Just yesterday morning we reported on hybrid graphics coming to Linux in a crude form, which allowed dual-GPU notebook systems to switch between the onboard GPUs via a kernel patch but what made it crude was that it wasn't seamless switching within the running X.Org Server (it won't be this way for some time) and it didn't actually turn off the other GPU when the other one was in use. In the past 24 hours, however, David Airlie has published three new versions of this Linux kernel patch.
While the support for graphics processors on Linux in the free software stack has improved a lot over Linux, there still are entire areas of support missing, such as with supporting NVIDIA's SLI or AMD's CrossFire technologies. Additionally, NVIDIA and AMD as well as Intel have been plopping dual GPUs into notebooks. This is not to split the rendering workload, but rather to allow one lower-powered GPU to be utilized when not in engaging in any vigorous tasks and then another performance-oriented GPU to be utilized when such speed is needed. This solution basically provides the best of both words of having maximum battery life but fast performance when needed. However, Linux has not supported this hybrid / switchable graphics technology at all.
Linus has put out the Linux 2.6.33-rc6 kernel release. This release candidate for the Linux 2.6.33 kernel is on time arriving precisely one week after the Linux 2.6.33-rc5 release.
The latest release candidate for Linux 2.6.33 kernel is now available and that's Linux 2.6.33-rc5. The Linux 2.6.33-rc5 kernel delivers on eDP (embedded Display Port) support for Intel's DRM/KMS driver (the open-source ATI stack also has eDP) and the DVB "Mantis" driver has moved forward in the mainline kernel. The Mantis chipset that has been around for a while is popular on many DVB boards, but now it's supported in the mainline Linux 2.6.33 kernel.
With Ubuntu 10.04 basing off the Linux 2.6.32 kernel and this distribution release being a Long-Term Support (LTS) release that will be maintained longer than normal Ubuntu releases -- and other vendors using the Linux 2.6.32 kernel for their enterprise updates too -- this kernel will live on longer as well.
One week after pushing out the third release candidate for the Linux 2.6.33 kernel, Linus Torvalds has issued the fourth release candidate. In his mailing list announcement, Linus characterizes the Linux 2.6.33-rc4 kernel as being an "odd release" as a bulk of the changes "all pretty unusual." What got changed? Well, lots of new Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) code ended up getting pulled.
As the first post-holiday kernel update, Linus Torvalds has put out the Linux 2.6.33-rc3 kernel release. This new release candidate for the Linux 2.6.33 kernel brings in some EXT4 file-system updates, switching the recommended IEEE-1394 Firewire stack to the new stack, various driver updates, and much more.
As a Christmas (or holiday) gift to all Linux users, Linus Torvalds last night put out the Linux 2.6.33-rc2 kernel release. This is the second release candidate since the closing of the Linux 2.6.33 kernel merge window, that brought the long-awaited Nouveau driver, many other graphics improvements, and other exciting changes.
Linus Torvalds has just announced that the merge window for the Linux 2.6.33 kernel has closed and as a result he has pushed out Linux 2.6.33-rc1. The first release candidate for Linux 2.6.33 delivers on a plethora of new code, including the long-awaited Nouveau driver (which Linus mentions in the 2.6.33-rc1 announcement) and many graphics DRM improvements. Among the DRM changes to be delivered by the Linux 2.6.33 kernel include Radeon HDMI audio, R600/700 IRQ support, the KMS page-flipping ioctl, VMware's new driver, Intel driver improvements, and many core enhancements to the Direct Rendering Manager.
The Direct Rendering Manager code in the Linux 2.6.33 kernel has received many improvements including the KMS page-flipping ioctl, DisplayPort monitor support for ATI KMS, R600/700 interrupts support, support for unreleased Intel IGPs, and many other changes. Coming after this initial pull request was also the Nouveau DRM driver and VMware's vmwgfx DRM driver. The graphics fun for the Linux 2.6.33 kernel though is not yet over.
