Rule #1 is in danger!

Rule #1 in open source is not to break the work of others. Rule #2 in open source driver/kernel development, is not to break userspace (aka the applications).

It is acceptible that there are bugs and regressions, and that's what testing and beta releases are for, but now, something really bad has happened:

The latest RELEASE proprietary driver for AMD GPU's and APU's, Catalyst, has regressed in terms of compatibility with kernel 3.12/3.13 (and judging by the very easy fix, this was done deliberately) and xorg 1.14. For the first time in years, the Catalyst kernel modules (which are proprietary) do not compile against bleeding edge kernels, whereas the beta drivers do and the older release versions did too.

That's just so wrong. The driver with the regression should have been released as beta and the working driver as release.

Why did it happen this way?

Simple answer: because of SteamOS. AMD has made a Catalyst release specific to Debian stable to offer the best possible performance in SteamOS, whereby this performance is hindered anyway by the old kernel and old packages, so it's basically a massive regression anyway.

Oddities surrounding this:

1. the Debian community doesn't give a shit about it, they're just happy redeeming their free Valve games, but they should be giving hell to Valve and AMD;

2. the beta drivers still work, but not with Gnome version later than the ones used by Debian, except with Fedora's version of Gnome, which is a special version, in that it contains spyware, which is pretty extraordinary for an open source "community" distro (and which means that Fedora is not a community distro anymore but a RedHat special project);

3. on bleeding edge systems, a straight simple install is not possible anymore, there is always some degree of problem solving involved.


This is worse than nVidia's failure to produce linux drivers that work on bleeding edge systems. That's just plain incompetence and open source hate, but they have never regressed in a release where the beta and previous release versions worked, like AMD is doing now.


The good news is that the independent bleeding edge distros, Arch and Gentoo, are reacting in just the right way: they're not trying to fix what AMD has broken. They've already fixed in Gnome what Fedora had broken, well, they're removed the spyware functionality, and that's normal, because the Gnome source is open, distros are free to roll out patches ad libitem. Debian should be pummeling Valve for this, but they don't, even though this should also be a problem for Debian Sid. Fedora is providing a fix for the regression in their open source code, which means that Fedora is actually adapting open source code (even though it's only slightly) to facilitate a closed source regression that makes no sense.

It's a very strange situation, there is not one single critical blog about this from a developer. Whereas Ubuntu was pummeled for incorporating spyware in Apache-licensed code, Fedora is not pummeled at all for incorporating spyware in GPL-licensed code. This is definitely dangerous... sigh...'Murica...


I do hope the Free Software Foundation doesn't give in to the pressure, because it's obvious that many commercial distros and their corrupt minions are targeting the FSF for allowing proprietary plug-ins in GCC, and stays true to the open source spirit. If some major linux branches would drop GCC and go for LLVM/Clang, that's OK, it can only work as well as OSX anyway, which is not an improvement. If that happens, the FSF should just get out of the US and fork linux towards a true GNU/GPL version. The EU, China and Russia will gladly finance that...


This will become very interesting very soon...

if i remember right, isn't ubuntu debian based?

Yup, and originally, SteamOS was supposed to be on Ubuntu, and Canonical had changed the license of their own Xserver/compositor to Apache to facilitate a modern display server for gaming and make a quid doing that, but Valve wanted all for themselves, and changed to Debian.

The consequence is that SteamOS is now running on X11 only. What scares me, is that Valve is causing regressions towards distros that implement wayland, as if they are making their own proprietary display server. That would explain some things.

Anyway, on my gaming PC I'm running the latest and greatest linux 3.13 + Sabayon + KDE 4.12, with Catalyst 9.95 BETA, and I've never had such high fps in games, like ever (meaning not even in Windows). So they can try, but open source has a tendency to prevail. I've lost an hour and a half on this during the weekend, but it's worth it for the gaming experience. It's definitely over 20% faster than what Fedora had to offer in games. I'm sticking to RadeonSi on my production machines with AMD GPU, and most of my daily drivers are laptops with nVidia graphics, so I don't care too much, but it's the principle you know, causing deliberate regressions to block evolution to buy time for commercial deployment, and calling the regressed crapware release, whereas it should still be alpha... and everyone seems to be perfectly OK with it.

