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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Fri, 21 Feb 2014

Back to AMD Catalyst in Fedora 20 for the suspend/resume

As much as the open-source Radeon driver has improved in the 3.12 and 3.13 Linux kernels in Fedora 20 -- and that improvement has been significant, I returned to the proprietary AMD Catalyst driver for one reason.

Suspend/resume.

While everything else is working better in the Radeon driver, solving pretty much all of the problems I had with it in the 3.11-and-earlier days, the one thing it won't do with the 3.13 Linux kernel in Fedora 20 is allow the laptop to properly wake after it has been put to sleep. (The hardware is an HP Pavilion g6-2210us with the AMD A4-4300M APU, which includes AMD Radeon HD 7420G graphics.)

It makes me sad in a way. Radeon has come so far. And so fast. With Radeon DPM (invoked with a kernel boot parameter in 3.12 and by default in 3.13), 3D hardware acceleration works and CPU temperatures are pretty much the same as under Catalyst.

But the convenience of being able to shut the laptop lid to put the machine to sleep, then open it and have it wake up -- it's just too much to give up. I can't help it. It's a feature that's important to me.

So today I grabbed the 14.1 beta beta of AMD Catalyst to install on my Fedora machine that's running the 3.13.3-201 Linux kernel. I used AMD's .run installer. I already have all the required dependencies from the last time I ran Catalyst, which was about a week ago.

I'll say it again for the record: Not having a packaged Catalyst/fglrx proprietary driver in RPM Fusion for Fedora 20 is a major inconvenience. Installing from AMD's .run file is barbaric because it doesn't account for dependencies and doesn't even tell you what you're missing. I had to pick up that information from various forums.

Catalyst disappeared from RPM Fusion because the developer handling the package didn't want to do it anymore. I can respect that decision, but I'm baffled that nobody else in the Fedora developer community has picked up the package. Nobody has a newish AMD-running laptop?

Of course the proprietary Nvidia driver is in RPM Fusion's F20 archive, so it's only AMD users who are getting screwed.

Yes, Radeon is better than ever. But my version of freedom means a choice between the free and non-free drivers, not a lack of choice because only one of the two is packaged for Fedora.

When working suspend/resume comes to the Radeon driver for my AMD chip, I'll forget this ever happened. But for now I'm putting features over freedom and saving myself from about 20 reboots a week.