Intel Graphics Gen4 and Newer Now Defaults to Modesetting Driver on X

Earlier this week Debian unstable and Ubuntu Yakkety switched to load the ‘modesetting’ X video driver by default on Intel graphics gen4 and newer. This roughly maps to GPU’s made since 2007 (965GM->). The main reason for this was to get rid of chasing after upstream git, because there hasn’t been a stable release in nearly three years and even the latest devel snapshot is over a year and a half old. It also means sharing the glamor 2D acceleration backend with radeon/amdgpu, which is a nice change knowing that the intel SNA backend was constantly slightly broken for some GPU generation(s).

Xserver 1.18.4 was released this week with a number of backported fixes to glamor and modesetting driver from master, so the time was right to make the switch now while both Stretch and Yakkety are still on the development phase. So I wrote a small patch for the xserver to load intel driver only on gen2 & gen3 which can’t do glamor efficiently. Newer Intel GPU’s will fall back to modesetting. This approach is good since it can be easily overridden by dropping a conffile to /etc/X11 that uses something else.

I’ve seen only one bug filed that was caused by this change so far, and it turned out to be a kernel bug fixed in 4.6 (Yak will ship with 4.8). If you see something strange like corrupt widgets or whatnot after upgrading to current Yakkety, verify it doesn’t happen with intel (‘cp /usr/share/doc/xserver-xorg-video-intel/xorg.conf /etc/X11’ followed by login manager restart or reboot) and file a bug against xserver-xorg-core (verify xdiagnose is installed, then run ‘ubuntu-bug xserver-xorg-core)’. We’ll take it from there.

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27 Responses to “Intel Graphics Gen4 and Newer Now Defaults to Modesetting Driver on X”

  1. rmarquez22 Says:

    there will not be a backport of this driver for Ubuntu 14.04 with graphic stack LTS-Xenial?

    • tjaalton Says:

      Modesetting comes with the xserver, so yes it’ there. But the default driver will not be changed on xenial.

  2. Los gráficos integrados de Intel a partir de la cuarta generación usarán por defecto el controlador gráfico xf86-video-modesetting en Debian y Ubuntu | :. WindTux .: Says:

    […] Si deseas conocer todos los detalles sobre estos nuevos cambios, entonces deberás remitirte al blog de Timo Aaltonen. […]

  3. Foo Says:

    Please don’t do this, I’m on Ivy Bridge and the modesetting driver is even worse than the intel driver (which has been very buggy for at least a year now, but still less less buggy than the modesetting driver): with the modesetting driver I got random lockups, crashes, completely broken multiple screen support, disappearing text in GTK apps (!!!), etc.

    • tjaalton Says:

      Then file bugs and they will get fixed. Make sure to run yakkety first and then test with latest mainline kernel (until the distro kernel is updated from 4.4)

      • Foo Says:

        Where do I file a bug for “my system locks up at random time for several seconds”? And what are the chances that someone will be able to figure out what needs to be fixed from that description? This seems completely hopeless.

      • tjaalton Says:

        Do you have PSR enabled? Try running a mainline kernel, 4.7 fixed issues with PSR enabled

    • Alexander E. Patrakov Says:

      The “disappearing text in gtk apps” bug has been fixed by commit aebfc6a which is in Xserver 1.18.4.

  4. Debian Sid e Ubuntu 16.10 adottano xf86-video-modesetting per le schede video Intel | Nazionlinux Says:

    […] Share: //= 360 ) av_size = '336X280'; else { av_size = '300X250'; } if (typeof av_size !== 'undefined') { if(av_size !== null) { document.write(''); var av_fu=encodeURIComponent(location.hostname+location.pathname); document.write(''); document.write(''); } } /* ]]> */ Debian Sid e Ubuntu Yakkety Yak abbandoneranno i vecchi driver video xf86-video-intel in favore dei driver video generici xf86-video-modesetting per le schede video Intel di quarta generazione e successive. La ragione principale di questa scelta è da ricercare nell’inerzia di Intel nel rilasciare nuovi driver. L’ultimo aggiornamento stabile è stato infatti rilasciato quasi tre anni fa mentre l’ultima devel snapshot più di un anno e mezzo fa.  Per maggiori informazioni vi rimando al Weblog di Timo Aaltonen. […]

