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A Happy Four Years To An Open-Source ATI/AMD

AMD

Published on 07 September 2011 02:18 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD
22 Comments

It was four years ago, on the 6th of September 2007, that I exclusively broke the news on AMD's open-source strategy that would end up greatly changing the open-source Linux graphics driver landscape.

While the news was delivered on the 6th of September, XDS Cambridge was going on at that point, and it wasn't until the 17th of September that the RadeonHD Linux driver was published, so it's hard to call a precise birth-date for this strategy. It could also be considered the point at which SUSE wrote a letter to AMD with this open-source idea.

It's been a bumpy road over the past four years, but AMD's open-source strategy remains in full-swing. While the RadeonHD driver is no more, the goals as proposed by SUSE in a letter to AMD back in early 2007 have largely been realized.
a. Provide an open source driver with full support for the latest generations of ATI hardware
including new chipset versions of the same generation.
b. Improve the quality of the open source driver for older hardware generations.
c. Add missing support for already released series of ATI hardware to the open source driver including support for video playback and 3D (with programmable shader support).
d. Provide specification and programming documentation for graphics chipsets for the development of an open source driver to the open source community including specification updates for new chips of the same series including erratas.
e. Continue to implement open source drivers and publication of specifications for future generation chipsets.

There's support for all of AMD's new hardwarem, including Gallium3D support, but the churn of documentation drops have slowed down a bit. Fortunately, things seem to be working out and we're beginning to see a quicker turn-around time for new hardware enablement following major Radeon product launches.

Last month I talked about AMD's open-source progress over four years and in two weeks will be the results from the largest-ever Radeon Linux driver comparison with more than two dozen Radeon GPUs on both the open and closed-source drivers.

Cheers to all of the developers involved. Next week at XDC2011 Chicago there shall be celebrating.

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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