Time flies by quickly, and another couple of weeks has past. So time for your regular news from the Intel Linux Graphics land!
Starting with the hot topic of the past years, Wayland 0.85 has just been released! This release marks the first milestone in the road to a stable 1.0 Wayland and Weston release. After it, we’ll have a 0.90 release, which would be the one to mark API freeze and will begin the preparation to the final 1.0 release. Of course, additional releases could happen meanwhile. Wayland has evolved a lot for the past years, so make sure to check it out.
Besides Wayland, lots of activities have been going on with all the projects.
On kernel side, Daniel Vetter has sent out his new drm-intel-next tree, which features lots of fixes from Ben, Eric and Chris, improvements to swizzling handling, fence accounting improvements, VTd workarounds for Ironlake, simplified debugfs handling code and an improved i915_error_state logging.
Besides those improvements, lots of attention was directed towards interlaced modes support on Intel GPUs, which resulted in a large series of patches from Paulo Zanoni and Daniel Vetter that should improve support for interlaced and non-interlaced modes and made them, well, work correctly . If you have been experiencing any sort of problems with such modes, please, try the patches and verify if they solve the issues. Chances are that they will, but if they won’t, please, let us know!
Among other interesting patches in kernel for the past few weeks, Ivy Bridge hard-hang fixes are among the most notable ones. Those patches toggle a couple of work-arounds for issues which randomly affected some of the Ivy Bridge machines – and resulted in complete system hangs. Due to their random nature, and specially due to the fact that they mostly affected low-resolution modes (chances to hang your machine in a 320×240 resolutions were noticeable much higher than in any other resolution), we had hard time to track them previously. In fact, we only managed to reproduce them consistently in the last week – and luckily we were able to come with patches which apparently fixed most of the problems. The patches will probably be included into 3.3 kernel via the drm-intel-fixes branch, and if they won’t cause any other issues we’ll backport them to 3.2 kernel as well.
Another interesting patch is the one which applies the missed IRQ fix (a.k.a., the voodoo patch ) to Sandy Bridge platform as well. So far, we had a couple of reports which mentioned that a very similar issue to the one which was fixed on Ivy Bridge last month was happening on Sandy Bridge as well. If you are suffering from this issue, please, give it a try and let us know if it solved the issue to you or transformed it into anything else (like a GPU hang which happened on one of the machines instead of missed IRQ. Those results would be even more interesting, as they could tell us what we are missing and how to fix the problem for good).
Additionally, lots of development was targeted on improving the semaphores issues detection and avoidance, and for better debugging support in the i915_error_state log. Usually, this log is all that remains of a GPU hang – so the more information we can get from there, the better.
And finally, aiming at finally discovering what root-causes all the rc6 issues out there, I sent out a patch which allows to hopefully isolate the issue. Leann Ogasawara from Canonical was also kind enough to pre-build Ubuntu kernels with this patch – so if you are affected by a RC6 issue, and are running Ubuntu – please, give them a try!!
On Mesa side, things are moving very quickly towards the Mesa 8.0 release. The 8.0-RC2 version was already released, and final 8.0 version is expected to happen in a very near future. Who knows, perhaps by the time you’ll be reading this line, it will already be among us . Mesa 8.0 release looks very exciting so far – besides the GL 3.0 extensions and GLSL 1.30 support, it also brings amazing performance and stability improvements. Hopefully you’ll be able to see it with your own eyes when the next stable release will be out – or, if you don’t want to wait that long, or want to use your very last chance to report any major show-stopper bugs in the 8.0 branch – now is the time.
On the xf86-video-intel side, as usual, hundreds of patches were committed by Chris Wilson, mostly targeting the SNA backend, and also the Glamor integration. Since the beginning of the year, git log already shows 380 new patches. Out of those, 368 are SNA-specific for now. Phoronix has run yet another round of SNA testing in the past weeks with some interesting results. Things are getting very interested with this backend.
And finally, moving to the intel-gpu-tools project, two new tools were proposed in the past few days – one for testing different panel fitter settings (intel_panel_fitter, from Paulo Zanoni); and another to demonstrate the sprite features, available for SNB/IVB platform, which uses 3 new IOCTLs included in the latest drm subsystem: GETPLANERESOURCES, GETPLANE, and SETPLANE. Planes and sprites support are ones of the latest additions to the core drm subsystem, and in my opinion they certainly are among the most interesting items there. I believe that more and more applications will be using them at some point (like the 1st one mentioned in this post – yes, the one which starts with ‘W‘), which is great.