: gl2benchmark?
                          Originally posted by d2kx View Post
                          timofonic, fglrx supports latest stable kernel series since last month and the unstable kernel series is supported with external patches, as Kano already mentioned. Open Source-wise, AMD is/will be leading if nVidia does no announce own plans soon...
                          I had several problems trying to use the kernel module of Catalyst 8.5 under my Linux 2.6.25.x kernel installation. All problems about symbols being GPL and such, it was so pain that I stopped to use the close source driver and continue with the (slow in 3D and lacking lots of features) FOSS driver.

                          So maybe a very late and beta 8.5 supported it, because the GPL symbols was totally PITA. I tried (I have no clue about programming) to "patch" the symbols but failed again and again.

                          And what about this?

                          To the dismay of some users, Catalyst 8.6 for Linux doesn't support the Linux 2.6.26 kernel or X.Org 7.4 (X Server 1.5).
                          Maybe I should try it soon then...

                          Anyway, I see people overoptimistic here about AMD and I'm still kept skeptic. FOSS Radeon HD driver is still in the early steps and they aren't exactly boosting it, but at least it seems some kind of stable progress speed (and that's an exceptional thing in the Open Source world, with too unstable progressing in new projects). I think it will take months (and maybe more than a year) until FOSS drivers become really usable and enough powerful in the 3D side.
                          Last edited by timofonic; 06-19-2008, 03:57 PM.

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                          • #28
                            Will AMD fix those GPL symbols problems, BTW?

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                            • #29
                              I wholeheartedly applaud AMD's efforts to foster Linux support. I just bought an HD3870 a few days ago even though I haven't yet even been able to use the HD3650 I bought some months ago, because AMD is releasing their specs and soon enough I won't need to care about how non-functional fglrx is. But soon is not now, and so far, thanks to fglrx, I've had one ATI card gathering dust for months now, and another that's about to start doing so for who knows how long. Presently fglrx is the only option if I want to use the SVIDEO out, and it doesn't even work for that! Who cares if they add crossfire support when you have to deal with all the issues?

                              If AMD can produce a feature-complete driver for Windows that you can use without constant fear of unrecoverable lockups, then they're certainly capable of doing the same for AT LEAST Fedora, Ubuntu, Debian, OpenSUSE, and Slackware. The question is why isn't AMD living up to its potential?

                              Great stuff with Tux on the box though - I was just remarking to unintersted parties the other day, after noticing only Mircosoft OSes listed on the box of my HD3870, that AMD doesn't even put the distros they claim to support with fglrx on the box (of course it's really Sapphire who doesn't in this case). My theory on why was because they know if they put "runs on Linux" on the box people will probably sue them after they find out that it really means "runs on Linux if you're really fscking lucky". I guess my theory is about to be put to the test. Either that or fglrx is actually about to start not sucking so bad. For the record, I hope nobody sues AMD over false advertising of Linux support, and I really hope fglrx starts to actually improve to the point where saying it has feature parity with the windows driver isn't a gross exaggeration(edit: I'm considering not being horribly unstable a feature there btw).

                              Even with all the Linux love from AMD it's still really obvious that Linux gets short shrift in comparison to Windows as far as AMD making sure fglrx actually works goes.

                              Yeah, I'm really frustrated with buying crap that doesn't work.
                              Last edited by oblivious_maximus; 06-19-2008, 04:27 PM.

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                              • #30
                                Here something to demonstrate some ati errors (try gl2benchmark test 3+4 on BOTH nvidia geforce 6+ AND ati):

                                http://debian.tu-bs.de/project/kanot...-2-generic.iso
                                http://debian.tu-bs.de/project/kanot...eneric.iso.md5

                                this also demonstrates the fglrx patches for kernel 2.6.26 in my fglrx script based on:

                                https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/239967

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