Gnome is dead to me now to be honest. It's been going down the drain ever since it became a RedHat private project. I'm waiting for Hawaii, but in the mean time, I'll stick to KDE (and I use XFCE on my daily driver laptops). I haven't decided yet whether RedHat is dead to me also. I'll decide at FOSDEM this weekend.

I liked Gnome 2, but gnome 3 just blew. 

I guess we will have to stick with old Beta drivers until AMD gets their shit straight.

As for SteamOS, you can download the DE just like any other, and with a few tweaks, get it to work perfectly on any distro. Once people start doing that, hopefully it will take away all the hype from Debian.

zoltan can you do a quick tutorial on how  to install the beta catalyst drivers? when i tried doing this is sabayon, aticonfig kept telling me i had no compatible adapters. which i kinda understand since i  have a hawaii gpu.

I still don't quite understand the motivation on the part of valve & AMD, for doing this. People all over the Internet are raging about corporate maneuvering etc, but

I'm going to assume it was a fuck up until I see a pattern... you know: don't attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence.

I wasn't going to run Steamos as primary OS , I was going to stick it in a virtual machine anyway, so i don't really care if they want to force an old kernel. Also I wouldn't install catalyst on my main system.

Even if this is intentional sabotage: most Linux users are not going to compromise for a few steam games, or else they would have stayed on Windows in the first place.

As for protecting the path-of-least-resistance-crowd : it's a fools errand, since sheeple want to be fucked over by corporatism.

Okay okay okay let me get this straight zoltan, your saying Fedora/RHEL has gone rogue against the FOSS style?

If so is this the end days of spyware and a truely free Fedora? If so I would be sad to see this, and the reason I left windows was because I was sick of the NSA spyware shit.

This cannot be true seriously, the community surely must have something to say about this, if they know about it

It's pretty simple if you don't mind the quick and dirty way. (I can write out the more elegant way completely, but it's quite a lot of CLI work, so I'll stick to the quick and dirty way here, which works, because I've tested it, and it's almost entirely GUI).

You start out with a standard Sabayon (non-Gnome!!!) install with kernel 3.12.

The first thing you do is "emerge --sync" in CLI, then at the end it will say that you have to "emerge --oneshot portage" before you do anything else. Do that.

Then launch rigo and let it first sync and then update (that takes quite a while).


After reboot, launch rigo and install the latest full GCC suite (4.7.something).

Launch chromium and download the beta driver (13.11 beta build 9.95) from (it's more recent than the 13.12 "release" driver).

Unpack the driver.

Open files and right click the .run installer, select permissions, check executable.

Run the driver installer as root from the CLI from the directory where it sits, with "./" in front of the file name.

Choose automatic driver installation.

It will complete but with errors. Ignore those.

Don't reboot yet.

Fire up Rigo, and install ati-config for kernel 3.12.

It will do stuff, and give feedback in the end saying it needs to configure files.

Accept all the configuration changes (you need to authenticate separately for that).


check glxinfo if everything is market ATI or AMD (which it will be).

Enjoy gaming performance.

Yeah that's why I love Sabayon, it has by far the best Steam implementation, as they've integrated Steam Big Picture in XBMC, and everything comes pre-installed and pre-configured. Plus there is a lot more speed in Sabayon than in the ancient Debian of SteamOS, and of course it's still a potent full-featured bleeding edge independent Gentoo-based linux distro. SteamOS is a joke in comparison.

Dunno, they've been doing some strange shit lately, and the geolocation spyware that can't be uninstalled in the Fedora version of Gnome, is pretty scary. Gentoo offers the same Gnome version, but they've rolled out a patch that does uninstall the entire geolocation function.

It's not just that, it's also the communications by RedHat towards customers (and I'm one of those for my company workstations and servers), and the fact that they're preparing Fedora Server Edition now, but the Fedora community has nothing to do with that. It's all very strange.

Sabayon is a good bet in my opinion. It's based on Gentoo, which is an independent distro with a world wide dev community, and they're based in New Mexico. It's also governed by 3 Italian universities, and has quite a solid project funding and a large international (although mainly European) community.

