The AMDGPU-PRO 18.20 preview driver for Ubuntu 18.04 will now not compile against the current kernel. This was always an issue in the past with just about any proprietary driver (other vendors included). I switched from Nvidia wholly because I was happy to see AMDs approach to the open-source community. I trusted that this support would continue and that it would result in improvements to my working environment. Currently this decision is questionable. Having said this please allow me to thank you for your work so far and I respectfully look to the future for further improvements.
As a blender artist I would like to get access to the OpenCL features. For this GCN architecture 2.0 or above is required. I use Radeon R7 260X/360, which does work with OpenCL as I have used this in the past with Ubuntu 16.04 and of course under Microsoft Windows. I am a under invested, struggling freelancer. I can not simply throw huge amounts of money at the latest and greatest GPU or CPU. I am forced to survive with what I have and careful spending on key elements of my system. Yet currently I am required to have a multi-boot system in order to have an sense of predictability with my daily work environment. This is 'clunky' and time consuming.
My questions to AMD (and others if appropriate) is straight forward, please understand, I don't expect miracles, but I need to develop a plan for how I organise my environment:
In the final release of AMDGPU-PRO support for this card (when it arrives?), will it have the OpenCL support as required for Blender?
1. Can you tell me and the rest of the community which kernel was used when developing this pre-release code (in order to help people compile against it currently)?
2. Can AMD suggest what will be any future upgrade process, (kernel changes included), if this closed source driver is used?
[Can we all expect to re-compile every time the kernel changes? I think all would agree that kernels, do have a habit of changing regularly, under Ubuntu they are installed with little warning of the significance as a part of the often daily system update process. This often kills graphics support and results in a failed boot process and the need to de-install the AMD driver from a limited command interface. Although this can be dealt with, it can be frustrating and every time, tends to leave the user 'crossing fingers' that the system will come up again after driver removal. Even after this there is still no guarantee that the PRO driver will then re-compile against any new kernel.]
3. Is it possible to explain in relatively simple terms, what is so critical inside the kernel that causes this on-going dependency. Is there no method for overcoming these dependencies?
4. Finally is it possible to make the OpenCL components available to the community to help them to be integrated into the open-source AMD driver code, which is regularly updated and always compiles correctly against the latest kernel. Such as those available from Oibaf (https://launchpad.net/~oibaf/+archive/ubuntu/graphics-drivers)?
[This way the community is not so dependent on AMD].
Personally I am not trying to run games at high performance, I accept the limitations of my system, and I can live with a few glitches BUT, I am simply trying to take advantage of the 1 key reason that I invested in an AMD chip set. Accelerated Rendering for my 3D-modelling work. Will I always be facing these regular problems with AMD if I remain inside an open-source OS?
I hope you agree, that although we may represent a smaller proportion of your customer base, as FOSSers, we often influence other people's choice in hardware selection and some of us can get very vocal about our problems. Google searches, sure as eggs, start looking concerning when we have problems. Rumour has it that AMD are good people and OPEN minded towards the community. Is this still true?
In anticipation of a least a few suggestions and hints.
With respect and all the best wishes.