LAS F22 review - summary

Enrico Tagliavini enrico.tagliavini at
Wed Jun 10 07:57:32 UTC 2015

It is I'm afraid :(. FYI the kernel is the smaller problem with fglrx.
There fglrx compatibility layer kernel module is actually open source.
In gentoo I was trying my best to patch it to get it working with the
latest kernel. It is quite a painful and fragile process though. What
you cannot patch is the DDX driver (so the Xorg connected part), there
is no compatibility layer provided there. This is where other
traditional (as non rolling) distributions have life easier than
Fedora: they usually don't ship with the latest version of Xorg, and
they don't update it within the same release.

If you look at AMD website [1] you can read they support xorg-server
up to version 1.16. Xorg 1.17 was released on February 4th, 4 months
ago. Ubuntu 15.04 has a pre-alpha version of fglrx supporting 1.17
(keep in mind AMD and Canonical have an agreement for this, all other
distros do not have this privilege, still they managed to get blamed
for late Xorg updates [3]). Usually it takes many months to get
official support. Rolling distribution with up to date components such
as Arch Linux share the same problem as Fedora [4]. As you can see a
user is volunteering to maintain a backport repository with older
version of Xorg just for the use with the AMD proprietary driver.

For the sake of comparison Nvidia added support for Xorg 1.17 on
December 8th 2014, two full months before Xorg 1.17 release.

Sorry for the off topic. I think this information is worth to share,
help users a lot avoiding unexpected pain.


On 9 June 2015 at 21:43, Steven Rosenberg <stevenhrosenberg at> wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 9, 2015 at 3:04 AM, Enrico Tagliavini
> <enrico.tagliavini at> wrote:
>> Hi Steven,
>> as I said already I was the person doing the fglrx package for gentoo
>> for a couple of years (and I stepped up because radeon was not good
>> enough for my card), so I know the pain. And I can tell you this is
>> 100% AMD fault. Long story short their main targets are enterprise
>> distributions like Red Hat and SLES. They try to get Ubuntu as well
>> but at the end of the day they have to ship a very pre release driver
>> just for Ubuntu to get it working. They don't care about upstream
>> Linux kernel and Xorg support and they don't care about Fedora.
>> This is the reason I stepped down from the fglrx package maintainer in
>> gentoo. It is not that Fedora people has no love for fglrx, it is
>> simply that fglrx doesn't work with up to date components. *It cannot
>> start at all*. Don't call Fedora contributors or rpmfusion devs hater
>> on Catalyst, they are not! It is the opposite: AMD has no love for
>> Fedora and upstream Linux and Xorg. It is 100% AMD fault.
>> You can see a very different behaviour in the two main competitors:
>> Intel has a serious open source driver solution, Nvidia is promptly
>> supporting new upstream releases.
>> Crippling Fedora by shipping *unsupported* kernel releases (normal
>> kernel releases are supported for a very short time) or outdated Xorg
>> packages would be a great damage to the Fedora project. As much as
>> free software and open source packages should meet a quality standard
>> in Fedora (for example see why Chromium is not available), so must
>> proprietary stuff if that has to be included (via rpmfusion if this is
>> the preferred way). Fglrx, as it is today, is not going to meet the
>> requirements. Maybe the new version based on AMDGPU has a chance....
>> only time will tell.
>> If you want to use AMD hardware you have to use an OS supported by
>> them. Fedora is not one and this has to change AMD side first, then a
>> package in rpmfusion would appear in no time I'm sure.
>> The text you quoted from me was not to ask for inclusion of every
>> proprietary driver, especially at the expense of the main project
>> goal. But of course software alone doesn't make a computer, if you
>> have a component better supported by proprietary drivers where the
>> open source one is missing or falling short (your point about your
>> laptop aging out is very valid, and very frustrating process) I think
>> the proprietary option should be available with a reasonably low
>> effort for a normal user (not an advanced user). So my point was not
>> to add more proprietary drivers into rpmfusion (well not necessarily),
>> but to make it a little bit easier for the end user.
> Thanks for the clarification. I know how hard it is for the end user to keep
> fglrx/Catalyst working, and that is often with the help of a packager.
> I don't know how Debian and Ubuntu manage to keep fglrx in their distros,
> but I imagine it's because they keep the same kernel version throughout the
> release, whereas Fedora is continually changing kernels during that time.
> Now that my laptop is two years old, it runs great with Radeon, and I no
> longer have to worry about upgrading the kernel and breaking fglrx. So I'm
> happy.
> But the newest hardware often needs the newest kernels -- a great reason to
> run Fedora. Unfortunately Radeon doesn't always support the latest AMD
> chips, and that's where fglrx comes in.
> I guess the takeaway is, "Buy AMD at your own risk."
> --
> Steven Rosenberg
> stevenhrosenberg at
> steven at
> --
> desktop mailing list
> desktop at

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