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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Thu, 19 Sep 2013

AMD releases Catalyst 13.9 video driver for Linux -- or does it?

Warning: The AMD Catalyst 13.9 Linux video driver was on the site this morning but has disappeared since then. As of 4 p.m. Pacific time on Sept. 19, 2013, it has not yet reappeared. AMD, it's your move.

Before the driver disappeared, here is what I wrote:

Now that the 3.11 version of the Linux kernel is available on my Fedora 19 system, AMD has released a new version of its closed-source, stable driver, version 13.9, that brings support to ... the 3.10 kernel.

Not that I haven't been running the 13.6 (suspend/resume worked) and 13.8 betas (suspend/resume didn't work in 13.8 beta 1, not sure about beta 2), because I have.

You can download the new driver here, though I recommend NEVER installing from what AMD provides and always, ALWAYS using a version packaged for your distribution, which for Fedora means the packages provided by RPM Fusion.

Running Fedora and needing AMD Catalyst for working 3D graphics means willfully ignoring new kernels that aren't yet supported and accompanied by a new kmod-catalyst package. That's what I'm doing with the new 3.11.1 kernel that moved into Fedora 19 today. I won't install a 3.11 kernel until there's a corresponding kmod-catalyst package from RPM Fusion to go with it. And given that this new 13.9 release of AMD Catalyst only supports the 3.10 kernel and isn't yet in the RPM Fusion repository (which, given the fact that it was just released, I totally understand), I'll wait for the next kmod-catalyst to roll onto my machine and once again test suspend-resume. If it works (like it did during the brief 13.6 beta window), I'll be of a mind to stick with the 3.10 kernel for a good long while.

But if suspend-resume doesn't work with the combination of Linux kernel 3.10.x and Catalyst 13.9, it'll be back on the beta train until AMD decides to better-support the GPUs it makes, including my AMD Radeon HD 7420g.

Potential problem: I just checked the AMD page, and the new driver is (hopefully temporarily) gone.

Thu, 29 Aug 2013

Watching for new AMD Linux video drivers -- open and closed

I'm watching for new AMD video drivers for Linux, both the open-source driver that ships with most Linux distributions and the closed-source Catalyst driver from AMD that you can install with between a little and a lot of difficulty (and potential heartache).

Since I'm running Fedora, mainly because its developers are very pro-active in pushing new code, here's where I'm looking in the Koji Build System for the latest xorg-x11-drv-ati:


Right now there's a version 7.1.0-5 in Fedora 19, and a 7.2.0-0 built for the in-the-future Fedora 21.

It might be better to follow the driver upstream:


As far as the closed Catalyst driver, keep an eye on this AMD page:


The stable driver remains version 13.4, released on May 29, 2013. The current 13.8 beta, released on Aug. 19, 2013, works well enough on my system but doesn't support successful suspend/resume, though the previous beta version 13.6 did. I'm hoping for better suspend/resume results in the next release.

What I'm really hoping for is a open-source driver that supports both 3D acceleration and suspend/resume. Maybe it'll happen at some point in the future. That it hasn't happened yet is what is making me rethink AMD in favor of Intel graphics.

(My AMD APU's GPU is part of the Trinity series and is categorized as such in Wikipedia.)

Sun, 18 Aug 2013

AMD Catalyst 13.8 beta driver for Linux working again in my Fedora 19 system, but suspend/resume isn't

Possibly (and in all likelihood probably) because of an error in the RPM Fusion package, when the 13.8 beta of the AMD Catalyst video driver for Linux replaced version 13.6 beta on my Fedora 19 system, it pretty much broke video and led me to remove kmod-catalyst and its associates and go back to the open Radeon driver.

X was dying when I ran most apps. That's bad.

So I waited for an updated Catalyst driver from RPM Fusion, and one finally arrived.

I installed the new 13.8 beta via the RPM Fusion package, and while video does work again, suspend/resume does not. This all worked on my AMD Radeon HD 7420g video chip in the 13.6 beta.

At least I have 3D acceleration back. Here's hoping for the return of working suspend/resume in the next Catalyst-for-Linux release from AMD. Better than that would be working 3D and suspend/resume from the free-software driver that ships with Fedora (and every damn other version of Linux).

But a working proprietary driver is better than nothing, so I'll take it.