Even With MeeGo, Poulsbo & Moorestown Are Crap
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 3 June 2010 at 10:46 AM EDT. Add A Comment
MeeGo 1.0 was released last week and we found its netbook performance to be competitive and beat Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Moblin, and Fedora. While the performance of this joint project between Intel and Nokia may be nice, it doesn't improve the situation for the Poulsbo graphics situation under Linux.

For those not up to speed, the Intel Poulsbo graphics support has traditionally been a bloody mess under Linux with there being no open-source driver due to the graphics core being licensed from a third-party rather than developed in-house at Intel, the binary drivers are problematic with many distributions and can be even hard to get working, and there's an assortment of other problems. There was some open-source Poulsbo DRM for the Linux kernel, but even that was rejected by kernel developers.

There has been though a new Poulsbo driver that's up to speed with Gallium3D and should be better than the previous message. However, even with Intel's new Moorestown platform and their "Intel GMA 600" IGP they are continuing to license the PowerVR SGX 535 from Imagination Technologies, which makes this another Intel product with crippled Linux support. The GMA 600 "Moorestown" is just like the GMA 500 "Poulsbo", but with a slightly higher GPU core clock.

MeeGo 1.0 doesn't even ship with Poulsbo / Moorestown graphics support, but Matthew Garrett of Red Hat has been digging around. Matthew managed to find an updated Poulsbo driver in the MeeGo kernel tree that does provide the Moorestown / GMA 600 series support. This patch is derived from their PSB driver and it looks like Intel will try to push it into the Linux 2.6.35 kernel, but with their failed attempt in the past, it will be interesting to see if it works out this time.

This updated DRM driver can be found here and it supports the Poulsbo/Moorestown hardware with its Imagination graphics processor. Matthew thinks, "it stands pretty much no chance whatsoever of going mainline given that it's even more offensive than the previous version and that one got rejected out of hand."

Matthew also pointed out yet another Poulsbo driver as of last week that seems to target Poulsbo/Moorestown hardware for use within in-vehicle systems. This DRM driver is also a mess and based upon the patch line it sounds like Intel will never even attempt to get it into the mainline Linux kernel tree.

In other words, the Poulsbo (and now Moorestown) Linux situation is not better at all yet even with the emergence of MeeGo. Matthew Garrett's comments on the matter can be read on 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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