Almost two months ago we talked about Intel adding support for an unreleased, next-generation IGP to their X.Org driver. This new part still has yet to be released and within the code-base is simply referred to as IGDNG (Intel Graphics Device Next-Generation). A few weeks after that initial code commit, a new shader compiler was added along with some other changes to this IGDNG IGP. This morning there were a few more code commits to the xf86-video-intel driver that impact this IGP we imagine will be released in the near future.
It's been an interesting past few months in the Linux graphics world, but to mark the end of four months of development, Carl Worth on the behalf of the Intel Open-Source Technology Center has announced the release of an updated DDX driver. This new Intel driver is, of course, xf86-video-intel 2.8.0.
In preparation for Intel's quarterly DDX driver update, Carl Worth has announced the first release candidate of the xf86-video-intel 2.8 driver. This driver is significant in that it completely abolishes DRI1 and EXA support in favor of only supporting DRI2 and UXA, respectively.
Intel's Arjan van de Ven has fired off an email letting us know that Moblin 2.0 will have its X Server running without root privileges. The first feature of their new "Moblin Secure X project" is to integrate NRX technology, which we take to mean "No-Root X" and is described as "NRX is a set of OS changes and patches that makes it possible to no longer run the X server as the privileged 'root' user." Just last week we reported on a root-less X Server nearing reality.
Later this year or early next year Intel will be introducing Moorestown, which is a code-name we have known going back to 2007 and is their next-generation CPU platform for Mobile Internet Devices. Intel's Moorestown is an SoC design and is expected to be used within smart-phones, in addition to MIDs. Moorestown should be very exciting for its reduced power consumption, better graphics, and higher processing performance, but rather than waiting for this next-generation mobile platform to actually arrive, work on the Linux support has already begun. One of the signs of that is a patch that was just submitted to the LM_Sensors development list, which adds thermal monitoring supporting to Linux.
Earlier this month we reported on Linux support for a new, unreleased Intel IGP after several commits hit the Intel driver's X.Org DDX driver (xf86-video-intel).
Last year Intel had launched the GMA X4500HD integrated graphics processor as a nice upgrade to their G3x series. Our Linux results found these chipsets with Intel integrated graphics to perform better than past Intel IGPs, but still was limited in what games and tests could run on the G43/45 hardware with the open-source Intel Linux driver stack. Now, however, Intel is preparing to refresh their IGP line-up.
Keith Packard of Intel has mailed out seventeen new patches to those on the dri-devel mailing list. In this latest round of work, Keith brings support for DisplayPort connections to the Intel DRM i915 driver. Though before tacking the DisplayPort work in the DRM driver that will allow these newer digital connectors to work with kernel mode-setting, Keith first fixed a few other general problems (and prerequisites) pertaining to sysfs, i2c frobbing, hot-plugging, and DPMS.
While Intel can be applauded for their open-source work on the xf86-video-intel driver and related components of their Linux driver stack that supports their mainline GMA integrated graphics processors, the driver for their GMA 500 found in select netbooks is a bloody mess. There are binary-only bits within the Poulsbo driver stack, their DDX module is developed outside of the X.Org community and can be hard to even find the driver's package, and it just does not work well.
The focus of Intel's X.Org driver developers is on getting ready the xf86-video-intel 2.8 driver for this quarter's update that will remove the EXA acceleration architecture in favor of UXA acceleration and it completely strips away the DRI1 support. The Intel X.Org team released the xf86-video-intel 2.7.0 driver nearly a month ago, but they have cherry-picked a few fixes from their current development efforts to provide a 2.7.1 release.
Intel and Nokia have announced a joint partnership today to develop oFono, an open-source telephony solution. The oFono software stack is GPLv2 licensed and includes a high-level D-Bus API for use by other telephony applications and a low-level API for communicating with cellular modems and other devices.
It was just two weeks ago that Intel released its xf86-video-intel 2.7 driver, but there is already a new test release that will lead up to the release of the xf86-video-intel 2.8 series. Normally it is two or three months before a new test release is available for Intel's quarterly Linux graphics driver update, but that is not the case with their Q3'09 stack.
Intel's Eric Anholt has announced the release of version 1.0.0 for the intel-gpu-tools package. The intel-gpu-tools package consist of various tools for debugging and testing out the Intel graphics hardware and drivers on Linux. Eric describes this open-source package as various user-land tools that do not belong within the X.Org driver tree, regression tests for the DRM, and DRM micro-benchmarks for kernel performance regression testing.
Lately we have talked a lot about the Intel Linux driver stack with their ongoing work of switching over to the Graphics Execution Manager for memory management, moving to kernel-based mode-setting, and migrating to the Direct Rendering Infrastructure 2. In the short term, this work has caused some nasty problems, but once the fallout has been addressed, the open-source Intel driver should be in a prime position to perform on all fronts.
