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.
Over the weekend we started hearing from PR folks that there would be a joint Intel and Nokia news announcement on Monday that would be of interest to us, and today we found out that's indeed the case. The Mobile World Conference is currently taking place in Spain with all sorts of mobile platform announcements coming out for both Microsoft and Linux, but this one announcement today is that Intel and Nokia are joining forces on the mobile front by marrying their platforms together, Moblin and Maemo, respectively. The end product of combining Moblin and Maemo is a new project called MeeGo.
Jesse Barnes, one of the Intel developers responsible for working on their Linux graphics driver stack, has published a new patch that adds "dynamic performance control support for Ironlake." Ironlake was Intel's codename for the onboard GPU found on new Clarkdale / Arrandale processors like the recently reviewed Intel Core i3 530. This patch takes advantage of a hardware performance and power management feature to actually increase the GPU clock (or to "overclock" it in a Graphics Turbo mode) when needed to deliver better performance. This patch is fairly large and can be found currently on the Intel driver mailing list.
Last week we shared that Intel Core i3 Linux benchmarks were being worked on at Phoronix with an Intel Core i3 530 "Clarkdale" processor that we had purchased. This recently released Intel Core i3 processor features an integrated graphics processor on the CPU itself. This next-generation Intel graphics processor is supported by the Linux 2.6.33 DRM and was actually being worked on publicly within the Intel Linux driver stack for months under the name of IGDNG. While Intel has been working on the Linux support for more than six months, the experience is still not ideal.
Earlier this month Intel had introduced their new Core i3 and Core i5 (and even Pentium) processors in the Clarkdale family. Clarkdale and Arrandale (the mobile version of the former) is more unique than some of the other recent Intel Core processors as it introduces a graphics processor on the CPU die itself. Unlike the Lynnfield launch where we were provided with Core i5 750 and Core i7 870 processors to provide Linux-based benchmarks on launch day, this was not the case with Clarkdale. As a result, while Intel's Clarkdale Core i3/i5 processors have been around for a week, there haven't been any real Linux benchmarks of these new processors published on the web.
While Moblin 2.1 was released in early November, today at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Intel Corp just putout the Moblin 2.1 IVI FC release. Moblin 2.1 IVI FC marks this as being the "feature complete" version in this release series. This release particularly is intended for Intel Atom Z530 + US15W platforms, but the open-source OS is using the VESA display driver by default due to Intel's non-free and much criticized Poulsbo driver.
Intel has just put out its quarterly update to their X.Org DDX driver. This new driver is xf86-video-intel 2.10.0 and it delivers on dropping all support for user-space mode-setting (using kernel mode-setting is now a must), KMS video overlay support (when using the Linux 2.6.32 kernel or later), new debugging options, many bug-fixes, and support for the new Intel Pineview chips.
Less than two weeks ago the first release candidate for the xf86-video-intel 2.10 driver was released, but now the second release candidate can be obtained from its Git repository. Not a whole lot of work has been committed to the Intel DDX driver since xf86-video-intel 184.108.40.2061, but 220.127.116.112 is out there and testing is appreciated.
Intel demonstrated today their "single-chip cloud computer" processor that offers an impressive 48 cores. While there are 48 cores on a single chip, this Intel processor only consumes as much power as two standard household light bulbs (this "futuristic" processor is operating between 25 and 125 Watts). However, before getting too excited, this is an experimental processor that is coming out of their research labs.
For the past year we have been documenting the Intel Poulsbo Linux driver and how it is a bloody mess on the basis of it being a binary-only driver (in comparison to their fully open-source stack for their other IGPs) that is not well maintained, is not easy to procure outside of Ubuntu, and is ridden by other problems. Intel though is not solely at fault because the GMA 500 "Poulsbo" chipset is actually a product of PowerVR.
There's just a month left until the end of the year, which gives Intel just a few weeks to deliver its Q4'2009 driver update for the Linux platform. The key component that Intel is expected to release in December will be the xf86-video-intel 2.10.0 driver, while they will likely recommend Mesa, libdrm, and Linux kernel updates too as part of their fourth quarter package (Linux 2.6.32 and Mesa 7.7). While no groundbreaking features are introduced in this X.Org driver update, there is important work taking place.
Two years ago Ubuntu began supporting LPIA, or the Low-Power Intel Architecture. LPIA is i386, but with different compile-time optimizations. LPIA was in use by the Ubuntu Mobile project with Intel's recent mobile CPUs supporting this lower-power architecture. Tests we carried out earlier this year at Phoronix showed Ubuntu's LPIA-based MID spin can conserve 10%+ power. However, Canonical is now abandoning this Intel architecture.
In September during the Intel Developer Forum we learned that Moblin 2.1 would be coming in Q4'09 (just one quarter after the 2.0 release) and would present the Moblin Application Installer, Moblin Garage, and other improvements. Sure enough, Moblin 2.1 has arrived now and it's only the middle of the fourth quarter.
