Review the reviewer: Yaroslaw Andrusyak

And in the same vein as my previous mention of mrdeathjr28, here is Yaroslaw Andrusyak. He presents games using only entirely FOSS drivers played via the Gears on Gallium live CD, with high OpenGL levels using the free Radeon drivers. And he even does comparisons between WINE and native ports. Here’s an example:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Fk8ipipTr8]

If you don’t know what the big deal is about that: Usually entirely free graphics drivers lag behind the latest proprietary drivers in speed or functionality or both. So it’s impressive when another title works beautifully and fluidly using entirely free drivers. The TL;DR might be “free software GUD. Prop.. Popiet.. Propi… CLOSED SOFTWARE BAD!!!!111 omg STEAM SALE!!!!”

The market’s lagging behind can be seen very well with the Intel drivers. While free, they were stuck at OpenGL 3.x for a very long time and are only slowly completing the OpenGL 4.2 feature set.

The non-free AMD/Radeon and Nvidia drivers are usually at the highest available OpenGL level and are now also tracking the Vulkan API. But changes in the market thankfully made AMD/Radeon open up their graphics stack more, providing a FOSS kernel layer built directly into the vanilla Linux kernel through AMDGPU. The free RadeonSI Gallium3D project, already at an impressive level, has also been improving at such a pace that a huge array of commercial titles now work nicely on it.

That means that gaming on a full free software stack, even including complicated 3D drivers, is possible.

Now if you’re still not impressed, I can’t make you impressed. I thank Yaroslaw for all his work testing and recording, and the RadeonSI and Mesa teams for what they’ve done for us during the last decade or two. It’s mind blowing to see how far we’ve gotten.

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