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Details On The AMD Linux Graphics Driver Ported To Windows

AMD

Published on 23 October 2011 06:13 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD
10 Comments

Earlier this month I wrote about the AMD porting their open-source Linux graphics driver to Windows EC7. Here's a few details that were learned in the past two weeks.

As suspected, after initially writing about this open-source driver being ported from the Linux kernel to run on Microsoft's new Windows embedded operating system, there was a lot of interesting feedback within the forums and elsewhere. Among the responses were comments by AMD's John Bridgman. Here's a (belated) summary of some of what was said.

While the open-source Radeon Linux driver is MIT-licensed and could be forked into a proprietary Windows driver, it appears that AMD intends to make this WEC7 graphics driver available as open-source, at least to their device partners. In response to a comment whether taking code written in part by the Linux community (a "form of cheap labor") and porting it to Windows embedded with some "proprietary sauce" was part of AMD's original open-source Linux strategy plan, Bridgman responded with: "Nope. This is a fairly recent project, conceived and started years after we got back into supporting open source graphics drivers, and the request was for a driver that could be released in source code form."

Bridgman followed up later with "The main reason for basing this driver on the open source stack was that we wanted to be able to release the new driver in source code form. Given that constraint, leveraging the existing open source code (rather than trying to sanitize a bazillion lines of Catalyst code) was kind of a no-brainer." In fact, he mentioned the open-source WEC7 driver requirement a few times. "We just added two more open source developers (going from 2 to 4) contributing to the upstream code, and I already said that we used the open source driver as a basis for the WEC7 driver because we wanted to release source code for that driver as well."

In terms of what license the open-source Windows Radeon driver will be, that's still being decided internally at AMD. It looks like the Windows-specific bits will be closed-up (likely due to Microsoft's requirements), but the rest might be still under the X11. "The licensing is being worked out now so I can't be more specific yet -- but we're trying to keep all the non-MS bits X11 licensed if we can."

The recent AMD open-source hirings are also partly responsible for the embedded AMD work, John says in another post. In particular, Tom Stellard and Christian K├Ânig are extending the open-source driver partially for the interest of the embedded folks. Stellard has been working on shader compiler optimizations and investigating OpenCL support while Christian has been working on the video acceleration code and other areas.

There was no public word on the video acceleration support, power management, or other features that may come as a result of this alternative Windows focus. Nothing was learned either about porting the Gallium3D Radeon driver to Windows.

The comments for those interested are part of this Phoronix Forums thread.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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