Intel Works On Page-Flipping For The Mode-Setting Driver

Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org on 22 April 2015 at 04:45 AM EDT. 3 Comments
While the xf86-video-intel X.Org DDX driver has yet to reach version 3.0 even though the 3.0 development series is going on two years old, Intel open-source developers are continuing to spend time on the universal xf86-video-modesetting driver.

There's continued momentum around the xf86-video-modesetting driver, which serves as a generic X.Org DDX driver for any hardware having a DRM/KMS driver. In modern times, xf86-video-modesetting even works with hardware acceleration and is able to provide 2D support over GLAMOR -- 2D via OpenGL. With the most recent X.Org Server 1.17 release, this driver has been integrated into the xorg-server code-base.

While the xf86-video-intel 3.0 driver is having a difficult time making it out the door, Intel developers continue investing resources into this driver. The most recent example is the page-flipping support for the mode-setting driver. The page-flipping support is currently only exposed when handling DRI3/Present and doesn't yet support EGL applications. As a result of these pages, tearing should be eliminated for full-screen applications.

I remain curious when Intel will actually release xf86-video-intel 3.0 given the time already it's taken... This is the big release that switches the 2D acceleration architecture from UXA to SNA, although most distributions are already running on Git snapshots and have enabled SNA by default for a while. SNA is faster but is a much larger code-base and largely maintained by one Intel developer, Chris Wilson, who has mostly been handling maintenance of the xf86-video-intel DDX driver for a lengthy period of time. Meanwhile, it seems, many other Intel developers are just focused on improving xf86-video-modesetting with GLAMOR (the xf86-video-intel DDX driver is also capable of supporting GLAMOR but not enabled by default) as this acceleration architecture is not back-end specific and easier to maintain across drivers...
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