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Intel Lines Up Graphics Changes For Linux 3.5

Intel

Published on 10 April 2012 08:21 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel
2 Comments

While we're still several weeks out from even seeing the release of the Linux 3.4 kernel, Intel's developers working on their open-source Linux graphics driver stack have already begun planning their merge of changes for the Linux 3.5 kernel.

In the never-ending cycle of getting excited about the hardware driver changes for the Linux kernel release after the next, the Linux 3.5 kernel shouldn't be any different with already a number of Intel graphics driver enhancements being set for merging. Per Daniel Vetter's email from a few days ago, below are the items the Intel OTC developer has collected so far in his "-next" tree, which will then hit the DRM sub-system in Linux 3.5.

- The first set of Haswell (HSW) enabling patches. Intel began publishing their Haswell graphics code in March and now have initial enablement of their next-generation CPUs within the Linux kernel DRM and Mesa. Haswell will succeed the soon-to-launch Ivy Bridge CPUs, but the HSW CPUs aren't being launched until 2013. There's already Haswell compiler optimizations and on the graphics side these open-source driver pieces are starting to fall into place. I'm told there's still some "magic sauce" providing optimizations for Haswell going into the driver stack coming up, but the initial support is in place and it's working on Intel's early silicon.

- The first set of Valleyview (VLV) enabling patches. Intel Valleyview is the next-generation Intel Atom SoC. What makes this next-gen hardware extremely interesting and special is that it abandons the Imagination Technologies' PowerVR SGX graphics and moves back into an in-house Intel design. In particular, VLV is using a graphics core derived from Ivy Bridge. Phoronix broke this exclusive story last month about Valley View and now we're extremely excited to see the hardware in action either by the end of this year or early next year. PowerVR Linux (and Windows) drivers have been closed-source and quite troublesome so it's excellent to see Intel Valleyview.

- Various code clean-ups caused by the new hardware enablement of Haswell and Valleyview.

- PWRITE/PREAD re-work and speed-ups.

- Less mappable pressure and relocation optimizations.

- mmap_offset exhaustion mitigation support.

- More GMBUS clean-ups and fixes. Intel GMBUS is also enabled for the crusty "Gen2" hardware now.

- A start at figuring out what code of the GEM+UMS/KMS/DRI1 code-base is actually supported by disallowing those kernel ioctls.

So the Valleyview/Haswell pull for the Linux 3.5 kernel is what's most exciting, but there's also some other worthwhile clean-ups and optimizations for the Intel DRM driver too. This is only the start of the Linux 3.5 work and there will likely be more changes accumulating in the coming weeks.

Now stay tuned to Phoronix as there will be launch-day Intel Ivy Bridge benchmarks this month under Linux with the latest open-source driver code. Until then, you can finish up going through the Linux Foundation Summit coverage from last week.

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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