Intel PPGTT Called Upon For Pulling Into The Kernel
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 7 December 2013 at 08:48 AM EST. Add A Comment
Ben Widawsky has been working on PPGTT support for a while now with the open-source Intel Linux graphics driver and he's now called upon for the support to be pulled into the next kernel release.

PPGTT is short for the Per-Process Graphics Translation Tables. PPGTT is a feature supported by Intel's Ivy Bridge, Haswell, and Broadwell graphics processors for enabling GPU process isolation. This enhances the security by providing a per file descriptor address space / context.

Every context gets its own address space and every open DRM fd gets its own context, which means better security and correctness, while there's some other minor driver-level advantages but the performance isn't expected to be hugely different.

Per-Process Graphics Translation Tables support will also require minor changes to the Intel graphics driver user-space components, which will likely happen only after the kernel-side changes have landed. The PPGTT support looks like it's finally baked for going into the Linux 3.14 kernel so the libdrm, Mesa, xf86-video-intel, and intel-gpu-tools changes will follow.

Landing PPGTT support is quite huge as it's taken several months of work by Ben Widawsky and other Intel Open-Source Technology Center developers. The work is spread across 47 patches that touch more than one thousand lines of the i915 DRM driver code in total.

The pull request with additional information on Per-Process Graphics Translation Tables can be found via the intel-gfx mailing list.
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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 Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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