If there are three modern distros that I would have to nominate as distros that I believe have a great future in the real linux world, it's Manjaro, Sabayon and Mageia. OpenSuSE will always stay constant, that's what it has been doing for the last 10 years or so, and will continue to do.

I don't quite know what's happening with open source right now, but it's under attack, that's for sure. I'll be talking about this with some people at FOSDEM this weekend to see if I can learn something more about it.

Hmm sounds like the end of Fedora if they are going that way, Would be a shame I love RPM but openSUSE does not seem to fit with me :S anyways.

Report what you find out please, see if Fedora is in the shit

Fedora is not going away anytime soon, I'm still going to keep a Fedora Rawhide system, and without Fedora, linux would not look as good as it does now. The only thing is the corporate control. Obviously, the statutes of Fedora do not contain enough guarantees as to their independence, and even if they would, it's most probable that the powers that be have definitively infiltrated US open source development. A lot of open source development was ostentatively moved from the US to another country (EU or China) during 2013, and there are still other companies that are planning the same thing. Even AMD has started using its German 2002 patent and copyright marks again recently, instead of the US ones that they had been using for years now, even though AMD has closed their German dev center in 2013 (because the unofficial mother company, ATIC, does the AMD development now, in the same building, with the same people, but not under the AMD name any more). Everybody's running away from the NSA. 'Murica is going to feel it on the economic side, but RedHat will be the one company that will feel it the less, and they know it, and that's why they do crap like that, because they are starting to feel powerful, and power corrupts.

I don't quite know what's happening with open source right now, but it's under attack, that's for sure.

True, but when hasn't it been under attack...



I'd rather not use a DE that has the geolocation spyware in the first place.

This is true, People who don't understand tech like to attack it, KILL IT WITH FIRE, GET YOUR PITCHFORKS etc etc... Like windows users, Linux this and that, because you don't understand it.

Same in courts, the people in there passing FISA etc have no idea what the effects are for technology, for them included, they cant see past the sheet that is given to them, And they have assisted the NSA in destroying the future, because they don't understand.

Under-educated in understanding things outside your comfort zone, how do we expect to evolve when all we do is fight the future, even if it scary.

When has open source not been under attack... easy, when people use it to make money.

There is a big difference between "open source" and "free software". Open source is just the application of the unique ability that the human species has as opposed to all other animals, to pass knowledge to others, so that the next generation may always learn faster. The homo sapiens is the only known organism that can leverage complex logical structures like that. The one thing that made this possible, is language.

Proprietary software is just the emanation of the very principle that has dominated most of the Christian history of mankind. Microsoft is like Christianity. Before christianity, common people were allowed to read the source code of knowledge, in the ancient greek cultures, most civilians had easy access to literacy education. Before christianity took over the Roman empire and made it into the christian empire it still is right now, Romans were literate, and that was their force... knowledge was leveraged, and great things were accomplished.

But then christianity came, and became corporate. The board of directors and major shareholders, thought that it would be a good thing to prevent the people from reading and interpreting the source code. Corporate christianity started to censor historical writings, and started replacing them with "official" scriptures. Laws were made to protect the corporate monopoly. The knowledge that had been transferred throughout generations, was lost to serve the corporate monopoly, and the results are well known: the fall of the Roman empire, the fall of civilization, a relapse to pre-ancient-greek ignorance, disease, lack of hygiene, holy wars, destruction, and abolition of the freedoms and rights that civilians had in the Roman empire, and total substitution of those rights with a system of religion-sanctioned nepotist totalitarianism, that still exists today, as still a lot of countries have royal families that have conquered their reign by brutal bloodshed and exploitation.

When the printing press came, this pretty much had the very same consequences as when the Internet became public. There was a sudden and exponential rise in sharing of knowledge, and that almost immediately led to the undermining of the censorship of christianity by the protestant movement. Entire cities and countries were murdered by Vatican- and Royal family-sanctioned mercenary armies (Magdeburg in Germany for instance, which was important in Martin Luther's life, was burned down completely, and more than 20000 inhabitants were systematically massacred over three weeks of door to door searches).

