New AMDGPU Details & Looking Forward To Major Radeon Linux Improvements In 2016

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 9 January 2016. Page 2 of 2. 111 Comments

The $550 USD purchase of the R9 Fury should finally become more useful under Linux with these driver improvements.

Here's more stuff, mostly from the compute side:

- They have ramped up the engineers working on the AMDGPU LLVM back-end and will be using it for all-things compute.

- When it comes to compute, they were talking up their new CUDA source translator as well as their new LLVM-based compute compiler. Both of those sound great and should be exciting to play with on Linux.

- On the topic of compute, I asked about the state of open-source OpenCL with it still being OpenCL 1.1 era with Clover Gallium3D, not as good as the proprietary drivers supporting OpenCL, etc. They'll continue to advance their OpenCL stack but didn't have anything to talk about with any announcements for suddenly getting their OpenCL stack into the best shape possible.

Our original exclusive on this whole matter in 2014: AMD Is Exploring A Very Interesting, More-Open Linux Driver Strategy

Overall, the Radeon Linux space is looking bright for 2016 if they can deliver on their promises. Focusing more on their open-source driver stack by means of having one unified kernel driver, investing heavily in their LLVM back-end, their new Clang-based compiler, and being ready with Vulkan support are among the many reasons for Radeon Linux users to be excited for the year. For Linux gamers, it sounds like they may finally have a suitable strategy moving forward with more timely updates to their OpenGL component and working hardware on ensuring a good AMD Linux gaming experience.

Of course, in covering the Linux graphics space for the past 12 years, this is far from the first time I've heard from ATI/AMD about major improvements planned -- and in the past, many of them haven't lived up to expectations. However, this is the first conversation where in looking at the year ahead they have mentioned "open-source" so many times and all of the pieces are finally coming together with the AMDGPU kernel driver as I've been writing about and already testing for months. This year is looking mighty interesting in the Linux space.

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Update: if you are a newer Linux user and confused by some of this terminology or just want to learn more, be sure to read the just-published Reminiscing Over The Early Days Of The Open-Source AMD Linux Strategy.

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Michael Larabel

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