Ubuntu dropping support for AMD Catalyst binary driver

Ubuntu is deprecating the proprietary AMD Catalyst (fglrx) driver in its next Long Term Support release, Ubuntu 16.04, according to an early mention in the release notes.

Instead of the binary driver, Ubuntu recommended that users install its open-source alternatives, radeon and amdgpu.

“AMD put a lot of work into the drivers, and we backported kernel code from Linux 4.5 to provide a better experience,” said Ubuntu.

Phoronix reported that this will cause a regression in features and performance, which may affect users.

The open-source Radeon Linux graphics stack only supports OpenGL 4.1 rather than OpenGL 4.5, and the open-source OpenCL compute stack isn’t up to scratch yet.

Other limitations in the existing open-source AMD drivers may also contribute to performance regression, said Phoronix.

Users can download AMD’s binary driver from its website and install it on Ubuntu 16.04, but it won’t be officially supported.

Ubuntu said upgrading to Ubuntu 16.04 will result in the fglrx driver and the xorg.conf being removed.

The system is then set to use the amdgpu or radeon driver, depending on the hardware.

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Ubuntu dropping support for AMD Catalyst binary driver