Part of why the US is what it is now, is because the Pilgrim fathers were unwanted in Europe, and they ventured to the Americas to seek safe harbour.

With the 20th century, came WWI, and that caused an education movement, and with that, came the fall of religion, which is normal, and that eventually lead to an acceleration of knowledge gathering and transfer, which required a more efficient medium than just plain human language with enhanced phonetic notation. The answer was found in mathematics. A lower level notation was adopted, so that knowledge processing and storing could be faster, much like Mantle does with DirectX basically.

This eventually lead to the need of new ways of distribution of that knowledge, and that was the internet.

Now a lot of the ancient regime and the corporatized powers that be, aren't happy with that, just like they weren't happy with the printing press. And like the printing press lead to witch trials and hoy mercenary wars, exactly that is happening all over again right now over the internet.

I just hope that this time around, people will behave intelligently enough to prevent a new Medieval void. I doubt it, but there is still hope.

Now christianity and the literacy blockade as a way to corporatize the Roman empire caused the European medieval void. A similar thing happened in China and Japan.

The US however, have never had such an evolution, and they're having it now. There will be laws, there will be "witch", err, "hacker trials", there will be death and deterioration. And like the pilgrim fathers once ventured from Europe to the US, there will be a lot of US people that will venture to other parts of the earth, and maybe at some point even to other parts not on earth.

What was the first reaction of the priest that saw his sermon reprinted and distributed thanks to the invention of the printing press? That it should be forbidden of course, how dare they steal his intellectual property...

What was the reaction of the first people who's picture was taken when photography was invented... oh no, I'm going to lose my soul, this is a demonic technology that should be highly regulated...

What was the reaction of the media distribution companies when media was being shared on the internet... yup...

So what do you think will be the reaction against open source software...


Face it, there is only one course of action that is right, and that is true for many huge problems. Everybody knows that the way to stop the greenhouse effect is to not use greenhouse gases and stop burning fossil fuels... OK... then why is it so hard to accept that there is only one way to save your free arse when it comes to knowledge and access to data... all everyone has to do is to stop using closed source software. Sure they will preach, and they will convince, and they will murder and lie and manipulate to keep their power, but in the end, the solution is obvious, and those that refuse right now to stop using proprietary software or closed software (depending on how you define it, one school speaks of free software and proprietary software, the other school of open source and closed source, and both schools come to the same conclusion, but are diametrically opposed in the method they use to come to that conclusion).

It's all so incredibly obvious and connected, it's all such a déjà vu, if only people would want to open their eyes and see what's in front of them.

Zoltan, you are one interesting person. I agree with that. Imagine how evil ( The Cloud ) is going to turn out.

Un homme se définit aussi bien par ses comédies que par ses élan sincères...

That's one hell of an informative read Zoltan, I was completely oblivious to those historical similarities. Thanks for the dissemination of knowledge !

I think most won't go through another "medieval void" (well except for the US) because the free Software movement is very well connected on lower political levels, as well as extremely diverse & decentralized.

My country has quietly begun phasing out proprietary software in Schools & government-administrations since 2008 & plans to go 100% libre by 2018. Despite intensive Microsoft lobby-work.

Also there's the NSA-backdoor-fallout that proprietary software probably will be decimated by. I think that in addition to US-corporate-espionage, Chinese & Russian Crackers (maybe some common criminals as well) will find those back-doors and cause Havok. Absolutely destroying what little trust there's left.

As for the intellectual-property war: that's the one we could suffer a heavy set-back. ISPs could become the new content distributors, while simultaneously being the gatekeepers of the Internet. In that position they could heavily impede illegal copy distribution (incorrectly referred to as piracy) which is a major pressure factor for reform towards a fair & open market.

Some think that the downfall of online illegal copy distribution will speed up the creation of a decentralized censorship-resistant mesh-networks along the lines of Hyperboria & Freifunk etc, fueled by the same desire that is driving online illegal copy distribution today. However i remain skeptical because nobody can explain how to bridge continents that are separated by oceans. I fear micro satellites & quad-copters won't cut it.