[Solved] Debian 8.3, Kernel, Radeon r9 390

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[Solved] Debian 8.3, Kernel, Radeon r9 390

Postby orlando » 2016-03-16 10:26

Hi!
I'm new to debian (again :), I used a couple of years ago) and I'm very happy to have switched back to it from Ubuntu :).

The reason why I changed is because as I understood is Debian well known for its stability. I was using Kubuntu 15.10 on my new desktop Pc with a Radeon r9 390 and I had lots of troubles first with the open source drivers (black screen suddenly) and then with proprietary-fglrx (better performances but desktop freezes quite often and a hard reboot is the only solution).

I tried Mate on kubuntu and the freezing problem seemed absent then I tried to install Ubuntu Mate from scratch but I got black screen while installing!!!
I had enough and I happily installed Debian Jessie 8.3 with Mate yesterday and it works fine.

But I still have some questions that I hope you can help me answer.

I'm running open source drivers that say I have a r9 290 not a 390. I have read that the kernel 4.2 has improved its Radeon support and I have also noticed that Jessie uses 3.17. Right now I have no hardware acceleration on it: Docky has for example no visual effects I wonder if it because of the kernel versione. When I used open source drivers on ubuntu I had visual effects on and maybe it depended on the new kernel, but there were still severe issues like desktop stop. Should I upgrade the kernel to 4.2 or not? How?

I would also like to test Gnome DE but I'm afraid that I will get a black screen or graphic issues. What should I do to make my GPU to work properly? I'm not interested in gaming on Debian and therefore I don't need it to work at its best, just ordinary desktop things.
Last edited by orlando on 2016-03-27 08:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Debian 8.3, Kernel, Radeon r9 390

Postby bigrigdriver » 2016-03-16 15:55

Have you tried installing the firmware-linux-nonfree package. It provides drivers for Radeon R200 and R300 family of cards.
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Re: Debian 8.3, Kernel, Radeon r9 390

Postby orlando » 2016-03-16 17:46

not yet. But I just experienced the same problem I had with Kubuntu.

I decided to install Gnome DE using this: https://wiki.debian.org/it/Gnome

Everything went well and I starting using it. I noticed the, compared to Mate, it had more graphic effects. The docky allows now the icons to get bigger when I select them which doesn't happen in Mate. Yet is the graphic still limited compared to Kubuntu even if I installed the "libgl1-mesa-dri" for 3D accelleration
I do however like Gnome anyway and I don't care for fancy graphic effects but all of sudden if froze completely like it did with kubuntu :| :?: :?!. I hade to hard reboot.

Could the firmware-linux-nonfree help? I start to think that maybe it has with other things to do like GPU-Power. Could it be?
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Re: Radeon r9 390 freezes desktop

Postby orlando » 2016-03-17 09:18

Hi again,
I just found this very interesting link https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=91880#c32
that seems to be much relevant to my case but I have no idea how to proceed to apply the different solutions proposed by the comments.

The only think I know is that I have a very fresh install with Gnome and Mate, no firmware-linux-nonfree yet installed, and no proprietary driver installed.
I believe that the power issues discussed in the bug report may be appropriate for my situation since the pattern I found is that of desktop freezing while using more demanding DE like KDE and GNOME while Mate has yet never frozen.

What to do next? Should I test firmware-linux-nonfree first or try to follow some of the advice above? Will the firmware-linux-nonfree regulate this power issues?
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Re: Debian 8.3, Kernel, Radeon r9 390

Postby orlando » 2016-03-17 21:33

I installed firmware-linux-nonfree and I will check if the error occurs again. So long I have been using Mate and no Desktop-freezing. But I noticed an other thing:
The Gpus fans are on all the time. But they shouldn't, they are suppose to start when on load. And so it was with kubuntu.
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Re: Debian 8.3, Kernel, Radeon r9 390

Postby stevepusser » 2016-03-17 21:50

There is a 4.3 kernel in Jessie-backports as well as updated firmware packages there. backports.org

You have very limited graphics in Debian and an AMD card without that firmware, as has been noted ad naseum on these forums. Obviously, you haven't done a search here or looked at the Debian wiki.

You also can't use the AMD fglrx drivers with GNOME 3 in Jessie.
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Re: Debian 8.3, Kernel, Radeon r9 390

Postby orlando » 2016-03-18 10:55

Thank you for your answer.
I must correct previous post. The firmware-linux-nonfree resulted in black-screen at boot.

