The X.Org, Mesa Plans For Ubuntu 10.10
The talk at the Ubuntu Developer Summit surrounding the X.Org plans for Ubuntu 10.10 just wrapped up. Compared to the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS release, Ubuntu 10.10 should provide a much more recent and up-to-date graphics experience.
Plans for Ubuntu 10.10 "Maverick Meerkat" already include shipping with the Linux 2.6.35 kernel, which is wonderful on many different fronts except for the time it may take to support within the ATI Catalyst Linux driver. This means Ubuntu Maverick users will get all of the DRM advancements made in the Linux 2.6.34 kernel like initial Radeon KMS power management and also some of the DRM improvements that are expected to me merged into the Linux 2.6.35 kernel when its development commences in a few weeks. Some of the Direct Rendering Manager improvements that are likely to be integrated into the Linux 2.6.35 kernel include H.264 VA-API support for Intel Clarkdale/Arrandale ASICs, Radeon HD 5000 / Evergreen improvements, Radeon DRI2 swap and sync support, and better ATI Radeon power management support.
With Ubuntu 10.10 not being a Long-Term Support (LTS) release for Canonical, they are open to shipping X.Org Server 1.9 assuming it is released in August. However, should this release be delayed, they will be either shipping an X.Org Server 1.8 point release or a 1.9 snapshot / release candidate. Ubuntu 10.04 LTS ships with X.Org Server 1.7.6.
When it comes to the Mesa stack, they are considering Mesa 7.9 if it is looking like it will be quite stable or if the 7.9.1 release will be made available with adequate time prior to Maverick's October release. Otherwise a Mesa 7.8 point release will be used. Mesa 7.9 may also mark the point where the ATI R300 "Classic Mesa" driver is swapped out by default to the R300g Gallium3D driver. If Ubuntu 10.10 is shipping with Mesa 7.9 and that change occurs, Ubuntu developers will be going through with the switch to Gallium3D.
In terms of Nouveau support in Mesa on Ubuntu, Fedora developers began making this an option with Fedora 13 and our Nouveau benchmarks already show it running fairly well. However, for Ubuntu 10.10 they are not looking at providing Nouveau 3D support by default. A separate Mesa driver package may be available from the Ubuntu Universe repository that would offer the option of installing the Nouveau OpenGL support. It was just with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS that they even enabled the Nouveau KMS driver by default for NVIDIA hardware.
While the X.Org DDX drivers aren't as imporant anymore with much of the work going on within the DRM/KMS drivers, these versions too were discussed during this X.Org meeting. Ubuntu 10.10 will likely continue to receive an updated xf86-video-ati Git snapshot, xf86-video-nouveau should have a Git snapshot too unless a stable release is made available, and xf86-video-intel will be at version 2.11 or potentially 2.12. The Intel DDX driver update means that they will be saying farewell to any user-space mode-setting support from this driver so those with ancient Intel i8xx hardware will be dropped down to using the VESA driver in poorly supported configurations or a xf86-video-intel 2.9 release bearing UMS support may be available through the universe repository.
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