While it may have seemed like PowerTop was idling by for a while without a new release or any major advancements to this open-source utility for analyzing power consumption to find programs causing more wake-ups than necessary and to provide other power savings tips on Intel-based Linux systems, a new release has emerged. Intel released PowerTop v1.13 recently and it adds a few new features to the power table along with a number of bug-fixes.
It seems like it was just yesterday, but Intel introduced the Graphics Execution Manager more than two years after they had a falling out with TTM. In switching over to using GEM for their in-kernel video memory management, and subsequently supporting kernel mode-setting and then introducing UXA to GEM-ify the EXA 2D acceleration architecture, there was a lot of problems. Fortunately, most of these problems were worked out as this more advanced Intel Linux driver stack matured and for the better part of a year now the experience has been pleasant for users of most Intel GMA chipsets.
Earlier this month an Intel employee began asking about making optimizations to Mesa's shader compiler (on the Mesa-dev list). This Intel employee was not one of their usual Open-Source Technology Center developers commonly working on their Linux graphics stack as part of Keith Packard's team, but instead it was an uncommon name: Benjamin Segovia. Ben is from Intel's Advanced Graphics Lab team where previously he worked on ray-tracing techniques, but as of late seems to be at least dedicating some of his Intel effort towards optimizing Mesa.
Yesterday we found it interesting that Intel is not even able to ship their own Linux driver for their own hardware with their MeeGo operating system. The driver in question is their new EMGD driver for the Menlow and Tunnel Creek platforms that have a graphics core that's designed by Imagination Technologies rather than their own in-house intellectual property. The EMGD driver from Intel currently requires signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement with them to gain access to this driver, but it's not the only driver available that targets the Intel GMA 500 / GMA 600 graphics core that's derived from the Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX 535.
With the introduction of Intel's Poulsbo (GMA 500) chipset it marked a point at which Intel's Linux graphics support was no longer stellar, but as they had outsourced the graphics IP from Imagination Technologies, they could not provide an open-source driver stack like they do with their in-house IGPs. Not only was this Intel Poulsbo Linux driver closed-source, but the level of support was appalling and it was a bloody mess of a situation. The overall situation since has only become worse and even MeeGo (their own Linux OS) will be shipping without Intel's EMGD driver.
MeeGo, the joint project between Nokia and Intel that married the Maemo and Moblin operating systems together as one superior Linux-based operating system for Intel Atom netbooks and select Nokia devices, has a new stable 1.0 series update. This is actually the first update since MeeGo 1.0 was released for these mobile devices since the inaugural release in late May.
While Oracle may not be capable of releasing an OpenSolaris update (or even communicating their intentions), the Intel-Nokia team working on the MeeGo operating system that marries Moblin and Maemo is capable of getting work done. Today they have released their first spin of MeeGo Handset Project, which is the MeeGo variant designed for handsets like the Nokia N900.
While Intel had only released its xf86-video-intel 2.12 release candidate ten days ago and there was only one RC, yesterday afternoon they decided to go forward and make the final release. The xf86-video-intel 2.12.0 DDX driver is now available and they have also tagged their 2010Q2 driver package.
While there is the "Clover" branch of Mesa started by Zack Rusin for providing an OpenCL state tracker that can be used by Gallium3D hardware drivers, it hasn't yet amounted to much. The OpenCL state tracker is not yet working, hasn't been touched in months, and has yet to be integrated in the mainline Mesa code-base. However, as another GPGPU alternative, it looks like a CUDA back-end that's specific to Intel's open-source driver may end up being worked on.
Last October we reported on new capabilities within the Phoronix Test Suite that allowed performance regressions to be located within any code-base by leveraging our open-source testing framework with the git-bisect command to automatically traverse a tree in a binary manner until the Phoronix Test Suite spots the regression-causing commit. As an example we tracked down a regression in the mainline Linux kernel with the EXT4 file-system without any manual intervention. Now not only can we automatically track down any performance regressions, but the Phoronix Test Suite can also help you spot any functional regressions.
Intel has rolled out their first release candidate for their forthcoming xf86-video-intel 2.12 DDX driver update. The Intel 2.12 X.Org driver, as we have already mentioned twice brings faster 2D performance, among other changes.
MeeGo 1.0 was released last week and we found its netbook performance to be competitive and beat Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Moblin, and Fedora. While the performance of this joint project between Intel and Nokia may be nice, it doesn't improve the situation for the Poulsbo graphics situation under Linux.
A week ago we reported that Intel's next X.Org driver (the xf86-video-intel 2.12 DDX) would render text/glyphs faster thanks to optimizations done by Chris Wilson, but this was not all that was in store for this Intel Linux driver that's updated quarterly. With the most recent Git, there are more performance optimizations.