I have looked very much at the wiki and that is also why I wrote here. Because the wiki stresses a lot the fact that Debians stability is due to the use of older kernel and software and that one should be careful in updating and adding external repository. That's why I asked for advice and yes I know I can't use fgrlx with Gnome. I intend not to and I would like to make the open source works, an other reason why I asked here.

I asked in the main post if upgrading the kernel would be god or it could give some problem and I also wanted to understand which one would it the best one to install. I could se here:
https://tracker.debian.org/pkg/linux
,a link I found through the wiki, that there are various versions. Which one would it be the right one for these issues I'm having?

Beside I have used more updated kernel with Ubuntu, and even if the new kernel gave better performance, I still had problem with desktop freezing.
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Re: Debian 8.3, Kernel, Radeon r9 390

Postby debianneedstuning » 2016-03-20 00:52

What was the error associated with the black screen?
Just a /var/log/Xorg.0.log error?
Or a complete system lockup. If this hasn't happened, then you should be able to ssh in from another machine and look at Xorg.0.log for the problem.
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Re: Debian 8.3, Kernel, Radeon r9 390

Postby orlando » 2016-03-20 15:35

Sorry but I don't know how to ssh from an other machine and I have now reinstalled debian. So, I don't really know much any more about that error message.

I did the following:
- Added backports
- Installed 4.3 kernel
- updated mesa through backports to 11
- installed firmware-amd-graphics

Now, the Gpus fans are not anymore all the time on. They behave as they should.
if I run "Top" I can see that xorg is not taking lots of Cpu, which was a problem I experienced on ubuntu.

I can't tell already if the desktop freezing is also gone, I must run it a little longer to see it. I will check it.
Still, I'm using Mate now and it still doesn't have any desktop graphic effects on. For instance, the docky doesn't allow me to have 3D icons.
Not a big deal at all, but how do I change that?
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Re: Debian 8.3, Kernel, Radeon r9 390

Postby orlando » 2016-03-20 15:41

Ok, it must be a Mate-problem. Gnome has several effects on and it is possible to use all Dockys functionality.

But, it still doesn't work :(. Now I'm at the same point I was with ubuntu. Updated kernel, updated mesa, and firmware. The gpu seems to perform well BUT, it suddenly gets all black and I can only hard reboot. I noticed that when I use Gnome it happens only after 15 minutes, more or less, while on Mate it needs a little longer.

I'm really starting to considerate to buy a different card, a Nvidia for instance...
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Re: Debian 8.3, Kernel, Radeon r9 390

Postby gradinaruvasile » 2016-03-21 19:25

You need to upgrade libdrm, kernel, mesa, llvm.
The issue is probably the llvm version (and i suppose the older xorg). Debian Stable has only llvm 3.5. Mesa and the kernel are at a sufficiently new version, but LLVM, the compiler used in the background by mesa for radeonsi cards is old (the devs invited the llvm team to backport 3.7 or newer to build mesa against it but it didnt happen yet).
Everything considered i would say you need Testing for your card to work well with the opensource drivers.

BTW To check if your card is actually using hardware acceleration (not software), you need to check:
Code: Select all
glxinfo | grep Open

Should return something like:

Code: Select all
$ glxinfo|grep Open
ATTENTION: default value of option vblank_mode overridden by environment.
OpenGL vendor string: X.Org
OpenGL renderer string: Gallium 0.4 on AMD ARUBA (DRM 2.43.0, LLVM 3.7.1)
OpenGL core profile version string: 3.3 (Core Profile) Mesa 11.1.2
OpenGL core profile shading language version string: 3.30
OpenGL core profile context flags: (none)
OpenGL core profile profile mask: core profile
OpenGL core profile extensions:
OpenGL version string: 3.0 Mesa 11.1.2
OpenGL shading language version string: 1.30
OpenGL context flags: (none)
OpenGL extensions:
OpenGL ES profile version string: OpenGL ES 3.0 Mesa 11.1.2
OpenGL ES profile shading language version string: OpenGL ES GLSL ES 3.00
OpenGL ES profile extensions:

Interesting is the

OpenGL renderer string: Gallium 0.4 on AMD ARUBA (DRM 2.43.0, LLVM 3.7.1)

line. The red text indicated the used driver - ARUBA here means that the card has the ARUBA firmware loaded (which is from the nonfree firmware package and enables hardware decoding etc). If this text is "llvmpipe", your card uses software rendering.
Also, simple desktop environments like Mate are more stable than Gnome or Cinnamon or KDE.
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Re: Debian 8.3, Kernel, Radeon r9 390

