1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking Benchmarking Platform
Phoromatic Test Orchestration

Thunderbolt Still Has Problems For Linux

Hardware

Published on 20 June 2013 05:34 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware
22 Comments

While the popularity and future of the Apple/Intel Thunderbolt interface can be debated, the current state of Thunderbolt on Linux still leaves a fair amount to be desired. While on the state of Linux hardware support, the Google Chromebook Pixel does work with modern Linux distributions, but not all support has been perfected.

Greg Kroah-Hartman has written a new blog post this afternoon entitled Hardware, past, present, and future. In the post he says a few things about the state of Linux hardware support, which is summarized below.

- Greg KH calls Thunderbolt technology as "dead" and compares its adoption to Firewire, but the current state of Thunderbolt on Linux is less than desirable. The state of Thunderbolt on Apple hardware with Linux is particularly bad, "It turns out that that Apple, in their infinite wisdom, doesn't follow the specification, but rather, they require a kernel driver to do all of the work that the BIOS is supposed to be doing. This works out well for them as they can share the same code from their BIOS with their kernel, but for any other operating system, that doesn't know how to talk directly to the hardware at that level, you are out of luck. So, no Thunderbolt support on Apple hardware for Linux (at least through May 2013, maybe newer models will change this, but I'm not counting on it.)...Note, all of this is for Thunderbolt the PCI interconnect, not the video connection. That works just fine on Linux as it isn't PCI Express, but just a video pass-through. No problems there." (Though even on the video side, there's been Intel Thunderbolt video problems with Linux.)

- Greg has been using the Chromebook Pixel from Google and really enjoys its screen as well as the Atheros-based WiFi, the fast Intel CPU, and it's the best presentation laptop he's ever used.

- Current Linux shortcomings with the Google Chromebook Pixel include suspend/resume not working until the Linux 3.10 kernel, the resume mode throttles the CPU but is also fixed in Linux 3.10, keyboard backlights don't survive suspend/resume (might be fixed for Linux 3.11), and the PgUp/PgDown/Home/End/Delete keys don't work without an out-of-tree kernel patch.

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 .
Latest Linux News
  1. KDE Marks Four Years In Its Process Of Porting To Wayland
  2. Btrfs In Linux 4.2 Brings Quota Updates, Many Fixes
  3. Latest Rumor Pegs Microsoft Wanting To Buy AMD
  4. The Next-Gen Phoronix Site Experience Is Almost Ready
  5. Exciting Features Merged So Far For The Linux 4.2 Kernel
  6. Mesa 10.6.1 Brings A Bug-Fix For Dota 2 Reborn
  7. DragonFlyBSD 4.2 Released: Brings Improved Graphics & New Compiler
  8. Wine-Staging 1.7.46 Improves The OS X Experience
  9. The State & Complications Of Porting The Unity Editor To Linux
  10. Libreboot Now Supports An AMD/ASUS Motherboard
Latest Articles & Reviews
  1. How KDE VDG Is Trying To Make Open-Source Software Beautiful
  2. Attempting To Try Out BCache On The Linux 4.1 Kernel
  3. CompuLab's Fitlet Is A Very Tiny, Fanless, Linux PC With AMD A10 Micro
  4. AMD A10-7870K Godavari: RadeonSI Gallium3D vs. Catalyst Linux Drivers
Most Viewed News This Week
  1. Kubuntu 15.10 Could Be The End Of The Road
  2. Linus Is Looking Forward To Merging KDBUS, But Not Convinced By Performance
  3. NVIDIA Starts Supplying Open-Source Hardware Reference Headers
  4. KDBUS Won't Be Pushed Until The Linux 4.3 Kernel
  5. Linux 4.2 Kernel Gets Port To New Processor Architecture
  6. The Staging Pull For Linux 4.2: "Big, Really Big"
  7. SteamOS "Brewmaster" Is Valve's New Debian 8.1 Based Version
  8. EXT4 Has Many Cleanups & Fixes For Linux 4.2