A possible hack fix
Here's what I would do:
Originally Posted by pchristy
1: install the distro I wanted to use
2: install the kernel and the X server (all of it) from the last distro the legacy driver supported
3: install the legacy driver supported by that X server
There are surprisingly few packages with versioned dependancies on X or the kernel, so this just might work. Do this from a clean install or if you are hacking a running system take a dd snapshot of your OS partition first, and make sure you can work from console to screw around with xorg.conf and that sort of thing. You are basically forking the disto to rebuild it around a
known good driver
Instead of using dd, it is probably better to use rsync to copy the system partition. I have used such a setup for a long time.
After a modification of /etc/fstab it is possible to flawlessly boot such a copy (preferably typing in raw GRUB commands).
Please understand AMD. They have got limited resources. The hardware was not designed to be supported by an open source driver.
Yet, AMD has a great Linux support that is steadily getting better.
UVD is not so critical because usually the CPU is powerful enough to decode HD video on demand.
In my laptop I have a Radeon HD 3450 and am quite satisfied with AMD support.
Finally, support for first generation UVD blocks is released.
I would like to thank all the people involved in this development.
Now, I only have to wait for my distro to get a 3.18 kernel... which is also going to take a while.
And finally my (not so old) hardware will be supported.
If you're on Ubuntu and don't want to build yourself, you can try the latest drm-intel-next kernel from here, and the Oibaf PPA.
Until Oibaf updates his firmware package, you'll have to copy it manually (before installing the kernel).
On my old PC with HD3650 AGP running 14.04.1 LTS, I could see CPU reduce from 65% down to 15% playing a 1080p H.264 with mpv and even mplayer/smplayer (but could not make VLC work, though).
Well, Fabio was quick and linux-firmware is already updated with the necessary uvd binaries, so no need to manually copy them anymore