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    [TUTORIAL] How to update Open Source graphic driver in Ubuntu

    Now that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is out and that AMD won't support this release with their Catalyst driver I believe it could be useful to create a little guide on how to keep up to date your open source drivers (also known as Mesa).


    Why I can't install Catalyst drivers in Ubuntu 16.04 and later?

    Because the new version of Ubuntu comes with Xorg 1.18 which isn't supported by the Catalyst driver. AMD is now working on their new (and MUCH better) AMDGPU-PRO/Radeon-Pro hybrid driver and decided to stop supporting Catalyst. Since this Ubuntu version is a Long Term Support release updating Catalyst for 1.18 would have meant another 5 years of forced Catalyst support so I'm actually glad they finally made the jump and let that monstruosity die.

    Ubuntu devs usually do a "feature freeze" a couple of month before the official release. The "feature freeze" is when they decide that the packages they have included on the system are stable and they will be shipped in the final release. This means that your Mesa is actually stuck to the stable version that was out at that time. However AMD, Valve, Collabora and some community members are now putting lots of efforts on the open source driver and are constantly pushing significant optimizations and new features to it, so it could be a nice idea to update your Mesa stack with the development version at some point. (Unless you are on a production system! If you can bear with some occasional bugs or stability issues go ahead, otherwise keep the stable Mesa release that comes with Ubuntu!)


    Padoka or Oibaf?

    That is an interesting question. Padoka and Oibaf are two PPAs that offers the development version of Mesa. The main difference between them is that Padoka offers Mesa compiled against the newer, but currently in development, LLVM while Oibaf uses the stable version. You might ask why this matters to us, after all LLVM is just a compiler! Well some drivers in Mesa use it for shader compilation and the newer LLVM packs in optimizations, functions that enables some of the latest OpenGL extensions and similar things. The downside is that it is a development version. Most of the time you have all the advantages but sometimes it could crash, it could have performance regressions that could last for weeks before they're fixed and so on.

    On the other hand Oibaf uses a stable compiler. You won't get any performance advantage from that portion of the driver but it won't fail you either.

    Also note that both these PPAs only support the latest ubuntu version and the LTS.

    /!\ Unfortunately, starting with the 2016 halloween build, it seems like Unreal Tournament isn't compatible with Pre-GCN hardware running on the open source driver anymore, as you can see here. So, unless something changes on the r600 driver, HD 6000 series cards and older will render the game incorrectly. (Or you can try to stick with an outdated linux distro and use the last catalyst driver from 2015)

    What if I Just Want the Latest Official Release?

    Following the request of Feral Interactive, along with a huge portion of their users, the Ubuntu-X team has now created an 'updates' PPA to get the latest stable mesa version on the newest Ubuntu version and the LTS. It's good to see that Feral's request brought to something and I hope that adding this PPA won't be needed on the near future. Here's how to add it:

    Open the terminal and type:
    Code:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/updates
    Then type:
    Code:
    sudo apt update && sudo apt dist-upgrade
    Follow the instructions at the end of this guide if you want to remove it and revert the changes.


    Where can I Find Them?

    Like most Ubuntu PPAs they are on Launchpad:




    TL;DR - Just The Short Version! Install Instructions

    Choose Padoka for the most bleeding edge development version. Choose Oibaf for the development version but with a stable compiler.

    Here's how to add the Padoka PPA to your system. Open the Terminal and type:
    Code:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:paulo-miguel-dias/mesa
    Give him your admin password and wait until it finishes. Then type:
    Code:
    sudo apt-get update
    And you're done. Now, when Ubuntu notifies you that there are some updates he will update your Mesa driver stack too.

    If you want to add the Oibaf PPA instead just change the first command into:
    Code:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:oibaf/graphics-drivers
    Uninstall and Revert to the Original Drivers

    Again this example is for the Padoka PPA, change the name of the PPA in the second command if you want to purge the Oibaf or the Ubuntu-X one:
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install ppa-purge && sudo ppa-purge ppa:paulo-miguel-dias/mesa
    Useful Links:






    Want to try the AMDGPU-PRO version?
    Last edited by SgtRenny; 02-05-2018, 10:28 AM.
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