Intel Progress On The IPU6 Linux Driver To Enable Web Camera Support With Newer Laptops

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 2 May 2023 at 02:00 PM EDT. 4 Comments
You may recall last year how several prominent upstream kernel developers recommended avoiding Intel's latest laptops for Linux use that bear their IPU6 MIPI camera over the lack of upstream open-source support. It's taken some months but the initial IPU6 Linux kernel driver patches are out for review and will hopefully make it to the mainline Linux kernel in the months ahead.

The Intel IPU6 image processing unit web camera support under Linux started off as a mess and the support Intel did provide was a GitHub repository with some code catered toward select laptops and select kernel versions with Ubuntu. With the IPU6 was also a proprietary user-space stack and a user-space API not making use of the V4L2 interface.

Intel IPU6

In the months since there's been some progress on the IPU6 front while in April the IPU6 PCI device driver was finally published on the linux-media list for initial review/feedback.
This patch series adds a driver for Intel IPU6 input system. IPU6 is the sixth generation of Imaging Processing Unit, it is a PCI device which can be found in some Intel Client Platforms. User can use IPU6 to capture images from MIPI camera sensors.

IPU6 has its own firmware which exposes ABIs to driver, and communicates with CSE to do firmware authentication. IPU6 has its MMU hardware, so the driver sets up a page table to allow IPU6 DMA to access the system memory.

IPU6 input system driver uses MC and V4L2 sub-device APIs besides V4L2.

Via Intel's IPU6-drivers GitHub it was commented by an Intel engineer that hopefully this summer there could be the initial upstream support, "We're working on upstreaming the IPU6 ISYS driver, I'd think it may be merged during the summer this year (this is tentative as the needed APIs aren't fully enabled in the kernel yet). Work is ongoing on IVSC, too, but I don't have an estimate for that yet."
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