To No Surprise, Intel's Discrete GPU Efforts Will Support Linux Gaming
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 30 November 2018 at 01:28 PM EST. 18 Comments
INTEL --
It should come as virtually no surprise to any regular Phoronix reader given the significant investment Intel makes to Linux via their Open-Source Technology Center with working on Mesa for their Vulkan/OpenGL drivers and related components, but their discrete GPU undertaking will support Linux gaming alongside Windows.

Our Windows friends at Hot Hardware wrapped up an interview with Intel's Ari Rauch, VP of the Core And Visual Computing Group and GM of the Visual Technologies Team. With Intel's first dGPU not expected until at least 2020, there are no real shockers from that interview. But it is pleasant to note they did reference Linux, "Ari seemed confident and pointed out that Intel has already made significant strides in overall compatibility and with Day 0 [Windows] driver support for some of the latest games. We should also mention that Ari underscored that Linux gaming will be a focus for Intel as well."

Not exactly a surprise at all given Intel's Linux graphics driver work over the past decade and to the broader Linux/open-source ecosystem as well. Intel OTC developers were involved from the early days of Valve's Steam Linux efforts to work out OpenGL driver issues at the time, their developers are punctual in conforming the Mesa "ANV" Vulkan driver to supporting new features and extensions, and even with their current UHD/HD Graphics not being the fastest, they continue optimizing their ANV Vulkan and i965 Mesa drivers for new Linux games that come about. Intel has dozens of Linux graphics driver developers that have been doing stellar open-source driver work long before AMD officially started their open-source driver efforts. So hearing that Intel will focus on Linux gaming with their discrete GPU doesn't raise my eyebrows; it would have been more surprising if they decided not to, but any Linux gaming mention by the Windows press is always welcome.

Intel has also been working extensively this year on their new Iris Gallium3D driver that could potentially end up being used by their dGPU offering. This is a big rewrite of their OpenGL Linux support to do away with their long-served but mature "classic" i965 Mesa driver. Hopefully in 2019 this driver will be merged to mainline Mesa.

This year Intel's open-source OpenCL NEO stack has come into the limelight and is working quite well for modern open-source OpenCL capabilities with Intel's current graphics hardware.

Intel's Linux driver crew has already got much of their Icelake "Gen 11" graphics enablement already done and upstreamed in the respective Linux software components. They've been squaring away for months the Icelake Linux graphics support and their developers are probably itching to start thinking about their driver improvements for the Intel dGPU if they aren't already working on code internally. Hopefully with the dGPU effort we'll see a similar level of punctual open-source upstream support that we've been seeing out of their open-source developers with each generation going back to the Sandy Bridge days.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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