How-To Use Open-Source Radeon UVD On Ubuntu
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 18 April 2013 at 02:38 PM EDT. 16 Comments
With the Radeon DRM changes for Linux 3.10 lining up and including Radeon Unified Video Decoder support, it's becoming easier to take advantage of Radeon UVD-accelerated video playback with AMD's open-source Linux graphics driver.

Now that the first Radeon pull has made it into drm-next, which in turn will be merged into the mainline Linux 3.10 code-base in the coming weeks, it's possible to easily grab a supported kernel for Ubuntu users. Via the Ubuntu mainline kernel PPA it's easy grab a Debian package of the very latest drm-next kernel code in compiled form for i386 and AMD64 architectures.

First of all, for those unfamiliar with the new open-source UVD support, the long-awaited coverage was exclusively announced within AMD Releases Open-Source UVD Video Support.

Aside from needing the newer kernel, there's also user-space bits that need to be updated. Aaron Watry, a Phoronix reader, wrote in with his simple Ubuntu instructions he used for enabling open-source support for AMD's Unified Video Decoder that should work ideal for Radeon HD 4000 graphics cards and newer.

Below are the brief setup instructions Watry used with some slight alterations I made to the instructions to make them more user-friendly:

- Install the VDPAU header files: sudo apt-get install libvdpau-dev.

- Rebuild Mesa against the latest mainline Git master code using the following configure arguments: --with-gallium-drivers=r600 --enable-vdpau.

- Add an entry in /etc/ld.so.conf.d/z.conf for /usr/local/lib/vdpau followed by running ldconfig.

- Install the latest drm-next kernel offered on this web-page (until Linux 3.10 kernel test releases begin appearing).

- Install the UVD firmware for your particular hardware (if unsure, it's safe as well to just download all of the firmware files) and then drop them in /lib/firmware. The updated microcode files for the Radeon GPUs are available from this directory.

- Reboot the system.

- Launch a VDPAU-enabled video player.
About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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