5,000 Pages of Intel Haswell Documentation for Linux

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | December 31, 2013 - 05:46 PM |
Tagged: linux, iris pro, iris, Intel, haswell

'Tis the season to be sharing and giving (unless you are Disney).

According to Phoronix, Intel has shipped (heh heh heh, "boatload") over 5,000 pages of documentation and technical specs for their Haswell iGPUs including the HD, Iris, and Iris Pro product lines. The intricacies of the 3D engine, GPGPU computation, and video acceleration are laid bare for the open source community. Video acceleration is something that is oft omit from the manuals of other companies.

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Phoronix believes that Intel is, and has been, the best GPU vendor for open-source drivers. AMD obviously supports their open-source community but Intel edges them out on speed. The Radeon HD 7000 series is just beginning to mature, according to their metric, and Hawaii is far behind that. For NVIDIA, the Nouveau driver is still developed primarily by reverse-engineering. That said, documentation was released a few months ago.

Of course all of these comparisons are only considering the open-source drivers.

NVIDIA prides itself on their proprietary driver offering and AMD pretty much offers both up for the user to chose between. Phoronix claims that Intel employs over two-dozen open-source Linux graphics developers but, of course, that is their only graphics driver for Linux. That is not a bad thing, of course, because a launch open-source GPU driver is really identical to what they would launch for a proprietary driver just without slapping the wrists of anyone who tries to tweak it. It does make sense for Intel, however, because community support will certainly do nothing but help their adoption.

If you would like to check out the documentation, it is available at Intel's 01.org.

Source: Phoronix

December 31, 2013 | 09:16 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

What about previous generation Intel GPUs, will I be able to get drivers from the open source community that will allow me to us My AMD discrete graphics at the same time as my Intel Ivy bridge integrated graphics! All I have at the current moment is switchable graphics, so it looks like it's still one or the other, but not both, what a waste of available GPU power. Unless Intel comes up with the drivers to play nice with the descrete GPU market, I see more laptops becoming available with AMD APUs matched with AMD descrete GPUs for the crossfire win come january 14! It really should be the responsibility of the OS to make sure all the available CPU/GPU/Other compute power remains available at all times to the device owner, and the proprietary makers of OSs, as well as the Open Source OS community should make this, available at all times, a requirement for OS hardware certification, for both the ODM and OEM device makers. If OS makers can write OSs to utilize more than one CPU, of the same or different type, they have no excuse not to be able to do this for GPUs as well.