AMD and Ubuntu relationship

Could Ubuntu and AMD coordinate the release of the new Ubuntu kernels and AMD drivers together? Could there be more cooperation to time the releases so that users don’t experience enormous downtime?

It has been 3-4 months since AMD drivers could be installed on Ubuntu. Numerous users with AMD hardware and Ubuntu can’t use their machines since the kernel upgrade.
AMD representative said that Canonical changed something with their kernel releases that makes it hard to support or that AMD gets caught by surprise so now AMD users are forced to either move to CentOS or stop their work for an unspecified amount of time (like half a year to a year, it’s not clear but our machines have been unusable for months with Ubuntu).

The relevant thread is here:

Can Canonical please reach out to AMD to get this fixed and start some dialog about release schedule etc?


The announcement that Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Desktop would track the HWE by default was made in 2020-April if not before, being covered in the release notes. Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Server however installs the GA kernel by default (per release notes too, change was with Desktop installs only, but server installs can opt to use HWE if they wish)

Yes that was a change to prior releases, but don’t forget that was documented April 2020 so should have been plenty of notice for users who read the release notes.

Yes some issues/mistakes? occurred, and this has been addressed I think pretty well, eg. Improvements for hardware support in Ubuntu Desktop installation media is just one example… but those issues all occurred in 2021 with 20.04.2 Desktop only (later too for flavors), not 3-4 months ago that I’m aware.

Ubuntu release schedules are all published in advance of the release (20.04’s was created 19 February 2019 for example, though of course it changes), and new kernels are released by Linux upstream and not under Canonical/Ubuntu control.

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Now you are doing the same thing AMD did at first. Blaming the other guy or blaming the users. It’s not worth getting into who did what at this point when the damage is done. I think it would be better to identify what went wrong and if that is communication then improve communication or cooperation with AMD.

We’ve been having problems for at least 3 months because no one could tell us just to go to the GA kernel. We finally did that yesterday.

This is an issue that affects every AMD user and for such a big issue it was not communicated well at all, at least by AMD who seemed to have been caught by surprise too. And the info is buried in the release notes on the Ubuntu side. It still doesn’t say anywhere in the AMDGPU-PRO documentation to switch to GA kernel.

Have you made contact with AMD? Do they have any plans to support the HWE kernels or will it fall to the users to switch to different kernel by themselves (in which case this should be better communicated with the instructions to do so)?

As you can see from the thread that I’ve linked, the guy reported the issue 01.12.2020. and there have been issues before it’s just that we were reporting it via email to AMD and got some default response from the support staff (Something along the lines of: “Thank you so much for reporting this issue, but you’re on your own with this one”).

First of all, I admit that I am one of the very few people with an AMD CPU and GPU without problems. I even installed several Linux distributions with different kernel versions, but still no luck: The systems are working without noticeable problems.

Maybe it is my fault, but I am using only the amdgpu driver from the official repositories. As far as I understand your post, you are referring to the amdgpu-pro driver, which is not in the Ubuntu repositories? If so, what exactly do you expect from Ubuntu?

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In December both the GA and the HWE kernels where on the same 5.4 version, so that was a different issue then. Some reported it working with an older 5.4 then and others with 5.8

A few AMD updates later it seems they work with 5.4 but not 5.8, and the latest post now is for a problem in 18.04 with 5.4, so also not with the 20.04 HWE now being on 5.8

So different problems are in that thread, and going with GA with is on 5.4 now, instead of HWE which is now on 5.8 works for their newest driver now, but would have made no difference in December. It was around 3 weeks ago that the HWE kernel was upgraded.

There seems to be quite a lot of confusion regarding the GA and HWE kernels and the point releases in that thread, especially from the AMD representative.

The hwe-edge kernel had 5.8 already since October in 20.04, so there was plenty of time to test for AMD and users, and some users reported there they had problems with it on 20.10 which uses 5.8.

Also that they claim that they got surprised when packages in the repositories where updated before the new installer was released when it always was done that way.

But I do think that Ubuntu can do better explaining and announcing the point release and everything that goes around it.

Maybe split the release notes up, in 2 or more phases, so that when the HWE kernel, mesa and xorg get updated as usual before the point release, maybe already when the packages are in proposed.

Then fewer people might get surprised and fewer think that 20.04.1, 20.04.2 are somehow different releases using different repositories requiring a distribution upgrade.

Then when the new installer is released announce that with a link to the previous announcement.
And that the updated kernels are already available for those that already have Ubuntu installed, and a extra chapter with all the other upgrades explaining that those updates also have been available for a while.

So a main focus about the new installer when the installer releases, and not put that together with all the other updates that have been made available already.

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