  5. Debian Sid e Ubuntu 16.10 adottano xf86-video-modesetting per le schede video Intel | Aggregatore GNU/Linux e dintorni Says:

    […] By Marco Giannini Debian Sid e Ubuntu Yakkety Yak abbandoneranno i vecchi driver video xf86-video-intel in favore dei driver video generici xf86-video-modesetting per le schede video Intel di quarta generazione e successive. La ragione principale di questa scelta è da ricercare nell’inerzia di Intel nel rilasciare nuovi driver. L’ultimo aggiornamento stabile è stato infatti rilasciato quasi tre anni fa mentre l’ultima devel snapshot più di un anno e mezzo fa. Per maggiori informazioni vi rimando al Weblog di Timo Aaltonen. […]

  6. lkraav Says:

    What are the performance implications?

    • tjaalton Says:

      On the hw that I’ve tested with (965GM, HSW, BDW, SKL) using x11perf and gtkperf, not much. Some tests are faster with intel SNA, some with glamor. Can’t see any difference with normal desktop usage (unity7)

  7. Ubuntu e Debian adotteranno xf86-video-modesetting per schede Intel - Lffl.org Says:

    […] questa operazione. Per tutte le informazioni del caso vi rimando al post pubblicato sul  Weblog di Timo Aaltonen. [Fonte] (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || […]

  8. Ubuntu e Debian adotteranno xf86-video-modesetting per schede Intel | Aggregatore GNU/Linux e dintorni Says:

    […] effettuare questa operazione. Per tutte le informazioni del caso vi rimando al post pubblicato sul Weblog di Timo Aaltonen. […]

  9. Debian dan Ubuntu Tinggalkan Driver X.Org Intel Says:

    […] mengenai penggunaan xf86-video-modesetting ini disampaikan oleh Timo Aaltonen, salah satu pengembang grafis di […]

  10. Links 24/7/2016: Elive 2.7.1 Beta, New Flatpaks and Snaps | Techrights Says:

    […] Intel Graphics Gen4 and Newer Now Defaults to Modesetting Driver on X […]

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Doesn’t this mean that the X RandR backlight / xbacklight won’t work anymore? This needs the xf86-video-intel DDX instead of the generic modesetting driver..

    This seems silly compared to fixing the proper Intel X driver, surely Intel is still maintaining that.. so exert some pressure, you’re Ubuntu.

  12. Ubuntu și Debian renunță la pilotul Intel X.Org în favoarea lui Modesetting DDX – GNU Linux România Says:

    […] Mai multe detalii puteți citi aici și aici. […]

  13. Albert Says:

    I’ve had some

    [23344.567495] [drm:intel_cpu_fifo_underrun_irq_handler [i915]] *ERROR* CPU pipe A FIFO underrun
    [23344.567552] [drm:intel_set_pch_fifo_underrun_reporting [i915]] *ERROR* uncleared pch fifo underrun on pch transcoder A
    [23344.567568] [drm:intel_pch_fifo_underrun_irq_handler [i915]] *ERROR* PCH transcoder A FIFO underrun

    on yakketi recently causing some screen corruption, can that be related at all?

  14. Michael Catanzaro Says:

    It reportedly breaks WebKit: https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=85064

    Any assistance with that bug much appreciated.

  15. X Says:

    I like the idea of a unified driver like xf86-video-modesetting, but what sucks is that it is no longer possible to upgrade the DDX driver without upgrading xorg-server, since xf86-video-modesetting no longer is a separate package, it’s integrated into xorg-server now.

    Oibaf has already said that he will not include updates for xorg-server in his PPA, see:

    https://www.phoronix.com/forums/forum/linux-graphics-x-org-drivers/opengl-vulkan-mesa-gallium3d/24959-updated-and-optimized-ubuntu-free-graphics-drivers/page168

    So, now users have to wait for the next Ubuntu release if they want updates for the DDX driver, since Ubuntu does not update the xorg-server between releases…

  16. 关于ubuntu闪烁屏幕的问题 – bsns' notes Says:

    […] 在这篇文章,和c社的员工blog说明了debian早已经放弃了上面的驱动,并迁移到Modesetting Driver。 […]

  17. Pedro Côrte-Real Says:

    At least on xenial doing this causes horrible video tearing. Activating SNA in the intel driver seems to be the current solution for tear free and flicker free on xenial.

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