AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 Now Bundles Open-Source Components, Lets You Mix & Match Drivers
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 12 December 2017. Page 1 of 1. 32 Comments

There's more Radeon Linux excitement today beyond AMD finally open-sourcing their Vulkan driver. Coming out today is the AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 driver that bundles in the open-source RADV and RadeonSI drivers too, in letting you "mix and match" the driver components you want for your system.

AMD is billing "Radeon Software for Linux" as one suite that contains both the open and closed-source software driver stacks. This allows for easily mixing and matching the open and closed-source components depending upon your preferences and workloads.

In theory this is a great idea and it does work out, albeit not particularly intuitive right now and the AMDGPU-PRO driver stack is limited to working on the few supported enterprise Linux distributions rather than being a completely universal Linux driver package. AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 hybrid is supporting Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 (and the compliant EL7 builds like CentOS), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and RHEL6.

Part of what would make it more intuitive is if AMDGPU-PRO offered an installation GUI (or at least a guided process from the CLI for new users in being informed about their different driver options), albeit it's limited to just a shell script and passing command-line arguments to the installer depending upon your desired driver components. If running the amdgpu-install script now without any arguments, unlike before where you would get the closed-source driver stack, it's actually defaulting to shipping the open-source component packages. If you want to use the official/closed-source Vulkan and OpenGL drivers from AMD, you need to pass --pro to the install script. There's also a --opencl= argument where you can specify legacy or rocm, or both, if you want to have installed their older OpenCL driver or the newer ROCm-based OpenCL driver. Also --headless is available if wishing to install the components just for an OpenCL compute stack and will be running this as a system without any graphical display and thus no OpenGL/Vulkan. There aren't any options at this stage if wanting to say match the open-source RadeonSI driver with the official Vulkan driver. There is also a new --online option for installing the driver components from an Internet repository, though it doesn't appear to be immediately relevant for users.

Due to adding in the open-source components too now to this driver package, the AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 driver I have been testing comes in at 548MB in size. The driver bundles in both the open and closed components as well as dependencies like libwayland built for AMDGPU-PRO, GLAMOR, legacy and ROCm OpenCL, LLVM, etc.

When it comes to using the open-source driver stack as found in AMDGPU-PRO 17.50, they are basing it on Mesa 17.2.4. This is better than what is found out-of-the-box on older Ubuntu/RHEL releases, but a bit unfortunate it's not using the brand new Mesa 17.3.0 release or some Git snapshot. Understandably, AMD has to put their driver package through a lot of QA and is going with the vetted Mesa 17.2 point releases. This is great for workstation users but for those wanting to use the RadeonSI open-source OpenGL driver, I'd rather recommend using the Padoka/Oibaf PPAs or similar for getting Mesa 17.3 or rather Git, due to all the ongoing performance improvements, new Mesa features, OpenGL extension work, etc compared to using a Mesa branch from several months back. Especially with new Linux game ports generally recommending the very latest Mesa releases. But with RadeonSI advancing so well this year and now outperforming their closed-source OpenGL driver, it's fascinating to see AMD finally bundle this driver into their AMDGPU-PRO package they endorse for workstation customers.

Overall this is an interesting approach for AMDGPU-PRO moving forward. As a reminder though, AMDGPU-PRO officially remains limited to the enterprise/LTS distributions so if for example you are on Ubuntu 17.10, for now you do not have any AMDGPU-PRO driver support so you can go ahead and use either the stock drivers or whatever PPA / custom built driver packages you have already been using.

I have been testing the AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 driver stack the past few days and do have benchmarks to publish this morning, first just wanted to get the details out on Vulkan open-sourcing and this new mix-and-match driver approach.

AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 for Linux should be available for download at some point today via AMD.com.


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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 10,000 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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.


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