Intel gfx are a really mixed bag. The development seem to focus on latest upstream xserver + support tools and maybe Ubuntu/Fedora releases. When you look however at what happens when use debian stable, then you notice that this is too old to run Sandy Bridge gfx, therefore there is a newer X available in the backports.
But it is really no fun using those backports, even when you want to use em as build-depends only. In order to build newer mesa/ddx only a few additional backports are needed but even when you have em then the result is crashing even on X startup.
Somehow it is much simpler to run debian stable with binary drivers than using intel oss. When you look at the errors of the 2 possible X drivers on intel you see this:
a) pure debian stable (together with latest kernel)
It basically works for older systems, but still switching off kde OpenGL composite due to lack power and then reenabling it when power was connected back to a laptop can result in a black screen.
it does not support 3d at all for snb, modesetting works.
b) debian stable + bpo + latest kernel
for those systems which had been working realtively well before you experience a real drawback, not sure if the changed mesa version string is the case that composite is default off, but when you enable opengl composite then you get really stupid effects:
- run a full screen opengl app and close it -> this often results in a xserver crash
- if you disable composite then the panel bar is rendered usually in wrong colors, somehow toned black when it should be just grey
- it basically works whe you enable composite using xrender
- you need to replace 32 bit mesa lib manually on a 64 bit system, but that could be automated, but even if you do that, wine games tend to crash the xserver
- then when you think you could just update libva in order to get snb video acc, you notice that apps like xbmc hang after stopping a movie which was accellerated basically fine. It is really nice when you hear that it works on distro x version y, but not with the distro you want to use.
c) debian stable + bpo + some extra backports to fullfill build-deps of intel ddx/mesa
better do not try yourself, the result is an immediate crash usually as soon as you login into kde. in some cases you can manage to run it a few seconds when you disable composite. why on earth are build-deps checked but no runtime requirements?
I personally especially dislike point c), i could possibly live with the fact that out of the box snb experience is only good enough for websurfing an watching movies (without acc), but there should be really a way to use the hardware for a little bit more like basic gaming or accellerated movie playback. It is mainly intel that holds me a bit back releasing a new updated Kanotix with bpo enabled as it does not fully match my own quality standards. It works for simple usecases, but i hate to tell people to switch the distro when they want to do a bit more.
Intel always seems to be on a decent path with the graphic drivers, but never seems to arrive. I have three 2500k cpus and love them each dearly, the drivers started out very broken, but seem somewhat just fine now, but not likely reaching anywhere near the hardwares potential. I'm amazed I can run some FPS and composited desktop and it works.. but for some reason I always have to log out after a few days because somehow the graphics have become sluggish, a restart of X fixes it. Another thing I have dreamed of for my entire computing life is a consistant vertically synced composited desktop, on my current setup it seems to vsync most of the time, and then something happens and it somehow stops, again a restart of X and its ok again. Perhaps that day will only come when wayland breaks out of experimental status. I have to give it to intel for always being up to something. I long for the day when the whole stack comes together...
Better support for old yet ubiquitos hardware. I'm reminded of all of the i810 class hardware tat nolonger works on Linux due to the driver going completely unmaintained in a state that crashed every 5 mins before being dropped completely.
GPUs competitive with at least entry level AMD APUs, the Atoms are crap.
It's sad to see barely any support for hardware that is not even 3 years old (i915).
And yes, old hardware support is totally relevant when considering what to buy next, since that new stuff will be old pretty fast.
First, I'd like to thank the Intel team for their support of the open source community.
I would like to use the WebGL features in chromium/chrome.
Many browsers only work with Nvidia drivers, because (according to the browser developers) their are too many bugs in drivers from other vendors. Please fix those bugs, so that hardware rendering is enabled for intel GPUs by the browser developers. I use the intel drivers from my distributor (Ubuntu 11.10), if newer versions of the intel driver do not have this problem anymor, ignore my request.
Please establish an open (free as in speach) standard for switching between discrete GPU and IGP. Get inspiration from Lucid Virtu, Nvidia Hybrid Power and other proprietary Windows-only solutions (mostly found in gaming laptops), but forget about vendor lock-in policies and make it just energy efficency paradise. Let's hope such an open standard will also make it into Windows some day, as lots of us have IGP's which are fine for desktop usage besides discrete GPU's for serious gaming.
I know you don't care that much about old hardware (9xx) but just wanting to say that the 915GM occasionally locks up, with grey lines all over the screen, on Linux Mint 11. SysRq magic keys don't work (screen just turns black) so I need to hold the power button. This does not happen on Windows (where the driver hasn't been updated for 5 years or so). Apart from this, the GMA 900 works great with Linux.
At CES Ivy was shown using a cool VLC video that would support DX 11 class acceleration. This would mean all from some advanced pixel shadders to tesselation. The obvious question is: will be Linux side exposed to the same level of acceleration let's say in 6 months from Ivy Bridge launch out of the box? Let's say: can I play Oil Rush on Ivy Bridge?
A side question: I have an Sandy Bridge laptop + NV Optimus integrated. Where is the bug if the NVidia card is set up? Is it just from NVidia binary drivers?