Postby orlando » 2016-03-21 19:43

Hi! thas't what I get from the command you quoted:

Code: Select all
glxinfo | grep Open
OpenGL vendor string: X.Org
OpenGL renderer string: Gallium 0.4 on AMD HAWAII (DRM 2.43.0, LLVM 3.5.0)
OpenGL core profile version string: 3.3 (Core Profile) Mesa 11.1.2
OpenGL core profile shading language version string: 3.30
OpenGL core profile context flags: (none)
OpenGL core profile profile mask: core profile
OpenGL core profile extensions:
OpenGL version string: 3.0 Mesa 11.1.2
OpenGL shading language version string: 1.30
OpenGL context flags: (none)
OpenGL extensions:
OpenGL ES profile version string: OpenGL ES 3.0 Mesa 11.1.2
OpenGL ES profile shading language version string: OpenGL ES GLSL ES 3.00
OpenGL ES profile extensions:


How does it look like? I can see that the llvm is older then the one you posted.

I have been reading this bugreport: https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=91880#c32
and here I have found that change the dpm performance level to High could be a solution.
I did it and since 30 minutes, more or less, I have been using Gnome with good graphic and it hasn't froze yet. But the Gpus fans are on all the time and the temperature is 64C stable.

This is probably a solution. But it still feels wrong to have the gpu on the whole time. It can't be good for it either.

Edit: Even the profile "low" seems to work without freezing. I must try it a little longer. But it looks like it's the "auto" that is bugged
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Re: Debian 8.3, Kernel, Radeon r9 390

Postby gradinaruvasile » 2016-03-22 07:49

The output is ok. What kernel are you using now? You should grab the latest 4.3 from backports.

And remember:

About "stable" distros and stability:

New hardware on Linux = need for NEW drivers, kernel (kernel+firmwares) and userspace (libdrm+mesa+llvm+xorg+xorg-video). This is required for a new card to work properly since old drivers might not have certain features (power management/dynamic reclocking, x server drawing methods etc) incorporated. Sometimes for certain cards/features the whole open source software chain has to be upgraded. Backports right now has some of this (kernel, mesa, drm but no llvm or xorg).

About llvm: llvm/clang are compilers that are used by mesa (which is the opengl library) in the radeon driver for providing hardware acceleration newer AMD cards (those that use the "radeonsi" mesa driver). Without them updated, certain features are unavailable or maybe unstable on these cards. Mesa currently is updated to a recent version, but llvm is not, so for these cards acceleration is sub-optimal.
Additionally, the acceleration method used by the "radeonsi" cards is "glamor" which currently receives many improvements in the xorg server that is in testing/unstable (stable uses an older xorg).
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Re: Debian 8.3, Kernel, Radeon r9 390

Postby orlando » 2016-03-22 13:44

Thank you, that is very useful information! :) Indeed debian jessie was on a very basic graphic level after install.

Now I'm using the kernel 4.3 that I installed from backports which I also used to update Mesa and to install the firmware package firmware-amd-graphics. But I'm not using the firmware-linux-nonfree as the debian wiki recommends. Maybe is not necessary since firmware-amd-graphics is probably more updated.

Should I update the llvm and the xorg server then? Does it mean that to get those xorg-updates I need to upgrade to debian testing?

Right now is Gnome working very nicely and since I'm not interested in playing on linux I won't need high performance.
If the "low" level will work I won't even need to worry about the GPU:s fans being on the whole time since that occurs only on "High". I don't know if more updates will sooner or later fix this bug so that I don't need to run this "echo" command every time I start the computer. But all the updates I have been making since several weeks didn't solve the issue. I tried ubuntu 15.10 with kernel 4.4, both open source and proprietary. Mate, gnome, kde, xfce. Xubuntu 14.10 with kernel 4.4 but none of the different driver versions could avoid the freezing. If the problem is really solved by these DPM changes then I guess that I could run Ubuntu again and apply the same solution there as well. But I think I'll keep debian.

In the bug report is also mentioned that some new firmware ucode to download could help without using changing DPM, but I haven't tried them yet. I don't actually know how to install them because you need to download them. But maybe the amd-package I got from backports is more updated then them.
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