Ubuntu 16.04 Deprecates AMD fglrx Driver Support

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 9, 2016 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: ubuntu, graphics drivers, graphics driver, amd

AMD has been transitioning their kernel driver from the closed-source fglrx to the open-source AMDGPU driver that was announced last year. This forms the base that both closed and open user-mode drivers will utilize. For the upcoming Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Canonical has decided to deprecate fglrx and remove it from the system upon upgrade. Users can then choose to install an AMDGPU-based one, or reinstall the Radeon driver. That will need to be done without Canonical's support, though.

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It makes sense that they would choose Ubuntu 16.04 to pull the plug. This is the version that Canonical will be maintaining for the next five years, which could give a headache when AMD has spent the last year trying to get rid of it. AMDGPU is a much safer target as the years roll forward. On the other hand, GPUs prior to Fiji will not have the luxury of choosing, because AMD still hasn't announced AMDGPU for GDC (Update March 9th @ 6pm: Fixed typo) GCN 1.0 and 1.1.

Source: Ubuntu

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March 9, 2016 | 04:44 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Did you mean GCN instead of GDC?

March 9, 2016 | 06:03 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Blah. Yes.

March 9, 2016 | 07:44 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Scott please test if the AMDGPU drivers work with Blender 3D, GIMP, Krita, Inkscape, etc. So this AMDGPU driver support is only for GCN 1.2(Third generation GCN)?

There really needs to be an AMD timeline of expected GCN(All versions of GCN) AMDGPU driver support for the various versions of GCN GPU hardware from AMD, and that includes any Steam OS based OEM Steam Machines that may be available with AMD CPUs and GPUs. I'd like to know if there have been any Zen/polaris Steam Machine OEM design wins.

There should be at lest some OEMs with Zen/Polaris engineering samples by now in advance of Zen's and the Polaris release dates. I'm looking at maybe building a low cost Blender rendering PC and maybe using the Fury Nano as the cost of the Nano is starting to go down in advance of Polaris coming to market. So what AM4 based AMD CPU SKUs will be available before Zen's release so I can have some future proofing on my rendering/gaming system?

March 10, 2016 | 03:14 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

There wont be any mainstream AMD GPU-based Steam Machines. Reasons for that are understandable. Lack of working drivers. All the important Linux friendly games state in their requirements that AMD-cards are not supported. Actually, Phoronix tested the new AMDGPU while back and it performed very badly. If you want good Linux support go NVIDIA.

March 10, 2016 | 03:56 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I'll wait and see what the Open Source community will do with AMDGPU, with all/most of the AMDGPU driver (except currently AMD's Vulkan API code) being open source. Phoronix has an article on an AMD ARM(Reference core A57) based Opteron 4 core development SKU with a PCIe X16 slot for developers to test with GPUs! So I'll be waiting for those results also.

I'm looking for a Linux based rendering machine so maybe in the future I'll even be looking at AMD's ARM based Opterions if the price is right, and I'll be really interested in seeing what Keller’s team did for AMD's custom K12, as I have been reading that the K12 may be an even wider order superscalar design than even Zen, what with the ARMv8A ISA taking much less transistors to implement, so maybe AMD's K12 will offer more than 2(SMT) processor threads per core!

IBM's RISC based power8 cores can support 8 processor threads per core, so maybe an AMD custom ARMv8a ISA running K12 core can support plenty of processor threads like the RISC ISA based Power8 processor. That Development board mentioned by Phoronix is probably going to be benchmarked as soon as Phoronix can get a board to put through some benchmarking. Valve/Debian should be working towards getting all that is needed for AMD/Steam OS support going forward to help Valve compete on the price/performance metric with the Consoles that are not as versatile as any Steam Machine! Nvidia's GPUs are too costly, and I'll never have windows 10 on my hardware.

March 9, 2016 | 07:29 PM - Posted by sensacion7

I'm glad to see you guys at PcPer contribute with open source news articles.

Thanks !

March 9, 2016 | 07:56 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

As a reluctant Windows user, I also like the Linux/open source coverage on Pcper

March 9, 2016 | 09:36 PM - Posted by Anonymous2 (not verified)

Glad I got rid of my Radeon HD 7850 and traded up for an NVIDIA. I waited forever for AMD to release decent Linux drivers and it never happened.

When official word came out that AMDGPU would not be supporting older GCN cards I switched sides. AMDGPU is a great concept but AMD has little credibility to me now. I won't buy another AMD card unless its released with working drivers out of the box because they don't commit to their products.

16.04 will kill off the majority of AMD cards. Nvidia is the only way to go at the moment for Linux gaming. Maybe AMDGPU will be something special by the time 18.04 is released if they are still around.

March 13, 2016 | 12:15 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I don't know where you got your information from, but it's wrong. Older GCN will in fact be supported, sea islands (second-gen GCN) is already there as experimental, and they're currently in the process of adding southern islands (first-gen GCN).

So you basically "switched sides" on the basis of hearsay.

March 10, 2016 | 04:55 AM - Posted by prtskg (not verified)

GCN's 2nd version aka GCN2 or GCN1.1 is supported by amdgpu but not by default. You have to do enable it on your own for the moment. I expect it'll have default support once catalyst isn't default. And GCN1 is already being worked upon for support on amdgpu, thanks to it being open.

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