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The DRM Pull Request For Linux 3.2 Kernel

Linux Kernel

Published on 28 October 2011 05:09 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
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David Airlie sent in the main DRM pull request for the Linux 3.2 kernel to Linus Torvalds.

The DRM pull request pretty much consists of what I wrote about at the beginning of October.

There's a new driver to the DRM subsystem in Linux 3.2 and it's the Samsung Exynos SoC driver. This DRM driver is only for the Exynos 4210 SoC at the moment. It supports kernel mode-setting, but doesn't expose any 2D/3D hardware acceleration or any user-space interfaces. Samsung doesn't have a full open-source driver stack for this ARM SoC, so the capabilities of this driver just come down to mode-setting in the kernel right now. Samsung has been working on this driver for a while.

Texas Instruments is also preparing its own DRM/KMS driver for their OMAP hardware, but that's still being revised and hasn't been pulled into the tree quite yet. It also lacks accelerated hardware support, but has KMS and an accompanying X.Org DDX driver.

The VMware driver has a number of changes. Notably though the "vmwgfx" DRM driver, which is used by the Gallium3D user-space driver for providing acceleration support to VMware virtual machine guests and then passed on to the host system, is leaving the staging area with the Linux 3.2 kernel. The VMware DRM driver has been in the mainline tree for quite a while now, but it's been in the staging area due to API/ABI breaks. Now that it's in the main DRM tree, VMware is committing to maintain its ABI. Now that this driver is out of staging, hopefully it and its Gallium3D component (with a vmwgfx-supportive libdrm) will be found in upcoming Linux desktop distributions. This will make for a better out-of-the-box experience when using VMware's virtualization products.

The Nouveau driver for community-provided open-source NVIDIA support has a rewrite of the DisplayPort output handling. There's also "0xd9" GPU mode-setting code. The NVD9/GF119 GPUs are found in the GeForce 410M, GeForce GT 520, GeForce GT 520M, and GeForce 520MX. It's also in the workstation-grade Quadro NVS4200M.

While the GeForce 400/500 "Fermi" graphics cards have had KMS and 2D/3D acceleration already, these latest NVD9 chipsets haven't been supported until recently. It's believed the mode-setting and parts of its engine are derived from the next-generation NVIDIA "Kepler" GPU.

What is sadly missing from the Linux 3.2 kernel for the Nouveau driver is Fermi re-clocking support (so it can run at its optimal frequencies when under load) and any improved power management (or fan management) support. There is work though in this direction by Ben Skeggs with some commits relating to NVC0/Fermi for getting the clock speeds and other things. There's also some improved parsing/re-clocking for NVA3 (some GPUs in the GeForce 200 series) and other changes.

In Nouveau for Linux 3.2 isn't also any major breakthroughs on the Nouveau work for MXM/Optimus support nor merging of TimeGraph as a GPU command scheduler.

The Radeon DRM in the Linux 3.2 kernel also isn't too exciting. There's general fixes and improvements, but nothing too exciting besides some blit speed-ups.

Within the Intel DRM driver there are Apple MacBook Air fixes for its Sandy Bridge graphics along with some stabilization fixes from Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The 3.2 kernel should also enable RC6 support for Sandy Bridge.

The Direct Rendering Manager pull request for the Linux 3.2-rc1 kernel can be found on the mailing list with a full log of all the changes over Linux 3.1.

In related Linux graphics news, the Intel Poulsbo (GMA500) driver that supports Cedarview/Moorestown/Medfield hardware also continues advancing, albeit without hardware acceleration. Among other work is re-factoring the encoder and connector handling (this patch series) so that some portions of the code can be more easily copied from Intel's i915 DRM driver -- in the few areas where there are similarities.

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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