Earlier this month Intel had pushed out the xf86-video-intel 2.7 graphics driver that brought a variety of new features and fixes. This 2.7 X.Org driver has been rolled into Intel's "2009Q1 Package" along with Mesa 7.4 plus a few more patches, the Linux 22.214.171.124 kernel plus a few more patches, and libdrm 2.4.9. It is also suggested that X Server 1.6.1 be used with this recommended Intel software configuration. The details regarding the 2009Q1 package can be found here.
As I alluded to earlier, I am out of the office this week. With me to Italy I took a Samsung NC10 that is loaded with an Intel Atom processor, Intel integrated graphics, an OCZ solid-state drive, and 2GB of DDR2 RAM. Prior to leaving I loaded it up with a clean install of the Ubuntu 9.04 release candidate, but what a mistake that was. As was pointed out in the days prior to that, there are a number of regressions present within the Intel Linux graphics stack due to the switch to the Graphics Execution Manager, DRI2, and other work. While the benchmarks showed there is indeed a drop (a large drop in some), this performance drop nearly renders the system useless.
Last night Intel pushed out the xf86-video-intel 2.7.0 driver, but still it does not correct some of the performance regressions that have been occurring within the Intel Linux graphics stack for the past few months. While there are UXA improvements in the 2.7 driver, the performance is still bad.
The day started out for us by looking at the performance impact of using greedy migration heuristics with Intel graphics as well as taking another look at their driver's UXA performance. After that article was published, we had benchmarks from the Linux 2.6.30-rc2 kernel that showed 2D/3D Intel performance improvements. The third Intel item today was then Intel announcing the release of the G45 hardware documentation that was four volumes and more than 1,000 pages of technical documentations. Well, the fourth and final item tonight is the release of the xf86-video-intel 2.7.0 driver.
Since earlier today when looking at whether greedy migration heuristics help in improving Intel's 2D driver performance and how it compares to using UXA acceleration, we have run a couple more benchmarks. This time Canonical's Bryce Harrington was interested whether a new kernel improves Intel's performance.
We are now into the second quarter of 2009, but Intel will soon release its X.Org driver for Q1'09. While late, the xf86-video-intel 2.7.0 driver update SDVO-TV support, basic SDVO-LVDS support, tear-free X-Video support, and many bugs have been fixed.
While it already seems like the Intel Atom processor family has been around for quite a while, it's really only been one year. Today Intel is celebrating the one year anniversary of the Atom processor from the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing.
In a rather interesting move, the Linux Foundation will now be the company behind Moblin. The Moblin project was started by Intel back in 2007 and has been used to push Linux onto their Atom processors, but it now appears they are handing the duties off to the Linux Foundation.
Back in January we shared that Intel's Poulsbo driver was a bloody mess. This Intel GMA 500 Chipset is used by a few select devices at the moment and its core is originally based upon a PowerVR ASIC. When it comes to the Linux support, the xf86-video-psb driver is ill maintained (it hasn't been updated in over a year), the 3D driver is binary-only, and the driver is in a badly broken state. The Intel Poulsbo driver and its Linux support is in a completely opposite state of where the xf86-video-intel driver is at and the Linux support for standard Intel IGPs. Today though there's a new part to the Poulsbo Linux story.
It has been nearly three months since the release of xf86-video-intel 2.6, which means it's almost time for their next open-source driver update to arrive (they abide by a quarterly release cycle). As a sign of this, Intel's Carl Worth is heading the xf86-video-intel 2.7 driver management and he has pushed out the first release candidate.
Just over a week ago Intel had come out with the xf86-video-intel 2.6.2 driver, but today that is already being replaced with xf86-video-intel 2.6.3. The 2.6.2 release was significant in that it presented some major fixes to the Graphics Execution Manager and kernel mode-setting. Along with that, Textured Video support when using kernel mode-setting was introduced along with rotation support.
We have already burned through more than half of Q1'09 and have yet to see Intel's quarterly X.Org Linux driver update approaching (or even any release candidate, although the 2.6 release was late). While xf86-video-intel 2.7.0 isn't ready yet, a fairly significant bug-fix release has been issued in the 2.6 series.
If you have been wanting to look at Linux performance numbers for the Intel Core i7 or AMD Phenom II processors, be sure to stop by Phoronix Global. While the PR departments at Intel and AMD seem to have no interest at all in their latest desktop processors on Linux, many users of this new hardware have provided their own benchmarks courtesy of the Phoronix Test Suite.
In addition to learning that Intel's UXA acceleration architecture will live on in its current form, there were a few other interesting bits of news reported as well during the X.Org talks at FOSDEM 2009. During Eric Anholt's talk some video playback/decoding improvements were discussed.
Back in August we talked about the UXA acceleration architecture, which was developed by Intel and based upon EXA but pixmaps were dealt with as GEM objects.
Most of the Intel Atom netbooks currently on the market (like the Lenovo IdeaPad S10, Samsung NC10, and ASUS Eee PC) use the GMA 950 Chipset for their integrated graphics, but some of the newer models are using the Intel GMA 500. The GMA 500 doesn't share many traits with other mobile Intel IGPs since much of the technology was licensed from PowerVR, which means a different X.Org display driver is required.
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