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Thread: Why are open source Radeon drivers worst than the official ones?

  1. #1
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    Why are open source Radeon drivers worst than the official ones?

    Hi.

    I recently had a talk about Ubuntu & Linux with a non-computer-savvy person, and eventually it came to graphical performance. I explained how there are both open and privative source drivers for Ubuntu for most graphical cards and I admitted that the privative ones are superior (read: better performance), at least on my personal case, Radeon cards. Then came a question that I couldn't answer, which I'd like to pose to you.

    Why is it that privative source drivers for graphic cards are better than the open source ones? Is it that the companies don't give the opensource developers enough specifications about their hardware? Or is it lack of knowledge and expertise (in this domain at least) from the devs?

  2. #2
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    Re: Why are open source Radeon drivers worst than the official ones?

    That is a good question! I would figure it is because the privative ones from the company, being closed source as they are, know of the hardware they are dealing with, and the secrets. While the Open-source drivers are not private, and anyone can look at it, even other companies, so you might lose trade secrets if you gave too much information out. (And explains why there is an open source version, and a closed source version). But it could also be, that the Open-source teams that make the drivers, have absolutely no information on the cards and are figuring it out themselves. (It is hard to get any information from a company, much more so for something that is free, or open-source). It would be in the sense then that it is like those people that try and figure out the recipe to Coke-cola. They give the information out of things they are trying, but they are never given information from Coke-cola about it really.
    Proverbs 14:15

    The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

  3. #3
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    Re: Why are open source Radeon drivers worst than the official ones?

    Well actually other than gaming the open source radeon driver is better than fglrx in my experience. Much easier to maintain for start (kernel upgrade may break fglrx though it is not supposed to and installing it is kind of a hit and miss experience comparing to Nvidia).

    For most things other than gaming the open driver is actually faster and smoother, fglrx always has some weird glitches on 3d desktops.

    With a recent enough card and up to date mesa I even get vdpau. For recent kernels I can get dynamic power control so the laptop no longer overheats and the fan no longer blows nonstop(needs to be enabled manually though) Since I only do light gaming and don't care for a few extra fps I will not even bother with fglrx (with a nvidia card I would use the blob over noveau though, as the gap there is much bigger)
    Last edited by monkeybrain20122; April 12th, 2014 at 07:52 PM.

  4. #4
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    Re: Why are open source Radeon drivers worst than the official ones?

    Quote Originally Posted by monkeybrain20122 View Post
    For recent kernels I can get dynamic power control so the laptop no longer overheats and the fan no longer blows nonstop(needs to be enabled manually though) Since I only do light gaming and don't care for a few extra fps I will not even bother with fglrx (with a nvidia card I would use the blob over noveau though, as the gap there is much bigger)
    If I could figure out how to get this AMD 6800 to tone down it's constant fan use, I'd be in paradise.

  5. #5
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    Re: Why are open source Radeon drivers worst than the official ones?

    AMD's have always tended to run much hotter then intels (which is why in more recent years, i now only buy computers with intel chips)...however, i have read that there have been huge improvements for the open source amd drivers in ubuntu in the kernel that ubuntu 14.04 uses, so when it's released next week, i suggest you give that a go and perhaps you may find your computer running a lot cooler with the fan coming on less often...

    If you do, make sure you use the open source driver and not the fglrx one...that's the one the will likely show improvements for you...
    Last edited by craig10x; April 13th, 2014 at 06:35 PM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Why are open source Radeon drivers worst than the official ones?

    Quote Originally Posted by monkeybrain20122 View Post
    Well actually other than gaming the open source radeon driver is better than fglrx in my experience.
    So if you expect performance from your hardware you are kinda screwed when it comes to ati/amd. Even though I reckon amd provides better gpu vs price at the moment I will not buy one simply due to the driver support in linux. If I was a windows only user I would be buying ati/amd right now. Unfortunately I have to stick to nvidia because their closed drivers perform well in linux.

    Open source drivers will always face an uphill battle due to the full hardware specifications not being available. Hopefully both amd & nvidia become more open, I would love to see mantle for example in linux to counter DX12, amd should simply opensource it to get more market share. their chips can be found in most consoles these days and if they can extend that to the desktop with opensource stuff (think valve steambox etc) it would be great.

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    Re: Why are open source Radeon drivers worst than the official ones?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnawnsense View Post
    If I could figure out how to get this AMD 6800 to tone down it's constant fan use, I'd be in paradise.
    Did you give this a shot:
    http://www.webupd8.org/2014/01/how-t...mic-power.html
    bhatta

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  8. #8
    d-cosner is offline Gee! These Aren't Roasted!
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    Re: Why are open source Radeon drivers worst than the official ones?

    RadicX, I like what you wrote, it makes a lot of sense! The used laptop I got last week has an AMD A1 processor with ATI/AMD on-board graphics. I have noticed that with 14.04 the laptop never really gets hot. I am using the open source drivers and they work just fine for me. I am not a gamer and I do not often do anything very demanding with the laptop though.

    I figure too by sticking with the open source drivers I can most likely avoid any problems with system updates. I had tried using proprietary drivers on the last laptop I had but the open source drivers seemed to give me a lot less trouble. My former laptop was running Ubuntu 12.04 x64 and ran pretty hot.

    14.04 seems to have much better hardware support and a lot more fine tuning.

  9. #9
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    Re: Why are open source Radeon drivers worst than the official ones?

    Quote Originally Posted by bhattabhishek View Post
    Thanks so much for sharing.

    Gave it a go, but doesn't seem to of made a difference with my particular setup.

  10. #10
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    Re: Why are open source Radeon drivers worst than the official ones?

    Quote Originally Posted by mips View Post
    amd should simply opensource it to get more market share. their chips can be found in most consoles these days and if they can extend that to the desktop with opensource stuff (think valve steambox etc) it would be great.
    I'd love to see this as well, but it may never happen unfortunately because a good part of the Catalyst code is based upon Microsoft's DirectX API, so if they open-source it, they could risk being sued by M$ for publishing without permission important code of the 3D architecture which happens to be closed source (obviously).

    What I personally see with much much promise is this possible new strategy from AMD to make the kernel module development more open.

    Since I don't play heavy duty OpenGL game titles on my Linux machine, the open source driver is more than enough for my AMD Richland APU. The latest mesa code has wonderful gains in performance so Catalyst no more!, just open source goodness .

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