3 Jun 2010 mjg59   » (Master)

Poulsbo still makes me sad

Meego 1.0 was released last month. Predictably enough, it lacks any form of support for the GMA500 graphics chipset[1], which is reasonably in line with Intel's placing of US15W as an embedded product for MID-type devices rather than having anything to do with netbooks. Of course, the market pretty much ignored that detail, so we're left with the release of a netbook experience that's incompatible with a large number of netbooks.

There's been hints that there might be some sort of new driver coming, though, and Intel's rapidly heading towards the release of Moorestown - their new MID platform that's x86 but not a PC, that replaces Poulsbo (unless you want to run Windows) and which has the same SGX 3D core[2] as Poulsbo. Moorestown support has started landing in the mainline Linux kernel and Intel are talking about devices shipping with it this year, so we ought to see the graphics driver soon, right?

Well, kind of. Digging through the Meego kernel git tree reveals an updated driver with Moorestown support. The blob is too big for gitorious to display, so I've put up a copy here. Things to note - this isn't a new driver (it's clearly derived from the PSB one), it includes a huge blob of Imagination's platform-independent code, the front end of the driver is still pretty much the i915 driver with a small number of PSB-specfic changes and despite the cheerily optimistic "Patch-mainline: 2.6.35?" at the top it stands pretty much no chance whatsoever of going mainline given that it's even more offensive than the previous version and that one got rejected out of hand.

So it's not clear what Intel's doing here. If this is the driver that Intel are developing for upstream then there's been a pretty serious breakdown in communication over what their driver has to look like. If it's not, Intel have another and presumably better driver somewhere that they're developing entirely behind closed doors despite having shipped millions of units of hardware that people would dearly love to be able to run mainline kernels on. Neither case looks especially good, so the continuing perception would seem to be that only a subset of the company understands the Linux development model - we'll see how this ends up interacting with Meego as a whole.

(Huh. I was about to hit "Post" on this, and then found that another and entirely different driver was submitted for the Meego kernel last week. A copy of it's here. "IVI" in this context appears to stand for "In-vehicle interface" and is aimed at those contexts rather than generic ones. It includes much the same Imagination glue code as the Moorestown driver, appears to be derived from a driver that has support for other Intel chipsets, was written to be at least partially OS-independent given that it abstracts things like PCI and stands even less chance of going upstream than the other driver - as acknowledged by "Patch-mainline: Never". Hilariously, if we include IEGD, that makes three different drivers for the same hardware from the same company, each having no chance to go upstream. Thintel.)

[1] Weirdly, it includes the kernel DRM for Matrox cards. No X driver though.
[2] It's clocked higher, though

Syndicated 2010-06-03 14:03:58 from Matthew Garrett

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