Latest On AMD Crimson For Linux: Supports 4.x Kernels, Drops Pre-GCN GPUs

Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 24 November 2015 at 09:29 AM EST. 54 Comments
Here's the latest in my hurried but exciting testing of the AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition for Linux atop Ubuntu.

While AMD Crimson for Linux doesn't bring a new GUI like it does on Windows, the good news is that this release is finally building against the latest Linux 4.x kernels. I've confirmed it for at least Linux 4.1 it's building fine and others are having success to with Linux 4.x. However, no word if this release supports the latest Linux 4.3 kernel nor if it can handle the fresh X.Org Server 1.18.

As a bit of unfortunate news for those with older AMD graphics cards: Crimson on both Linux and Windows has gone away with pre-GCN GPU support. The Radeon HD 5000/6000 series are no longer supported by the mainline Radeon Software (Catalyst) driver, leaving you with Catalyst 15.9 driver as the last official update.

The R600g driver and rest of the open-source Radeon driver stack is mature for those with pre-GCN graphics processors, but the only sad part about that is that this driver hasn't yet reached complete OpenGL 4.0 support. So if you previously relied on some OpenGL 4 Linux games with a higher-end Northern Islands GPU, now you'll be out of luck or just have to stick to Catalyst 15.9 without any kernel or xorg-server updates. Likewise, if you were using CrossFire or other features only offered by Catalyst that don't yet have open-source support. Granted, Graphics Core Next has been out since 2011 so you may want to think about upgrading your hardware this holiday season.

Stay tuned for more details as I continue exploring this new driver release on Linux and the OpenGL performance tests are running.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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