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Canonical Publishes Apple Hybrid Graphics Driver

Linux Kernel

Published on 16 March 2012 10:55 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
10 Comments

On Thursday there was a new upstream contribution by Canonical for an Apple GMUX device driver, which can provide hybrid graphics support under Linux for certain Apple MacBook laptops.

Seth Forshee, a kernel engineer at Canonical since last year, published the Apple GMUX driver to the kernel mailing list. From the commit message, "Apple laptops with hybrid graphics have a device named gmux that is used for switching between GPUs and backlight control. On many models this is the only reliable method for controlling the backlight. This series adds initial support for the gmux device, along with anciallary support for disabling apple_bl when the gmux device is detected. Initially only backlight control is supported."

This new driver was originally posted last month, but since then it's gone through three revisions. The version posted on Thursday was the third revision that incorporated various changes requested by other kernel developers.

The driver amounts to a little less than 300 lines of code, but nevertheless it's a welcome contribution. Hopefully the Apple GMUX driver will be able to make it into the Linux 3.4 kernel.

Aside from Apple laptops, there is Bumblebee for providing some NVIDIA Optimus support while we're still not yet to a decent point with GPU hot-plugging support under X and other features, but slowly moving towards that point with mainling GPU hot-plugging in X, DMA-BUF, PRIME, etc.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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