AMD launches GPUOpen, but some Linux users remain skeptical

Also in today's open source roundup: Firefox 44.0 has been released, and Tails 2.0 is now available

AMD launches GPUOpen, but some Linux users remain skeptical
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AMD launches GPUOpen

AMD has decided to embrace open source in a big way. The company has launched its GPUOpen site, which is geared toward helping developers provide the best experiences for users on consoles and PCs. GPUOpen will help developers get the most out of the GPU with open source resources and tools.

Nicolas Thibieroz reports for the GPUOpen site:

GPUOpen is composed of two areas: Games & CGI for game graphics and content creation (which is the area I am involved with), and Professional Compute for high-performance GPU computing in professional applications.

GPUOpen is based on three principles:

The first is to provide code and documentation allowing PC developers to exert more control on the GPU. Current and upcoming GCN architectures (such as Polaris) include many features not exposed today in PC graphics APIs, and GPUOpen aims to empower developers with ways to leverage some of those features. In addition to generating quality or performance advantages such access will also enable easier porting from current-generation consoles (XBox One™ and PlayStation 4) to the PC platform.

The second is a commitment to open source software. The game and graphics development community is an active hub of enthusiastic individuals who believe in the value of sharing knowledge. Full and flexible access to the source of tools, libraries and effects is a key pillar of the GPUOpen philosophy. Only through open source access are developers able to modify, optimize, fix, port and learn from software. The goal? Encouraging innovation and the development of amazing graphics techniques and optimizations in PC games.

The third is a collaborative engagement with the developer community. GPUOpen software is hosted on public source code repositories such as GitHub as a way to enable sharing and collaboration. Engineers from different functions will also regularly write blog posts about various GPU-related topics, game technologies or industry news.

More at GPUOpen

AMD's GPUOpen initiative caught the attention of Linux redditors and they shared their thoughts about it. Some redditors remained quite skeptical that AMD's efforts would actually amount to something significant:

Minimim: "Let's hope there's something useful in there for radeon developers. Also, this will be useful for Mesa, which will be able to optimize for AMD cards."

ElDubiousMung: "The amount of negativity in this thread and on other subs in reaction to this news is mind-boggling to me. How can this be anything but good? When has open-sourcing anything ever not been a good thing? Can't we just accept that something nice happened here? "

Corneater: "It's hard because AMD had been releasing very exciting press releases about Linux/open graphics for a few years and usually just seems to not produce much other than the original PowerPoint presentation."

Jumpingfornothing: "Because a lot of us have been burned by AMD's past empty promises of better drivers for both Linux and Windows. This has been going on for years. Years ago I too got caught up in this marketing excitement and bought a 5750 GPU from them and it was terrible and problematic on Linux and only slightly better on Windows. So you'll have to excuse the lot of us for being skeptical of AMD. They seem to be far better at releasing marketing stuff and not putting that money into the employees and research and development to actually make their products better. So until they actually show useful and competitive results with their products, I buy Nvidia GPU's for Linux gaming. "

Calcprogrammer: "AMD, along with the Mesa project, made some pretty major improvements to their open source GPU stack over the past few years. UVD and VCE video decode/encode support, dynamic power management, DRI PRIME for discrete GPU laptops, performance improvements with LLVM, etc. Then they wrote an entire new kernel module AMDGPU. People think they'll change overnight but open source has always been a fairly slow ecosystem. I'd rather them take their time and do the right thing over rushing out untrustworthy binaries and making cheap hacks to get performance like nVidia does."

Insolentinstance: "Will be buying an AMD card next time I'm in the market because of their support for the open-source community."

Holyrofler: "I wouldn't be so quick to pull the trigger. You might want to wait until this has some time to get feedback. Until I see the results, I'm quite skeptical that this is anything more than hype."

Oflameo: "I just bought an AMD card because of their support for the open-source community, Nvidia doesn't, and the Intel HD 4000 is too weak to run Spring RTS well."

Angrydata: "I'm glad I bought AMD for my latest card. AMD wins out on everything over 1080p, has more memory and memory bandwidth, higher floating point performance, higher shading units, ect.

Nvidia wins out on power efficiency (only a small margin when under heavy load) and has slightly fast base clock speed.

The only way I would go for nvidia over amd right now is if I wanted to buy a $1000 card and I never went over 1080p."

Allday: "With all the talk of "promises" that AMD made people should realize that a company saying they will work on or release something is not a promise to do so."

More at Reddit

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