David Airlie has just called upon Linus Torvalds to pull in the latest DRM patches for inclusion into the Linux 2.6.33 kernel. The Direct Rendering Manager improvements in this next kernel release will be particularly interesting and are perhaps as significant as earlier kernels that had introduced kernel mode-setting support for Intel and ATI/AMD hardware along with in-kernel memory management. The changes that the Linux 2.6.33 kernel will bring are aplenty and will impact almost all of those using an open-source graphics driver stack.
VMware is preparing to propose that its "vmwgfx" DRM kernel driver be pushed into the mainline DRM tree and in turn will then be pulled into the mainline Linux kernel -- as soon as the Linux 2.6.33 kernel. VMware's Jakob Bornecrantz (formerly of Tungsten Graphics) is calling for comments on the two patches that introduce the vmwgfx C header file and then the Direct Rendering Manager code itself. This code will initially be put into the kernel's staging tree and then in a release or two should be found within the main DRM directory.
Just as planned, Linux 2.6.32-rc8 was the last test release and the final Linux 2.6.32 kernel is now available as of last night.
Kristian Høgsberg on the 6th of November had wrote a message on the DRI development list regarding the libdrm repository. With so much of the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) work going straight into the Linux kernel -- thanks in large part to all of the work on memory management and kernel mode-setting -- Kristian proposed that the DRM driver code be removed from the separate DRM Git tree. With this message, Kristian created a new DRM repository that dropped all of the linux-core, bsd-core, and shared-core code. Seems simple and straightforward, right? Well, three weeks later with dozens of replies, this change is continuing to cause debate.
Linus Torvalds this afternoon put out the Linux 2.6.32-rc8 kernel release. The Linux 2.6.32 kernel, which brings 3D DRM and KMS support for ATI R600/700 GPUs, new wireless drivers, an improved VIA frame-buffer, and other improvements, is getting ready for release. Linus expects 2.6.32-rc8 to be the last release candidate if all goes according to plan.
While there is already work building up for the Linux 2.6.33 kernel like the just talked about KMS page-flipping ioctl, we are still in the middle of the Linux 2.6.32 development cycle. Linus Torvalds has just issued the 2.6.32-rc7 release after it was delayed by another serious -- but now fixed -- regression (this time in the resume support).
Being worked on for the past several months by Kristian Høgsberg and other developers has been the KMS page-flipping ioctl, which makes it possible for kernel mode-setting drivers to benefit from tear-free updating of the screen with low-latency page-flipping. This kernel DRM ioctl is also a requirement for the Wayland Display Server. The page-flipping ioctl should have made it into the Linux 2.6.32 kernel, but it didn't end up happening due to some last minute work.
The Linux 2.6.32-rc5 kernel was released over two weeks ago, but it was not until today that 2.6.32-rc6 was tagged. This is not because of Linus's affection towards Windows 7, but rather the Linux Kernel Summit that was taking place in Tokyo and a nasty data-loss-causing EXT4 regression had to be tracked down and addressed. Linux 2.6.32-rc6 is available though right now and it carries a good number of changes considering the time-span between releases, including some regression fixes that were introduced during the 2.6.31 cycle and various driver updates.
One of the interesting features of Mac OS X is its "universal binaries" feature that allows a single binary file to run natively on both PowerPC and Intel x86 platforms. While this comes at a cost of a larger binary file, it's convenient on the end-user and on software vendors for distributing their applications. While Linux has lacked such support for fat binaries, Ryan Gordon has decided this should be changed. This professional game porter has created the FatELF project, which basically brings the universal binaries feature to Linux. The FatELF file format allows multiple binaries for different architectures to be embedded into a single file. Ryan may take this even further by introducing the ability for Solaris and FreeBSD binaries to be embedded into a FatELF as well.
The Linux 2.6.32-rc4 kernel was released merely four days ago, but as planned, the Linux 2.6.32-rc5 kernel is now available. This release candidate that just accumulates four days worth of patches is coming due to the annual Linux kernel summit that is coming up and will take Linus Torvalds and other key kernel developers away for a few days. Most of the changes though in Linux 2.6.32-rc5 come down to driver changes, with the addition of two new network drivers (stmmac and vmxnet3) and then various other updates.
