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AMD: Five Years Of Open-Source Linux Graphics

AMD

Published on 06 September 2012 07:30 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD
7 Comments

It was five years ago today that AMD's open-source strategy for Linux graphics driver support was publicly unveiled.

On 6 September 2007, one day after unveiling their new Catalyst/fglrx Linux driver, is when AMD lifted my embargo that allowed me to exclusively explain their open-source strategy in detail.

The first documentation and driver code (for RadeonHD) didn't come that day as the Novell/SUSE developers were still under NDA at the time and busy churning out code, but Egbert Eich, Luc Verhaegen, Stefan Dirsch, and Matthias Hopf (the original xf86-video-radeonhd developers) ended up celebrating on this day from Nürnberg anyhow once the article was published.

It was then on 17 September 2007 is when the RadeonHD open-source driver was released.

For some reference to how this AMD open-source strategy began, read This Is What Started AMD's Open-Source Strategy -- the letter that I made public last year that revealed the early details when the aforementioned SUSE developers volleyed a letter to AMD about doing an open-source driver with open documentation.

AMD still not have the best open-source support available with it still taking months for new hardware enablement for major product launches (i.e. the still-lacking Radeon HD 7000 series), power management still leaves a lot to be desired, the overall performance isn't good, there is still no UVD video support, some features are still lacking (e.g. CrossFire), and not all are satisfied with the amount of documentation that AMD has ultimately released. However, with an open-source AMD we're certainly much better off now than we were five years ago.

As usual with celebrating this anniversary, the celebrating will continue in two weeks time from XDC2012 Nürnberg. Prost!

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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