Intel Drivers 1.x Announcement

Hum, 2 blog posts in a week, this is highly unusual for me 🙂

Anyhow, back to the point.

About a week ago, I added the old i810 drivers (1.6.5 and 1.7.4) to package.mask. Since then, a few people have opened bugs and have sent me emails asking me to take them out of p.mask. I guess I owe an explanation to all who care about Intel drivers.

The situation is quite simple :

  1. The old 1.x drivers are no longer maintained. Period. Upstream no longer cares about them and other distros (at least Fedora and Ubuntu) have started dropping the old drivers from their repositories.
  2. Most importantly, starting with xorg-server 1.5, only 2.4.0 and up build correctly. So all drivers older than 2.3.2 do not work with xorg-server 1.5. I hope I made this statement clear enough.

I know that changing drivers can be a big pain, but there are only 2 good reasons for sticking with 1.x, I’ll list them here because if you don’t care about either, then you should move to 2.x.

  • Old Xinerama support. XRandR is a very good extension but in some cases, the old driver was better. Especially with pre-915 chips where the framebuffer is limited to 2048 pixels in width.
  • Unsupported chips. This one is very uncommon. In fact, I would say Gilles (eva) is the only one that has an unsupported DAC chip on his 830 tablet.

The rest of you, please try 2.x as soon as possible. If you still have issues, here’s what you can do:

  • Remove all HorizSync and VertRefresh from your xorg.conf
  • Remove all “optimizations” from the Device section (such as forcing OffscreenPixmaps and what not)

If that still doesn’t work, please open a bug and we’ll try to sort it out.


PS, I finally took care of the pkgmove. So please update VIDEO_CARDS in your make.conf to use “intel” instead of “i810”.

Update: s/xorg.conf/make.conf/ … thanks Donnie 🙂

It’s been too long…

*sigh* I should have written this post a long time ago, but I didn’t. My bad…

And just yesterday, Sune was rightfully complaining about the situation. Now it’s my turn to blog and to let you in on all the secrets I’ve been withholding 🙂

Quick xorg-server 1.5 Input How To:

If you’ve built xorg-server with the USE=hal, you might have weird issues with your synaptics touchpad or weird keyboard layouts.

There are currently 2 ways of configuring input in Xorg :

  1. Disabling HAL in Xorg: it basically tells Xorg not to look at HAL for input devices and it’ll only read your xorg.conf for configured devices. If you don’t want to muck around with HAL yet, it’s probably a good option. Just stick this piece in your xorg.conf and you’ll be fine.
    Section "ServerFlags"
        Option "AutoAddDevices" "false"
  2. Migrate to HAL: this is not exactly trivial and might require a lot of tweaking. But once you wrap your head around it, it’s not that complicated.

    The idea is to completely remove all the InputDevice sections from your xorg.conf (or even to completely remove your xorg.conf) and let Xorg request input devices from HAL. But we can modify HAL to return configuration values to Xorg.

    For some examples of this method, I suggest reading this sample file which contains almost all the needed documentation.

    Don’t forget to read /var/log/Xorg.0.log towards the end, that’s where input handling prints warnings and errors.

Intel graphics driver with xorg-server 1.5

For some reason, the server crashes if your xorg.conf file tries to load the i810 driver instead of the intel driver. This is indeed really weird as the former has been a symlink to the latter ever since 2.0.0 came out. I’m guessing the migration to libpciaccess broke some assumptions about driver names.

A lot of people have been bit by this, including me, but I of course do intend to properly fix this. First I need to do the pkgmove, and then I’ll just remove all references to “i810” from installed files (mostly the symlink to the driver and the duplicate man page). Finally, I’ll make the driver print out elog messages if you still have the old driver name in your xorg.conf


Although I first believed otherwise, a lot of users were actually using TTM with xorg 1.4. Since TTM has been dropped from Mesa and the supporting bits have been removed from the Intel driver, a lot of people are anxiously waiting for GEM support to arrive.

First the good news, I’m actually working on that. I’m tracking branches and building code.

The bad news… it doesn’t work, at least not yet. Intel developers are busy adding support for G4x chipsets and older ones such as my 855GM are not the immediate priority. I’ve asked for help on the various mailing lists but I’m still waiting. To be honest, I’m not even sure I’ve built the various components with the right configure options…

My plan is to wait a little bit for the kernel bits to settle (right now, devs are hacking up 5~10 patches per day for the 2.6.28-rc1 merge window!) before asking again.

Watch this space in the coming weeks if you are interested in Intel graphics on a Gentoo system near you 🙂