Yesterday we reported on a new Linux driver coming for Intel's Poulsbo chipset that is currently notorious on Linux. This graphics processor is found in many Atom-powered netbooks, but its binary driver is a mess. We found out this morning though many more details on this special driver, which uses the Gallium3D architecture, supports the Moorestown and Sodaville hardware, uses TTM memory management, supports kernel mode-setting, and overall looks like it is much better than the current Poulsbo driver stack. With this new driver stack that's timed to launch with Moorestown, the Gallium3D component is remaining closed-source while the DRM and DDX remain open -- with the DRM code supposedly going after mainline inclusion again (the current version was already rejected). However, the details continue to keep streaming in today.
Yesterday afternoon we ran a story on a new Linux driver for the Intel Poulsbo chipset, which right now is known for being notorious with its troubling Linux support. However, Intel apparently had been working on a new "special driver" that the Linux Foundation was showing off recently in Munich at a mobile development camp. Many details were not shared on this forthcoming driver, which reportedly will be released with Intel's soon-to-be-out Moorestown platform, but this morning we have a surprising number of details on this "special driver" from Intel. Martin Mohring of the Linux Foundation, who was the one showing off the Poulsbo driver on the two Moblin netbooks from the videos shown yesterday, sent over some intriguing details to Phoronix this morning.
While we are not sure yet what Intel's special Poulsbo driver means yet, we do have some firm information to report this weekend on another new Intel driver: a new Intel i965 driver for Gallium3D is coming.
Intel's Poulsbo Linux driver is a bloody mess. The Poulsbo chipset is known commercially as the GMA 500 that's found in many netbooks as of late, but it isn't actually an Intel design but the graphics processor design was licensed from PowerVR. With that, there is no open-source driver but just an ill-maintained binary blob that is notorious among Poulsbo customers. The Poulsbo DRM, which is open-source but without any open-source client (driver), was previously rejected from entering the mainline kernel as well. The situation for Intel's GMA 500 on Linux is not good, but could this soon be changing?
Back in September the Intel Open-Source Technology Center developers had released the xf86-video-intel 2.9.0 driver as their quarterly update, but unlike previous updates that brought KMS, GEM, UXA, and other new features, the 2.9 release wound up just being a major bug-fix release. Providing further fixes, the xf86-video-intel 2.9.1 driver was released over the night.
Intel has released their quarterly DDX Linux driver update, which is now at version 2.9.0. However, this update isn't exactly interesting. It contains fixes and support for their B43 Chipset, but that's about it, which isn't nearly as exciting as some of their past releases. There is though support for the backlight property now with notebooks when using kernel mode-setting. The xf86-video-intel 2.9.0 release announcement can be read on the X.Org mailing list.
There's three important announcements coming out of Intel's Developer Forum today as it relates to their Moblin Linux distribution that launched two years ago: Moblin 2.0 final has been released, Moblin 2.1 is under development, and Moblin Garage and the Moblin Application Installer have been introduced.
Dell and Canonical have been collaborating on Ubuntu Moblin Remix, which is a mix of Ubuntu, Ubuntu Netbook Remix, and Intel's Moblin 2.0 platform. Moblin 2.0 offers a very impressive user-interface and great boot times for use on Intel Atom-powered netbooks. Announced today at the Intel Developer Forum is that Dell will begin offering Ubuntu Moblin Remix on their Dell Mini 10v netbook.
The Intel X.Org 2.8 driver was released last month, but now those developers working on this DDX driver have issued their first point release for this quarterly driver update. The xf86-video-intel 2.8.1 driver brings seven fixes to this Intel graphics processor driver, while all new features and other work are going into what will eventually become xf86-video-intel 2.9 later this year.
For about two months we have been talking about work that Intel has been committing to its open-source drivers for a new, unreleased graphics processor. Within the code this new graphics chipset is simply referred to as IGDNG (which we take to mean "Intel Graphics Device Next Generation"). The IGDNG has received a new shader compiler, DisplayPort, and other features. Though we now have confirmation on what the IGDNG chipset actually is referencing. IGDNG supports the Clarkdale and Arrandale chipsets.
Last month we shared that Intel was already working on LM_Sensors support for Moorestown, their next-generation mobile platform to launch later this year, and that Linux support has not yet let up. Intel's Ramesh Agarwal this morning pushed out a Linux driver for the Moorestown Analog Accelerometer. This driver in-turn depends upon the driver that surfaced on the kernel mailing list last month to support Langwell ICH blocks. The actual accelerometer used by this Intel mobile platform is the Freescale MMA7341L. This Moorestown Accelerometer driver can be found on the LM_Sensors mailing list.
While the Intel kernel mode-setting graphics driver entered the mainline Linux 2.6.29 kernel, and is beginning to become the default driver in various desktop Linux distributions, the KMS driver does not yet have a feature parity with the traditional DDX xf86-video-intel driver. However, announced on the DRI development list today is one more feature that has now been introduced into the kernel mode-setting driver and generic DRM mode-setting code. This is video overlay support for Intel hardware.
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.
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