As another Sunday release, Linus has made the Linux 2.6.32-rc4 kernel release. 60% of the patch for this release is the result of the addition of a single new SCSI FC driver. Linus refers to this SCSI driver as being "huge and bloated", but he has vowed not to merge "drivers-from-hell" anymore. The remainder of Linux 2.6.32-rc4 is made up of driver updates and Blackfin architecture updates. Worth noting from on the DRM side is that the ATI kernel mode-setting improvements talked about a few days ago were merged into this release candidate for Linux 2.6.32.
Linus Torvalds has a week after the release of Linux 2.6.32-rc1, a new release candidate for this Linux kernel is available. However, it's not Linux 2.6.32-rc2 but actually Linux 2.6.32-rc3, due to a bug in the -rc1 "Makefile" calling it actually -rc2 at the time. Anyhow, this update contains a variety of fixes through the usual drivers, file-systems, architectures, and more. The Linux 2.6.32-rc3 release announcement can be read at LKML.org.
After a week of LinuxCon and the Linux Plumbers Conference, Linus Torvalds has made the Linux 2.6.32-rc1 kernel release, which also marks the closure of the merge window for this kernel cycle. The Linux 2.6.32 kernel brings many driver updates. new drivers, many file-system updates, and much more.
There's been a whole flurry of activity going on within the kernel mode-setting world if you have looked at any of the Phoronix news entries from the past weeks. With the Linux 2.6.32 merge window opening up, activity on KMS for ATI and Intel hardware especially has increased. Just a few hours ago we talked about patches being pushed out that provide ATI power management for KMS (well, the initial bits of support) and then earlier this week confirmation of many KMS improvements in Linux 2.6.32 (including R600/700 mode-setting, 3D), but this afternoon there's new patches to talk about. One set of patches is for Intel, the other is for ATI/AMD.
It's arriving a few days later than anticipated, but the Linux 2.6.31 kernel has now been released. The Linux 2.6.31 kernel brings ATI Radeon kernel mode-setting support up through the R500 series (the R600/700 KMS and 3D support is coming with Linux 2.6.32), many other graphics / DRM improvements (including Intel DisplayPort and Clarkdale / Arrandale support), a performance counters infrastructure, USB 3.0 support, and many more changes.
With the Linux 2.6.32 kernel merge window opening up this month, open-source developers around the world have been busy working on their code that they wish to push into this next major kernel update. There is already 3D and KMS support coming to the R600/700 hardware from ATI with this next kernel release along with the KMS page-flipping ioctl and other graphics-related changes, but now Novell's Greg Kroah-Hartman has written a lengthy message detailing the status of the different drivers in the staging tree for Linux 2.6.32.
A week ago Linus Torvalds was looking at releasing the Linux 2.6.31 kernel in time for Labor Day (tomorrow in the US), but he has decided against that and has now issued a ninth release candidate. Due to a last minute surge in commits against the Linux 2.6.31 kernel, Linus decided to hold off the release of this new kernel for a few days and instead issue Linux 2.6.31-rc9. This new release candidate brings a few fixes and other corrections (including some Intel KMS adjustments).
Linus Torvalds has announced the release of the Linux 2.6.31-rc8 kernel this evening, which he expects will be the last release candidate before this quarterly Linux kernel update goes gold in just over one week. Linux 2.6.31-rc8 doesn't bring any particularly interesting fixes, but just small corrections around the kernel.
It happened on Friday night, but the Linux 2.6.31-rc7 kernel is now available. The seventh release candidate for the Linux 2.6.31 kernel brings a variety of small fixes, including a Radeon DRM update. The Linux 2.6.31-rc7 release announcement can be read at LKML.org.
Kristian Høgsberg has announced that the work he and Jesse Barnes, Jakob Bornecrantz, and Chris Wilson have been working on for the past few months is now ready for prime-time action. This work is the mode-setting page-flip ioctl for the kernel DRM. What this work basically leads to is tear-free updating of the screen with low-latency page-flipping.
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