Intel Discrete Graphics On Linux Nearing The Point Of A Working, Accelerated Desktop
Getting Intel discrete graphics working on Linux has been a many month process even with being derived from the existing Gen12/Xe Graphics architecture. The Intel kernel graphics driver has seen a lot of work to handle the notion of local device memory (dedicated vRAM) since previously the driver was just always dealing with integrated graphics, so there has been a lot of changes on that front including the adopting of TTM for kernel memory management in those cases. Plus a lot of other changes across the open-source Intel Linux graphics stack in preparing DG1 and future discrete offerings from Intel.
Supporting multiple graphics adapters concurrently is also a new concept for the Intel Linux graphics driver. As part of all the bits flying around and early limitations, initially using Xe MAX Graphics on Linux means using two kernels, with one being a GPU-accelerated virtual machine.
In any case, a major milestone is being crossed now and that's actually having the Intel DG1 graphics card able to power an accelerated Linux desktop.
Sent out this week were new patches for suporting explicit memory migration of GEM objects between memory regions. The initial focus is for migrating between GEM memory regions for the display and DMA-BUF.
With that GEM migration support on top of all the latest patches, "This series should make accelerated desktop work on DG1 with DG1-enabled OpenGL."
The kernel patches are too late to land for 5.14 and there are other bits needing to be flipped on for DG1 to be exposed by default, but this is a good indicator that come Linux 5.15 we might have everything in place for handling DG1 with desktop graphics support working. Or potentially for some late 2021 Linux distribution releases these bits might appear out-of-the-box or to be conservative will be planning for Ubuntu 22.04 LTS and friends where there could be this support all squared away and hopefully by that point Intel will have begun shipping discrete graphics offerings to consumers.