This embrace of open source is extending to more than just the libraries and tools used by game developers. AMD currently has two Linux driver stacks. There’s an all-open Radeon driver and an all-closed Catalyst driver, with the latter tending to be faster and newer. This is being changed. There will be a common open source base graphics driver for AMD’s GPUs. On this open source base will be two parallel stacks, each containing modules for OpenGL graphics, motion video codecs, and OpenCL GPU computation. The “All Open” stack will contain open source modules for all of these. The “Professional/Gamer” stack will include the open source motion-video module and a closed source OpenGL module. Its final module, OpenCL, will start closed source, but not permanently: this module will support both OpenCL and Vulkan (the high-performance/low-level, vendor-neutral graphics API that somewhat succeeds OpenGL), and it will “evolve” into open source. When this happens, while the high performance OpenGL module will remain closed source, the modern OpenCL/Vulkan module will be open. As this evolution happens, it means that Linux will gain access to a full open source, high-performance driver stack, with the only constraint being that developers must use Vulkan instead of the older OpenGL.

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