I'm running Kubuntu 15.10 with Blender 2.76 64-bit. PC is a laptop with the ATI Mobility Radeon HD5850 graphics card. (specs: kernel 4.2.0-16-generic, 12GB RAM, 2GB GPU RAM, KDE Plasma 5.4.2)

I can't install the fglrx proprietary driver, otherwise Kubuntu won't boot; I have to use the open-source driver.

My question is: is there a way I can utilize the GPU processing for Blender (using Cycles engine) in Ubuntu (Kubuntu, or any of Ubuntu's flavors) without install the ATI/AMD proprietary driver?

Thanks in advance!


I'm affraid that is not possible. Apparently (checked on luxrender) the GPU is only detected by blender using privative drivers, but even knowing that cycles is not fully capable with ATI/AMD cards. The kernel must compiled on the fly before start rendering and you can't use (even with the propietary drivers) volume absorption or scattering with the GPU and you still have to use CPU for it. Blender works better with Nvidia CUDA i got the experience using blender on linux for several years and comparing with windows. and the results with AMD cards are disapointing.

  • $\begingroup$ I wouldn't call them "disappointing". With the proprietary fglrx driver installed, my GPU (Radeon R9 270X) can render most scenes 2-3x faster than my CPU (AMD A8-5600K). That's nothing to be disappointed about. Unfortunately, the Catalyst driver is buggy and I don't use it for other day-to-day tasks because of its instability. $\endgroup$ – Nathan Osman Mar 2 '16 at 6:09
  • $\begingroup$ Also, I understood the problem to be that the open-source radeon driver doesn't properly support OpenCL yet, although it appears to be a work-in-progress for some cards, including the southern islands cards. $\endgroup$ – Nathan Osman Mar 2 '16 at 6:14
  • $\begingroup$ I figured as much, thought it was at least worth asking about. Thanks @Armand. $\endgroup$ – Jesse Mar 2 '16 at 20:31

Mesa has an OpenCL 1.1 implementation, but I don't know if it is compatible or performant.

The apt package is mesa-opencl-icd if you want to try it


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