The Next AMD Catalyst Linux Driver Is Much More Exciting

Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 26 September 2014 at 10:00 AM EDT. 28 Comments
Yesterday I wrote about an upcoming Catalyst Linux driver offering VCE and HSA support while today are more details on this forthcoming update.

Released yesterday was AMD's first OpenCL 2.0 Catalyst driver but we also learned privately about what's coming next in the pipeline with the fglrx 14.50 update. There's Linux support for the Heterogeneous System Architecture coming in this driver along with VCE video encoding support for GCN GPUs -- to match the open-source RadeonSI Gallium3D driver in its video encoding capabilities.

Some other details to share about this "fglrx 14.50" driver update include:

- The new AMD Catalyst driver is much more stable with the recently released Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on Linux. Frame timings in particular seem to be much better.

- Fglrx 14.40+ adds new "enable FB driver" and "enable LPT support" messages to the Xorg.0.log.

- The fglrx 14.50 release is what goes ahead with the changes I mentioned over the summer about the splitting up of the driver in preparation for a potential world without the X.Org Server (Mir or Wayland support next? Or it could just be for bettering head-less systems wanting compute...). Thus with fglrx 14.50 there's many files changed around and other structures, but it's not yet on the potential new AMD Catalyst + DRM driver model I wrote about a few months ago -- no update on that matter.

- The size of the XvBA (X-Video Bitstream Acceleration) library is increasing. This may be due to UVD5 support for the Radeon R9 285 or one could hope that it's working towards a VA-API/VDPAU front-end (ideally) albeit no confirmation of that yet as the XvBA API itself continues to stagnate in terms of Linux adoption and popularity.

- There's also now a amd-console-helper tool for loading the fglrx kernel module dynamically without needing to reboot the system.

For those wanting to explore the files or willing to install the driver manually (no installer), a German Phoronix reader managed to get his hands on the fglrx 14.50 Linux build and posted it on Google Drive.
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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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