AMD Catalyst On Fedora 20 Is Left In An Awkward State
Phoronix reader Steven Rosenberg wrote in today to share his challenging experiences with Fedora 20 and the Catalyst driver. Causing problems for bleeding-edge Linux users is that the Catalyst 14.4 driver doesn't yet support for Linux 3.14 kernel, which can cause problems for those updating their Fedora 20 stack. Also complicating matters is that the AMD Catalyst driver is no longer packaged for RPM Fusion, the third-party Fedora repository where it's possible to find binary blobs.
The RPM Fusion packages for the Catalyst/fglrx driver tended to work well and not cause many headaches for the Catalyst driver. Within the upstream Catalyst driver package from AMD, I'm still technically the "Fedora package maintainer" for the upstream packaging scripts, but I haven't touched them in years -- within the Fedora world, Catalyst support breaks all too often when the Linux kernel and X.Org Server versions are bumped prior to what's currently shipping in Ubuntu, etc. As Stephen wrote, "ever since [Fedora 20], it's so damn hard to run Catalyst."
Of course, Fedora 20 does package the latest open-source Radeon R600/RadeonSI Gallium3D graphics drivers, but the open-source drivers don't work for everyone from those needing OpenGL 4.x support, better performance, bugs within the open-source driver, or other AMD Radeon features only exposed by the Catalyst driver (CrossFire, advanced AA/AF settings, etc). Meanwhile for NVIDIA GeForce users running Fedora, the Nouveau driver is up-to-date and available by default but still the NVIDIA binary drivers tend to run without troubles on the latest Fedora releases due to NVIDIA quickly supporting new Linux kernel versions, xorg-server releases, and the driver being arguably easier to package for different distributions.
Here's the Phoronix reader's thoughts on the matter of Catalyst with Fedora 20:
I also don't know if you've been following the Catalyst driver in Fedora, there being no driver for F20 since the maintainer for RPM Fusion doesn't want to package it anymore.
Fedora 20 users have had no RPM of Catalyst to work with, and installing from the AMD .run file is hit or miss.
One of the bigger problems is that Catalyst, as installed from the .run file, won't work with GNOME 3 due to some kind of Wayland integration.
And now with the 3.14.x kernel, the AMD Catalyst upstream installer (the .run file) won't install at all in Fedora.
I'd happily take the performance hit of running the open Radeon driver on my AMD A4-4300M APU with AMD Radeon HD 7420G graphics, but I can only get working suspend/resume with Catalyst.
Ever since F20, it's so damn hard to run Catalyst (though there's no such problem for Nvidia) that it makes distros that package the proprietary driver (like Debian and Ubuntu) very, very attractive.
Another thing about the lack of Catalyst in RPM Fusion, it's also really hurting Korora, which has a new tool for switching between the open and proprietary drivers -- not much of a tool if there is no packaged proprietary driver for AMD users.
I don't know what the stats are, but I bet there are a lot more AMD users then Nvidia among those running Linux in general.