This weekend in Brussels I heard about the state of Intel's initiative for migrating to an LLVM-based shader compiler for their open-source Mesa 3D driver to replace their existing custom compiler embedded within the driver. Unfortunately, the state of this LLVM-based compiler is rather meager.
It was revealed today at the Free Open-Source Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) that Intel through their Open-Source Technology Center is currently over two dozen full-time graphics driver developers. They're also looking to hiring more developers.
When it comes to Intel hardware enablement on Linux, most of what's been talked about lately is the Haswell support for the soon-to-be-launched processors. However, the Valley View support on Linux is still being worked on for the next-generation Atom SoC that boasts in-house Intel HD graphics.
After releasing nearly two dozen point releases in the xf86-video-intel 2.20.x series, the xf86-video-intel 2.21 X.Org driver was christened on Friday. There's a few notable additions to this 2.21 Intel open-source driver update for Intel hardware Linux customers.
TianoCore, the open-source UEFI implementation backed by Intel that was just talked about in Google Pushes "Project PIANO" Into Coreboot, already has support for Intel's yet-to-be-released Broadwell and Bay Trail processors.
Another patch landed in mainline Mesa today that's capable of providing a small performance boost for some OpenGL workloads with Intel's open-source Linux graphics driver.
Zhang Rui of Intel is working on supporting the PM_SUSPEND_FREEZE power management suspend state for their open-source Linux graphics driver. This PM suspend state has some benefits over other current power states but also some shortcomings.
Chris Wilson of Intel's Open-Source Technology Center has shared some early performance results of an experimental multi-threaded software rasterizer for Cairo's image back-end that can accommodate multi-threading.
Intel will be introducing their Haswell processors in the coming months. If using the Linux 3.8 kernel, GCC 4.7/4.8, Mesa 9.1, and other recent open-source Linux packages, you should be mostly set for experiencing the full benefits of the Ivy Bridge successor. However, there's still a few pieces of Haswell's Linux support still being worked out.
Intel has begun publishing Linux kernel patches to enable hardware support for their next-generation Avoton System-on-a-Chip. Avoton will be found in future low-power Atom offerings.
SNA, Intel's newest acceleration architecture for their open-source X.Org graphics driver, continues to receive improvements on a near daily basis.
Chris Wilson has shared his testing experience of Cairo with NVIDIA ION hardware on the open-source Nouveau driver and the closed-source NVIDIA blob. In certain situations, the Cairo performance does better with Nouveau than the official NVIDIA Linux driver.
In addition to the Intel driver now always enabling floating-point textures, a patented feature but something that's required for GL3 compliance, the Intel DRI driver is set to play better with S3TC, the also patent-troubled but widely-used S3 Texture Compression.
Intel's Mesa DRI driver now is unconditionally enabling floating-point textures. Up to this point, the floating-point textures feature of GL3 hasn't been enabled by default due to patent worries.
On Sunday was the release of the xf86-video-intel 2.20.19 DDX driver. This is the 19th point release in the long-standing Intel X.Org 2.20 series that's been largely led by Chris Wilson out of Intel OTC.
Intel's Mesa DRI driver received a new patch this weekend that's capable of enhancing the open-source graphics driver's performance for some OpenGL games.
With we are only about half-way through the development of the Linux 3.8 kernel, there's already exciting features beginning to enter the development spotlight for Linux 3.9. One of the features coming to the Linux 3.9 kernel will be grand changes to the very common "HDA Intel" audio codec drivers.
Last week I wrote about Beignet as Intel's OpenCL Linux implementation for "Ivy Bridge" hardware. While the code was recently open-sourced, the future direction of this project is unknown.
Chris Wilson of Intel OTC has released yet another X.Org driver update in the xf86-video-intel 2.20 series. This latest DDX update does bring rendering improvements plus fixes for various performance regressions.
For the open-source Radeon and Nouveau graphics drivers on Linux, OpenCL/GPGPU support has been implemented via the "Clover" OpenCL state tracker with the Radeon/Nouveau drivers built atop the Gallium3D driver architecture. While Intel's latest hardware supports OpenCL with its graphics core, their open-source Linux driver has lacked any support, but that is changing.
For developers looking to get into Linux graphics driver programming or just wanting to know how Intel's Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) works within the Linux kernel, here's a guide.
Ubuntu developers are still deciding whether they will enable support for the Intel SNA "Sandy Bridge New Acceleration" architecture within Ubuntu 13.04, the next release of the Linux operating system.
Intel is still working on some minor xf86-video-intel driver changes to address stability issues for the very old i830GM and i845G chipsets. A new Intel X.Org driver update was released on Wednesday to take care of more changes.
Cilk Plus is one of the Intel initiatives to advance multi-threaded parallel programming by providing a set of C/C++ programming language extensions similar in nature to OpenMP. While Intel has had open-source Cilk Plus code for months, the compiler support has yet to be picked up by GCC.
Intel's TurboStat utility that's part of the Linux kernel is now capable of reading the wattage and temperature for modern Intel processors.
While Intel finally has stable i830/i845 graphics support for the decade-old Intel hardware that was notorious in recent years on Linux since the GEM/KMS migration, the 2D acceleration support is "nothing but misery" as described by an open-source Intel Linux developer.
When running some OpenGL performance benchmarks this week of the Radeon driver using "drm-next" code that's set to be merged into the Linux 3.8 kernel, some significant performance improvements were discovered thanks to AMD's code contribution. Curious to see if the Intel graphics performance is likely to change, I also ran some drm-next Linux benchmarks from an Intel Sandy Bridge system.
While the Intel 830GM and 845G chipsets were first introduced more than one decade ago, their graphics driver support has been botched for much of the time. As of today though, Intel Linux driver developers think they have taken care of the longstanding stability issues with this now ancient hardware.
In prior years there was the i965g driver that was developed independent of Intel and was targeting an open-source Gallium3D driver for Intel's newer chipsets. But unlike the i915g that was developed similar in nature, the i965g driver really never reached a working state and was ultimately removed. There is now a brand new "i965g" Gallium3D driver that is targeting support for Intel Sandy Bridge "Gen6" graphics and newer.
ETC2, the new royalty-free texture compression method that's required by OpenGL ES 3.0, now has support within mainline Mesa. However, for now this ETC2 support is limited to the Intel DRI driver.
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