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Non-Linux OSes Still Playing In An Intel UMS World

Intel

Published on 03 April 2012 12:59 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel
18 Comments

While Intel has a lot of interesting work going on right now within their Linux kernel DRM driver and elsewhere within their open-source graphics stack, operating systems like OpenIndiana/Illumos and FreeBSD are still catching up, but they're still a ways off.

Pushed out yesterday was an updated Intel graphics driver for the OpenSolaris-derived OpenIndiana. This new Intel X.Org driver is derived from xf86-video-intel 2.9.1... Yes, what was released as upstream in October 2009 while the latest Linux users are now running xf86-video-intel 2.18.0 with many, many features and changes since that point.

OpenIndiana is still shipping xf86-video-intel 2.9.x drivers since that was their latest driver supporting UMS. The xf86-video-intel 2.10.0 driver stripped away the user-space mode-setting support and is strictly dependent upon KMS (kernel mode-setting) support. With OpenIndiana still not having mainline Intel KMS support, they're left out in the dust with a sharply outdated Intel DDX driver.

At least this isn't a vanilla xf86-video-intel 2.9.1 driver, but layered on top of this Solaris graphics driver is support for some newer hardware past the Q4'2009 point. The driver uploaded yesterday is what provides Intel Sandy Bridge graphics support while still being UMS-only.

With this 2.9.1 offshoot is now Intel hardware support from the i8xx series through Sandy Bridge. However, besides this newer hardware support being UMS-only, there isn't VA-API video acceleration support, no 3D acceleration, or any other advanced features. There is also a 2.18-derived Intel Solaris driver, but that requires the kernel-side driver support that isn't mainline on their end, which also lags behind the mainline Linux kernel Intel DRM driver.

Oracle does have Intel KMS support with Solaris 11, but alas it hasn't made it into OpenIndiana. There's also been some independent KMS-porting OpenIndiana/Illumos efforts too, but nothing that has apparently made it into their mainline kernel.

Those wanting to check out the updated Intel OpenIndiana driver can find it in this bug report.

Over in the FreeBSD world, they're still porting Intel KMS to the FreeBSD kernel. The KMS port is sponsored by the FreeBSD Foundation but is just about the Intel DRM driver and GEM memory management, but not TTM or the Radeon or Nouveau graphics drivers. Hopefully we'll see Intel KMS support materialize properly for FreeBSD 10.0.

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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