Exciting Graphics Driver Changes Coming In Linux 3.19
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 7 December 2014 at 09:05 AM EST. Add A Comment
LINUX KERNEL --
With Linux 3.18 likely coming out today, we can begin focusing more of our attention and testing on the code that will become the Linux 3.19 kernel over the weeks ahead. Once again, when it comes to the DRM graphics driver changes, there's lots of exciting improvements.


Linux 3.18 has a lot of great stuff, but among the Linux 3.19 improvements when it comes to the DRM subsystem will be:

- Intel Skylake graphics support! The late 2015 successor to Broadwell will see its initial hardware enablement with Linux 3.19. There's already been DRM and Mesa code for Skylake floating around for months now while with Linux 3.19 the first kernel bits are landing. Of course, we're still waiting for Broadwell hardware to appear at scale, so there's still much time that the Intel OTC team has to optimize Skylake support before it actually becomes important to end-users.

- The AMDKFD driver has landed. This is the kernel driver necessary for AMD's open-source HSA environment on Linux. The AMDKFD driver can be used with AMD's other new open-source code on Kaveri APUs with the RadeonSI Gallium3D + LLVM stack to produce a nice working HSA setup with OpenCL kernels.

- Nouveau started working on GM204 Maxwell support, a.k.a. the GeForce GTX 970/980 graphics card support. However, there is no hardware acceleration exposed in Linux 3.19 for these brand new GPUs as they are still waiting on NVIDIA to release them the necessary signed firmware/microcode images. Nouveau in Linux 3.19 also has Tegra K1 voltage support, GT21x memory r e-clocking work, and prep work for some larger projects that didn't make the cut for Linux 3.19.

- The Intel driver starts cutting out the DRI1 and user-space mode-setting (UMS) support. There's also tons of other Intel changes scattered about.

- DPM fan control support in the Radeon DRM for AMD SI/CI GPUs. There's also various Radeon fixes. There's also TTM performance improvements.

While that's a lot of great stuff for Linux 3.19, sadly it's not all we were hoping for... The new AMDGPU driver hasn't yet premiered as needed for AMD's new unified Linux driver for the Radeon R9 285 Tonga and future GPUs. That won't come until at least Linux 3.20. The major Intel performance breakthrough patch discovered by LunarG and Intel also hasn't yet been published. Last I heard from LunarG is that this patch might first appear in SteamOS and that they were still working around this patch breaking video acceleration support.
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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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