Intel's current-generation "Sandy Bridge" processors continue to sell incredibly well and perform phenomenally relative to AMD's current offerings and Intel's previous-generation hardware. Under Linux, the Sandy Bridge support is now excellent if pulling in the latest components (namely the Linux kernel, xf86-video-intel, and Mesa) and only continues to be improved over time with advancements like their new driver acceleration architecture
. By year's end, Intel is expected to launch their "Ivy Bridge" processors as the successor to Sandy Bridge. Intel is already preparing the Ivy Bridge Linux support code.
We have reported on Phoronix since January that Intel will work on timely Linux hardware enablement for Ivy Bridge
after the Sandy Bridge support was there at launch, but not found "out of the box" in major Linux distributions of the time. There were also a few support bugs with the SNB Linux driver.
In early May, Intel pushed the first Ivy Bridge (IVB) Linux driver code for the integrated graphics support when they pushed the DDX support
into the xf86-video-intel Git tree. Shortly after that, they committed Ivy Bridge support to Mesa
for 3D acceleration. On the kernel side, the first bits of Intel Ivy Bridge code will be in the Linux 3.0 kernel.
While the initial Ivy Bridge code has been out there for over one month, Intel's developers have continued working on making the support quite fit. This month their developers have added page flipping support
for IVB. The Ivy Bridge KMS page flipping support is quite a small DRM patch and is queued up for the Linux 3.1 kernel due to the merge window having been closed for a few weeks already on Linux 3.0.
Just this morning, another Intel developer has pushed patches
that enable X-Video support for Ivy Bridge in the DDX driver. The VA-API IVB support will be much more interesting though when that lands compared to the feature-limited X-Video.
Additionally, there's also been other features in IVB hardware enabelement that have been tacked on this month. One of the recent additions is this patch
for enabling GPU reset support for the Ivy Bridge kernel driver.
With this work being queued up for the Linux 3.1 kernel, it will be interesting to see if Canonical back-ports this work to Ubuntu 11.10 or not, which is looking to ship with the Linux 3.0 release. Red Hat surely will have the latest graphics code in place for Fedora 16, but depending upon whether Canonical plans to pull in DRM changes from the 3.1 kernel to their 3.0 Oneiric kernel, we could see poor "out of the box" support for the Intel Ivy Bridge hardware at launch.