With the introduction of Intel's Poulsbo (GMA 500) chipset it marked a point at which Intel's Linux graphics support was no longer stellar, but as they had outsourced the graphics IP from Imagination Technologies, they could not provide an open-source driver stack like they do with their in-house IGPs. Not only was this Intel Poulsbo
Linux driver closed-source, but the level of support was appalling and it was a bloody mess
of a situation. The overall situation since has only become worse and even MeeGo (their own Linux OS) will be shipping without Intel's EMGD driver.
The Intel Poulsbo DRM was open-source, but it was rejected from the mainline Linux kernel
since the user-space X.Org Poulsbo driver remained a binary blob. This closed-source driver was really targeted and designed for the Moblin operating system, so often times it was difficult to get it running on other Linux distributions
(to this day the situation remains a mess). Even the popular Ubuntu Linux has suffered with its Poulsbo support
. Intel rolled out the GMA 600 "Moorestown" chipset with upgraded graphics capabilities earlier this year, but the situation is still crap
as it still uses the outsourced intellectual property: it's closed-source, not well supported across all the popular Linux distributions, and in comparison for many users it can even make the ATI Catalyst binary Linux driver look beautiful.
The situation with regards to Intel's blob drivers didn't improve with MeeGo
when Intel's Moblin was folded together with Nokia's Maemo platform. In fact, Intel is not even able to ship their own Linux driver for their own hardware with their MeeGo operating system
As was pointed out
in our forums this morning by a community member, Intel's Joel Clark has stated
that they will not be providing the EMGD graphics driver with MeeGo.
We have been testing MeeGo 10 IVI with the Intel EMGD graphic driver. Unfortunately the current license provided with the EMGD graphics driver by the business group providing this driver requires a Non-Disclosure Agreement. So we are unable to release MeeGo with the driver integrated.
The EMGD team maintains their support and download port on http://edc.intel.com.
We are waiting to see if/when this team will provide a driver with a license that allows free redistribution of the driver at which point we will look at options for including the driver with MeeGo IVI images.
The Intel EMGD driver is their embedded graphics driver for the Menlow and Tunnel Creek platforms. If you happen to use such hardware, this driver will not be bundled with your operating system -- even if using Intel's MeeGo Linux or its IVI spin. Moblin/MeeGo has shipped with some binary-only bits, but under Intel's own EMGD driver licensing terms, this isn't even possible in its current form. Last month at the LinuxTag conference in Berlin, Dirk Hohndel, Intel's Chief Linux and Open Source Technologist, when talking about MeeGo made it sound like their embedded graphics driver situation could potentially improve, but so far it's not looking that way.