Intel Continues Work On Ivy Bridge Linux Graphics Support
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 22 June 2011 at 09:28 AM EDT. 14 Comments
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.
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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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