Intel's Poulsbo driver for their GMA 500 IGP on the SCH U15W is a bloody mess. Unlike their X.Org driver for their other Intel IGPs, the Poulsbo driver is closed-source (since they licensed some of the technologies for this graphics processor), but the problems go beyond just whether or not you like to use a binary blob...
I just spent half a day making my daughter's Dell Mini 12 dual boot XP and Ubuntu 9.04, and it was a nightmare. Eventually I got a good 2d stable desktop using the PPA psb repository and a few xorg.conf tweaks. The real kicker was when I upgraded the kernel to 2.6.28-15 and the driver said NO. Works fine with 2.6.28-14. With 2.6.30-4 all I got was a black screen.
So it runs OK as long as there are no kernel upgrades. I fiddled the Grub menu.lst to make 2.6.28-14 the default.
This little news item means the Mini 12 will be stuck at 9.04 for the rest of it's working life. Or, maybe a clever person will reverse engineer the hardware. We can only hope.
I cannot see me ever buying another computer with this chipset unless Intel does something positive. I have a suggestion, Intel should buy the company that made the GMA500, and then open source the hardware. I am sure it would be petty cash to them.
I'll never jump through as many hoops as I did trying to get this crap driver loaded on our Dell Mini 12.
Next time I run across an issue like this, the system is going on Craigslist....just like this Mini 12 is about to.
Sort of gives one a bad taste in their mouths for this whole netbook idea huh?
Funny thing: I have the Dell mini 12 and an Asus 1000HE, I never have any hell with the Asus but don't they both run the same GPU or am I thoroughly confused?
Efforts are likely spent on the Moorestown driver. Some changes from there may be backported to the Poulsbo driver at a later point. For now, the latest "supported" Ubuntu distribution is 9.04: Kernel 2.6.28, X.org 1.6.x. See PPA for Ubuntu Mobile.
You have to know there are two drivers for the Poulsbo:
- IEGD ('iegd') is the officially maintained one
- GMA500 ('psb') is the not-officially supported one
The former has better chances to support newer distributions in the future. Moblin2 will likely be a supported platform too, the opposite would be quite surprising. Some other things might also happen by Q4.
BTW, there is unfortunately no other power-efficient chip with the same capabilities available from other vendors (AMD, NVIDIA).