Intel's Linux DRM Driver Plans For 2013
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 7 February 2013 at 06:19 AM EST. 5 Comments
Daniel Vetter of Intel's Open-Source Technology Center talked this weekend about recent and future improvements being worked on for the company's open-source DRM graphics kernel driver.

Talking at FOSDEM 2013 during the X.Org development track last weekend in Brussels, Vetter talked about some of the improvements and changes made to the Intel Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) component over the last year and some of what's left ahead.

The Phoronix recording of the Intel DRM wrangler talking about the work is embedded below while up before that are some of the highlights.

- The i915 DRM has good reputation for regressions and problems, but in the past year 500~600 known bugs have been fixed while there's still around 150 open bug reports. Good bug reporting has improved this.

- Recently there's been new Intel mode-setting code with simplified DPMS support, mode-set driven sequence driven by the CRTC, output state staging, and Haswell DisplayPort support. DRM helpers are also now in a good state.

- There's also been EDID improvements with hot-plug support still being somewhat of a mess.

- Some of the future Intel Linux mode-setting work will involve atomic mode-setting and Fastboot.

- Some of the GEM (Graphics Execution Manager) highlights talked about were lots of little tuning, hardware context support, cacheability control (largely for SNA in the xf86-video-intel DDX). Stream-out support also ushers in the forthcoming OpenGL Geometry Shaders support.

- In the Linux 3.9 kernel will be a no-reloc optimization that for some workloads may yield a few percent gain.

- Some other future GEM work includes real per-process address spaces (for Ivy Bridge and newer), user pointer support, and more fine-grained locking (per-object locks). DMA_BUF support for fences and reservations is also outstanding for mainline.

- It was during this talk that Daniel shared the head count for Intel OTC graphics for the number of developers Intel has working on this open-source driver.

The overall summary during the presentation came down to the kernel driver of Intel's Linux graphics stack having fewer bugs, improved mode-setting infrastructure, Fastboot and atomic mode-setting are coming, GEM memory management continues to be tuned, and big changes concerning the DMA_BUF buffer sharing infrastructure are ahead.

Vetter has also posted his FOSDEM 2013 presentation slides to his blog.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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