1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

The Truth About ATI/AMD & Linux

Michael Larabel

Published on 1 June 2007
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 4 of 9 - Comment On This Article

Timing a Release

Whether you know it or not, ATI Technologies had made the strategic decision to make the Linux driver part of their unified release cycle, but what does this mean? Well, these slides we are sharing with you today is the simplified version of what this unified development cycle means along with some other information to share with the public for the first time.

AMD provides updated display Catalyst drivers on a monthly basis for both their Windows and Linux customers, but these monthly drivers actually take about 11 weeks, or close to three months, to put together. Each release consists of pure development time for roughly one month, creating a branch for that specific release, and then carrying out quality assurance. After development has ended there is three weeks of validation, three weeks of beta testing, and then one week to bake. Any and all new features or fixes that AMD engineers would like in the release must be completed during the development stage. Granted, however, there are exceptions to that development rule for fixing any serious regressions as well as for the inclusion of distribution-specific packaging scripts. Community members with AMD's internal beta testing program maintain these packaging scripts and thus the scripts for each release are generally all updated during the beta testing stage. The bake stage in the development of the Catalyst driver is merely a buffer of time to ensure that the Windows and Linux drivers are completed and launched on the same day.

This schedule does also explain why new kernel and X.Org support isn't generally added the same month as its release. If a new kernel at the start of the month breaks fglrx support, that month's driver is already far into the validation and beta stages, which prevents engineers from appending support to the branched driver. Adding support for newer versions of the Linux kernel and X.Org in some cases require extensive modifications, more so than end-users may sometimes realize. However, with the distribution-specific packaging scripts not having set deadlines, and in some cases being updated a few days prior to the driver's public release, often times they will include non-official patches.

It is also important to keep in mind that while the AMD release notes in every driver may not be as long as an end-user would like, the developers are actually working on things all of the time. Like we had saw last year with the Dynamic Display Management Options and other features, there are times during the year when the official change-log may be short for a period of releases but that is when they are actually working on tackling some of the long-term objectives. Right now we seem to be going through a similar period with the Linux driver.

Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. Trying The Configurable 45 Watt TDP With AMD's A10-7800 / A6-7400K
  2. Sumo's Omni Gets Reloaded
  3. AMD A10-7800 & A6-7400K APUs Run Great On Linux
  4. Radeon Gallium3D Is Running Increasingly Well Against AMD's Catalyst Driver
Latest Linux Articles
  1. AMD's RadeonSI Driver Sped Up A Lot This Summer
  2. Intel's Latest Linux Graphics Code Competes Against OS X 10.9
  3. Intel Sandy Bridge Gets A Surprise Boost From Linux 3.17
  4. Open-Source Radeon Graphics Have Some Improvements On Linux 3.17
Latest Linux News
  1. GNOME/GTK+ Human Interface Guidelines Updated
  2. The Widely-Criticized New Commercial Linux Distro Is Now On Kickstarter
  3. CUDA 6.5 Is Doing Great For Blender
  4. Wayland & Weston 1.6 Alpha Released
  5. Nouveau Gets Improved Re-Clocking Handling For Select GPUs
  6. A New First-Person Mystery Game Might Be Coming To Linux
  7. Patch By Patch, LLVM Clang Gets Better At Building The Linux Kernel
  8. VC4 Gallium3D Driver Now Handles X With GLAMOR
  9. Opera 25 Development Release For Linux
  10. Steam Now Supports VA-API For In-Home Game Streaming
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Btrfs Gets Talked Up, Googler Encourages You To Try Btrfs
  2. Systemd 216 Piles On More Features, Aims For New User-Space VT
  3. OSS radeon driver for A10-7850K (Kaveri)
  4. American Citizens running AMOK for food stamps
  5. What Linux Distribution Should Be Benchmarked The Most?
  6. Company I work for is looking to contribute to Open Source projects... but wrongly?
  7. Microsoft vs. Campaign
  8. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers