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 Benchmarking Platform
Phoromatic Test Orchestration

Open ATI Driver More Popular Than Catalyst

AMD

Published on 05 December 2009 11:22 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD
115 Comments

On Monday we will be publishing our results from the 2009 Linux Graphics Survey, but when looking over the results there is one set of numbers in particular that jumped out (though there are a few other interesting figures too). Below is a prelude to the Phoronix survey results that will be published on Monday. The below graph shows how the ~14,000 respondents during our month-long survey responded to what Linux graphics survey driver they were using.

Open ATI Driver More Popular Than Catalyst


The NVIDIA binary graphics driver on Linux was most common, but that isn't a shock at all considering they are the most popular graphics vendor for Linux at this time, but their customers right now are pretty limited to using their binary driver as Nouveau isn't ready for mainstream adoption. NVIDIA's binary driver was also most popular in our 2007 and 2008 surveys too, but that isn't even what surprised us about these results. It's the ATI numbers.

For the first time that we have ever hosted this Linux graphics survey, has an open-source ATI driver finally outpaced AMD's official Catalyst Linux driver in terms of adoption. As is said in Monday's article:

This is the first year that there were more people using the open-source ATI driver (through the xf86-video-ati DDX driver) than AMD's official Catalyst driver! There were 3,117 counts for xf86-video-ati, 2,770 for the Catalyst driver, and then 1,185 installations still using the xf86-video-radeonhd driver. Last year the Catalyst / fglrx driver had a 6% lead over the -ati driver. This was a bit surprising to us, but unlike NVIDIA, AMD backs a viable open-source strategy for their hardware via providing open documentation and significant contributions to the open-source ATI Linux driver stack. The open-source ATI Linux driver stack provides kernel mode-setting, 2D / X-Video acceleration, and modest 3D support for almost all of their graphics cards, while support for some of the newer GPUs is still emerging.

So while the Catalyst Linux driver may offer faster 3D performance, support for CrossFire, OverDrive, Big Desktop, XvBA, and many other features, the open-source ATI driver stack is actually becoming more common with its "out of the box" support in many distributions that provides working Compiz, support for some non-demanding games, and just a pleasant experience that should "just work" for most hardware and it seems to be pleasing many of its users. In 2010 there is also the potential for the open-source ATI driver numbers to rise even higher as ATI kernel mode-setting finds its way in more desktop distributions, Gallium3D starts to take focus, more power management work takes place, and other improvements made.

Stay tuned for the rest of our 2009 Linux graphics survey results on Monday.

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 .
Latest Articles & Reviews
  1. Sub-$20 802.11n USB WiFi Adapter That's Linux Friendly
  2. The Lenovo T450s Is Working Beautifully With Linux
  3. Linux 4.0 SSD EXT4 / Btrfs / XFS / F2FS Benchmarks
  4. Linux 4.0 Hard Drive Comparison With Six File-Systems
  5. Lenovo ThinkPad T450s Broadwell Preview
  6. How Open-Source Allowed Valve To Implement VULKAN Much Faster On The Source 2 Engine
Latest Linux News
  1. Intel's Turbostat Adds Skylake Support In Linux 4.1
  2. Microsoft's Open-Source Group Merges Back Into The Company
  3. EXT4 In Linux 4.1 Adds File-System Level Encryption
  4. Open-Source Ardour 4.0 Audio Software Has Big Improvements
  5. Linux-Powered Endless Computer Raises $100k+ In A Few Days
  6. GCC 5.1 RC2 Arrives, GCC 5.1 Planned For Next Week
  7. F2FS For Linux 4.1 Has New Features & Fixes
  8. Phoronix Server Upgrade This Weekend: Dual Haswell Xeons, 96GB DDR4
  9. Google's Experimental QUIC Transport Protocol Is Showing Promise
  10. Red Hat Joins Khronos, The Group Behind OpenGL & Vulkan
Most Viewed News This Week
  1. Nouveau: NVIDIA's New Hardware Is "VERY Open-Source Unfriendly"
  2. Linux 4.0 Kernel Released
  3. Linux 4.1 Brings Many Potentially Risky x86/ASM Changes
  4. Microsoft Announces An LLVM-Based Compiler For .NET
  5. VirtualBox 5.0 Beta 2 Released
  6. KDBUS Is Taking A Lot Of Heat, Might Be Delayed From Mainline Linux Kernel
  7. Mozilla Start Drafting Plans To Deprecate Insecure HTTP
  8. LibreOffice 4.5 Bumped To Become LibreOffice 5.0