Linux Might Wipe Out The Notorious Intel Poulsbo/Moorestown 2D Acceleration

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 16 November 2020 at 12:05 AM EST. 17 Comments
Longtime Linux users still likely cringe when hearing "Poulsbo" as Intel's first-generation Atom processors that featured "GMA 500" graphics that were based on Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX IP. The Linux driver support was just awful and now as we prepare for 2021 the Intel Linux kernel driver might just drop its 2D acceleration support for Poulsbo and the short-lived Moorestown platform.

Years after Intel Atom Poulsbo hardware first appeared came the "GMA500" DRM kernel driver to improve the driver support and then working on 2D acceleration as about the extent of the clean open-source support due to the use of the notorious PowerVR graphics. While that later open-source driver work in GMA500 was an improvement, Poulsbo still gives me nightmares a decade later.

Patrik Jakobsson of SUSE's Linux Graphics Software engineering team is now proposing the 2D acceleration code in GMA500 just be outright dropped. He argues that it's better just falling back to CPU-based 2D acceleration than mucking around with the Poulsbo and Moorestown 2D code path.

He wrote with the patch, "2D acceleration is only available on PSB and MRST and very slow on both platforms. CPU acceleration is faster so don't bother with 2D accel anymore."

Hopefully no one is actively using Poulsbo anymore come 2021. In any case, deleting the 2D acceleration code does relieve the GMA500 kernel driver by some 300+ lines of code.
Related News
About The Author
Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

Popular News This Week