A Look Back: When Everyone Had Problems With ATI/AMD On Linux

Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 8 October 2014 at 04:00 PM EDT. 20 Comments
If you go back more than seven years ago, lots of people took easy aim at the state of ATI/AMD's Linux graphics drivers. Back then, they didn't even have an open-source strategy... How times have changed.

It was seven years ago from last month that AMD's original open-source GPU driver strategy got started and it was also when they overhauled their Catalyst/fglrx Linux driver that made it much better than where it was in pre-2007 stages. Phoronix exclusives covered all of those details back in the day and today we're now talking about their latest coming of open-source drivers.

AMD's second coming of open-source support was covered this morning during Alex Deucher's XDC2014 Bordeaux presentation how they are unifying their Linux drivers and forming a new "AMDGPU" kernel driver for all future AMD graphics processors.

With AMD's first wave of open-source support was also the launch of the RadeonHD driver project that ended up being short-lived and was initially developed by SUSE in cooperation with AMD. For those curious what started AMD's initial open-source driver support back in the day, you can read SUSE's original proposal to AMD within This Is What Started AMD's Open-Source Strategy.

Anyhow, for those that weren't Linux users in 2007 and prior, here's some remarks made about the state of AMD on Linux back in the day:

- Dell Wants Better ATI Linux Drivers (July 2007)

- Chris DiBona thought closed-source Linux GPUs would collapse if one of the major GPU vendors open-sourced their driver and specs. Well, AMD did it, but his prediction was wrong in that NVIDIA didn't follow suit. His comments were made back in 2007 and in early 2008 was hoping NVIDIA would follow suit after AMD's initial announcement. To this day NVIDIA has just provided limited support to Nouveau on the desktop side though for their Tegra SoCs are becoming more open.

- Mark Shuttleworth had a lot to say to Phoronix after the original ATI/AMD open-source announcement.

- Almost immediately after the September 2007 announcement, open-source developers became more optimistic... Open-Source Developers Speak Out About AMD.

What do you think about AMD's latest open-source play today? What's been your best and worst ATI/AMD Linux memories? Let us know by commenting in the forums. If there's any other classic AMD Linux posts from Phoronix or elsewhere from pre-2007 that are your favorite, be sure to post that as well, those above comments were just the ones that had immediately came to mind when writing this article.
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About The Author
Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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