Linux 6.3 DRM Brings Intel VPU Driver, Drops Legacy Drivers, Many AMD Updates

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 23 February 2023 at 08:00 AM EST. 5 Comments
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem updates that also include the new accelerator "accel" subsystem updates have been submitted and subsequently merged for the Linux 6.3 kernel. This pull has a lot of changes to these kernel graphics drivers as well as the first two AI accelerator drivers as part of the new kernel area.

The compute accelerator subsystem was added for Linux 6.2 but just the initial infrastructure code made it into that kernel. Now with Linux 6.3 the first two accelerator drivers are in place: the existing Habana Labs AI driver has been migrated from its old "char/misc" area to now being a proper accel driver for the Gaudi / Gaudi2 / Greco hardware accelerator support. The second driver in accel for Linux 6.3 is the new Intel VPU driver as the Versatile Processing Unit coming with next-generation Meteor Lake processors. The Intel iVPU driver is new to Linux 6.3 and is getting this inference AI accelerator ready to go. There are also other open-source AI accelerator drivers working towards upstream in this new kernel area while for v6.3 it's just these two drivers.

Another significant change with the Linux 6.3 DRM is removing old obsolete (DRI1) DRM drivers. The ATI Rage 128, 3Dfx, S3 Savage, Intel 810, SiS, VIA and Matrox MGA DRM driver code has been removed from the kernel as some nice spring cleaning. These old DRI1 DRM drivers haven't been touched in many years and not serving much of a purpose being upstream when they are unmaintained and not supporting modern Linux kernel/DRM functionality.

Besides Intel's Habana Labs and iVPU work, when it comes to their i915 DRM driver they have continued improvements around DG2/Alchemist graphics for Linux 6.3. Additionally, Linux 6.3 is the first kernel with Meteor Lake display support working. Intel's open-source graphics driver engineers have been working on Meteor Lake support for a few months now and the latest achievement for this kernel is getting displays to actually light up. The overall enablement remains ongoing but it looks like the open-source Meteor Lake integrated graphics will be in good shape ahead of launch.

The i915 driver also has DP MST DSC support, Xe HP 4Tile support for Ponte Vecchio, and a lot of low-level code improvements. Intel engineers concurrently are also working on their new "Xe" kernel driver but that isn't yet ready for upstreaming.

Intel and AMD Radeon graphics cards

Over on the AMDGPU driver side there is support for new Radeon IP blocks as likely correlating to upcoming RDNA3 graphics processors. There is also PCIe information now exposed to user-space, secure display support working across multiple displays, a rework to the S0ix suspend code, support for FreeSync over PCon, and a range of other fixes and low-level improvements.

Other DRM changes in Linux 6.3 include SimpleDRM supporting system memory frame-buffers, Nouveau dropping its legacy IOCTL, various MSM updates for Qualcomm Adreno hardware, Raspberry Pi VC4 fixes, and Etnaviv supporting VeriSilicon NPU cores.

The full list of changes for the Direct Rendering Manager area of the kernel with Linux 6.3 can be found via this pull.
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