A Preview Of Kernel-Based Mode-Setting
Fedora 9 is the only distribution of the refreshes this spring shipping with kernel mode-setting. The merge window for the Linux 2.6.26 kernel will be opening soon, but the consensus has been that the kernel mode-setting changes will not go into the mainline Linux 2.6.26 kernel. That then puts kernel mode-setting on the table for integration with the Linux 2.6.27 kernel this fall -- but perhaps too late for Ubuntu 8.10 "Intrepid Ibex". What's found in Fedora 9 is just a first-run implementation. David Airlie with Red Hat plans to merge proper integration with kernel mode-setting for fast-user-switching in Fedora 10.
The intel-kernelmode driver supports Intel 915 IGPs and newer. For this article we had tested out the just-released Fedora 9 Preview release with an ASRock ConRoe1333-DVI/H motherboard, which sports Intel 945 integrated graphics with both VGA and DVI connections. When connecting this test system to a digital monitor and switched to using kernel-based mode-setting, the process had failed. Red Hat Graphical Boot wasn't able to properly initialize and when it came to starting the GDM, the screen would flicker several times but never ended up initializing. Switching over to an analog monitor, i915.modeset=1 had worked. Still, this support wasn't perfect. When using the kernel mode-setting driver there were issues with drmWaitVBlank and IRQs.
On the following pages are videos of kernel-based mode-setting in action.
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