Back in February, the Moblin and Maemo projects from Intel and Nokia, respectively, made love and out came MeeGo. The two industry players had joined forces to come up with what they feel is the best Linux platform for mobile devices ranging from netbooks to in-vehicle information systems. Version 1.0 of the MeeGo Core Software Platform has been released today.
Intel's next quarterly Linux graphics driver update will be out around July and while nothing too exciting has yet to emerge within the X.Org DDX driver that will be released as xf86-video-intel 2.12, there is one interesting merge today. This next Intel X.Org driver update should offer significantly faster text / glyphs performance.
While the Linux hardware compatibility of modern processors and motherboards have normally been spot-on, as talked about in our many reviews, one of the areas that still causes annoyances with modern hardware can be the hardware sensors support. For motherboards this commonly means being able to monitor sensors for the temperatures, fan speeds, voltages. For the CPUs, their integrated temperature sensor(s) also aren't commonly supported on just-released Intel and AMD products.
MeeGo, the mobile Linux operating system that came about when Intel and Nokia joined forces to marry Moblin and Maemo, will be using Btrfs as its default file-system.
Last night Intel finally announced the Intel Atom Processor Z6xx Series Family, which has been known under the Moorestown codename for quite a while and is something we first reported on back in 2007. With the new Atom Z6xx processors Intel is hoping it will propel their Atom brand within more smart-phones, tablets, and other mobile Internet devices, but these low-power processors will likely end up in some netbooks too. Unfortunately, the graphics for the Moorestown / Atom Z7xx platform is still looking to be a major disappointment to Linux users.
We are still working on the first part of our Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu 10.04 LTS benchmarks that are set to be published early next week, but so far there is one easy conclusion to draw from the completed tests: Intel's Linux graphics driver is still no match to the Intel Windows driver.
While Gallium3D is viewed as the future of the 3D Linux graphics driver architecture, it's been in development for a long time and still doesn't have a solid following. In particular, Intel is still missing from the Gallium3D party.
With the releases last month of the xf86-video-intel 2.11.0 DDX driver and the Mesa 7.8 graphics stack, Intel has updated its quarterly Linux graphics package in which it recommends versions of several key components for the ideal Intel experience.
Just as planned, Intel has released their quarterly DDX driver update for Linux users and those using X.Org with its KMS-only support.
Intel's Zou Nan hai has published a patch for the Intel kernel DRM code that provides multiple ring buffer support for Clarkdale and Arrandale systems, in other words Intel's new IGPs that are embedded onto CPUs such as the new Core i3 530 and its stellar integrated graphics.
Intel has today announced its AppUp store is now available to those running Moblin 2.1. AppUp was announced back in January during the Consumer Electronics Show as a software application store designed for netbook users running Windows and Linux. Nearly three months later. AppUp for Moblin 2.1 is now available. This initial AppUp launch is limited to the United States and Canada, but next week some 27 countries within Europe should have access too.
Not only is the X.Org community preparing for the release of X Server 1.8 and Mesa 7.8 (both of which had new RCs issued today), but the Intel OSTC team is preparing to push out the xf86-video-intel 2.11 DDX driver that will be part of their recommended 2010Q1 graphics driver stack.
With the first quarter coming to an end soon, Intel is preparing its quarterly Linux graphics driver update. This time it's version 2.11 that's being primed of the xf86-video-intel DDX driver. The first release candidate came last month, but this afternoon Carl Worth has made available a second release candidate that's officially version 2.10.902.
When it comes to Intel's X.Org driver for Linux, xf86-video-intel, the most recent release was version 2.10 and it arrived in early January complete with Pineview (their next-generation Intel Atom systems) support, X-Video improvements, and various other features. The xf86-video-intel 2.11 driver is now emerging as their next quarterly update that brings in the KMS page-flipping and DRI2 swap events support. However, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, which is set to be released in April, will not be shipping with either of these drivers. Instead Canonical has decided to stick with the xf86-video-intel 2.9 driver that was released last September.
Going back to last April, Intel's Ian Romanick has been working on GLU3 and yesterday afternoon on his blog he has announced some changes. The GLU3 code-base has moved to a new FreeDesktop.org Git repository, there is now a project mailing list, and he expects to finally release GLU3 1.0 within one month or so. There is some other functionality he hopes to push into GLU3, but that should be complete over the coming days.
Intel's quarterly Linux graphics driver update is due out in about one month so preparations for this have gotten underway with the first release candidate now being available. The xf86-video-intel 2.11.0 RC1 (v2.10.901) driver boasts support for the latest DRI2 changes (particularly the KMS page-flipping ioctl and new swap events) and many bug fixes.
Intel launched the desktop "Clarkdale" and mobile "Arrandale" processors a few months back that boasted a number of architectural improvements and one of the big features was the integration of a graphics processor directly on the CPU itself. As we shared when testing out the Intel Core i5 530 processor, the Clarkdale graphics performance was fairly nice and worked quite well under Linux using an open-source driver besides a few bugs.
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