There's One Big Feature Left For The Radeon Linux Driver Left To Tackle In 2018
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 29 December 2017 at 10:49 AM EST. 40 Comments
AMD --
AMD/Radeon had a stellar 2017 for Linux most notably with delivering working Radeon RX Vega open-source driver support at launch, AMDGPU DC finally being merged to the mainline Linux kernel, and the official "AMDVLK" Vulkan driver now being open-source. Besides never-ending performance tuning, there's really just one major feature/area where the Radeon Linux graphics driver support is missing.

AMD managed to deliver two of My Three Hopes For AMD's Open-Source Stack The Rest Of 2017... They got DC merged and their Vulkan driver is now open. With features like FreeSync getting squared away and other minor work items, one of the last remaining big ticket items is getting Radeon Software Settings to Linux, basically their driver settings GUI.

Depending upon your use-cases this may or may not be needed for you, but there are many Radeon Linux gamers that would prefer a full-featured GUI configuration utility, its likely what Windows gamers transitioning to Linux would expect rather than learning command-line controls, and it's not as big of a hurdle as merging DC or the like. AMD previously offered a GUI driver panel (back then, known as the AMD Control Center Linux Edition) during the fglrx days that then disappeared during the transition to AMDGPU-PRO and AMDCCCLE was never supported for the open-source drivers.


The former AMDCCCLE.


For the open-source AMD Linux driver has been a few different utilities over time from Radeon-Profile to the generic DriConf to a few other half-useful GUI tools and the desktop-specific monitor configuration modules but no single solution that offers tuning the full capabilities of the Radeon drivers, nothing officially supported by AMD, and not anything close to the quality of AMDCCCLE / Radeon Software Settings. Also nothing that comes close to the features and information provided by the NVIDIA Settings panel for Linux.


2016 version of Radeon Software Settings.


It's been about two years since talking with AMD about having "Radeon Software Settings" for Linux. Back then they said they were investigating the possibility of open-sourcing their GUI control panel, which at the time had recently been rewritten in Qt5. They were optimistic about open-sourcing it in the future and in the mean time were working on exposing more of the driver's tunables and monitor-able information via kernel ioctls and other interfaces. Much of that information is now exposed nicely to user-space, but no Radeon Software Settings yet. During the past round of media briefings I inquired about any Linux update on the matter, but unfortunately those questions went unanswered.

I remain optimistic we could see something on this front in 2018 now that the more pressing issues like AMDGPU DC and AMDVLK availability have been addressed, but no official signs yet. Feel free to express your thoughts in the forums if you would like to see "Radeon Software Settings" made available for Linux.
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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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