No, AMD Will Not Be Opening Up Its Firmware/Microcode
Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 1 September 2016 at 09:45 AM EDT. 191 Comments
RADEON --
This issue comes up every so often by people suggesting it or otherwise inquiring about it... No, AMD has no intentions of open-sourcing its low-level firmware / microcode for their Radeon GPUs.

It's been asked many times over the years, but there are no plans -- nor have there ever been as part of their open-source strategy -- for AMD to "free" their Radeon GPUs down to the firmware-level.

The matter of binary-only hardware microcode was once again brought up this week on the AMD graphics mailing list.

There also aren't any active efforts to reverse-engineer or provide a "free" firmware/BIOS for the Radeon graphics cards. Going back almost a decade was a plan to create a free software video BIOS by the late Oliver McFadden, but that project hadn't moved at all.

AMD's binary-only firmware for graphics hardware isn't unusual. Modern Intel graphics hardware makes use of binary-only firmware blobs too and since Maxwell the open-source Nouveau driver also depends upon binary-only firmware for hardware acceleration support where as previously they were able to provide reverse-engineered free software alternative with earlier generations of GeForce GPUs.
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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 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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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