xserver-xorg-video-intel driver on newer Intel graphics

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xserver-xorg-video-intel driver on newer Intel graphics

Postby wirawan0 » 2016-07-06 17:01

Hi,

I checked on the website today, in Debian sid, "xserver-xorg-video-intel" driver on newer Intel graphics cards are not necessary anymore:

https://packages.debian.org/sid/xserver ... ideo-intel

As of the time of writing, it is version "2:2.99.917+git20160522-1". Since I am not always up-to-date with Linux driver development, can somebody explain why this is? Does this mean that the Linux Kernel now contains the full driver of Intel graphics cards produced from year ~2007 onward?

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Re: xserver-xorg-video-intel driver on newer Intel graphics

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2016-07-06 18:03

The advice is to drop the Intel DDX driver (xf86-video-intel) and instead adopt the modesetting driver that is included with the Xorg package.

The advantages of this package are Glamor acceleration and DRI3 page flipping as standard and (hopefully) fewer bugs and a more stable performance.

Does this mean that the Linux Kernel now contains the full driver of Intel graphics cards produced from year ~2007 onward?

Not quite, the Intel drivers have three parts -- the DDX driver (either xf86-video-intel or the Xorg modesetting driver), the Mesa driver (for 3D acceleration) and the kernel component (the i915 module).
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Re: xserver-xorg-video-intel driver on newer Intel graphics

Postby wirawan0 » 2016-07-15 17:15

Thanks for the explanation.

Can you give an advice what to use on a Debian stable (jessie) platform? I don't tweak that much except that I use kernel 4.6 right now. Is the xserver provided by this distro ready for a test drive? dpkg -l gives this version for package xserver-xorg: 1:7.7+7 .

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Re: xserver-xorg-video-intel driver on newer Intel graphics

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2016-07-15 20:34

wirawan0 wrote:Can you give an advice what to use on a Debian stable (jessie) platform?

Yes, this thread applies to Debian jessie:
https://forums.bunsenlabs.org/viewtopic.php?id=1185
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Re: xserver-xorg-video-intel driver on newer Intel graphics

Postby wirawan0 » 2016-07-18 02:57

Thanks for the response. I tested this configuration and the generic modesetting driver worked well.

How (for newbies):

As root, create a file called
Code: Select all
/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-use-generic-modesetting.conf
containing only:

Code: Select all
Section "Device"
   Identifier  "Intel Graphics"
   Driver      "modesetting"
EndSection


Then restart X. Note that I used kernel 4.6 Jessie backports per bunsenlab forum page listed before. So far it worked well. I will update if I see issues.

There are several issues I observed:

1) xbacklight could not be used anymore, although the display intensity can still be adjusted via hardware key (Fn+F5/Fn+F6). The hardware is Thinkpad T450s.

2) Also on Xorg.0.log it noted the following:

Code: Select all
[    81.929] (II) AIGLX: Screen 0 is not DRI2 capable
[    81.929] (EE) AIGLX: reverting to software rendering
[    81.956] (II) AIGLX: Loaded and initialized swrast
[    81.956] (II) GLX: Initialized DRISWRAST GL provider for screen 0


I think this is probably an easy fix? Or no fix yet for this kernel? I checked, however, that: youtube video was smooth, vlc and mplayer can play video well, as well as google maps rescaling of map that used to be a problem under the intel DDX--all were gone. But using software rendering, that seems to be an issue.
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Re: xserver-xorg-video-intel driver on newer Intel graphics

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2016-07-18 06:54

wirawan0 wrote:Also on Xorg.0.log it noted the following:

Code: Select all
[    81.929] (II) AIGLX: Screen 0 is not DRI2 capable
[    81.929] (EE) AIGLX: reverting to software rendering
[    81.956] (II) AIGLX: Loaded and initialized swrast
[    81.956] (II) GLX: Initialized DRISWRAST GL provider for screen 0

I don't think this is an issue -- the modesetting driver uses DRI3 page flipping by default as per modesetting(4)

Check hardware rendering using `glxinfo|grep rendering` from mesa-utils
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Re: xserver-xorg-video-intel driver on newer Intel graphics

Postby wirawan0 » 2016-12-15 21:39

Update on this issue.

1) xbacklight not working was annoying, but not the worst problem.

2) The worst problem is the one I described in this bug that nobody responded to (so far):

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#searc ... 6135e640b4

In brief, the X display will become unresponsive when certain legacy X software was invoked. Some examples shown in the bug report include:

a) running osd_cat plus gtk showing a pop-up notification on the screen corner
b) running xpdf to display a corrupt PDF file

After that, the display would become many seconds late to update the content, which mainly noticed with text editing (like, characters not showing up in GUI terminal until 3-5 seconds). Actually the bug report title was misleading. Instead of X keyboard becoming slow & responsive, the display itself becae very unresponsive after one of certain events was triggered--see the bug report for detail. These should not have happened at any time, otherwise it is like a time bomb to the X display. The problem would persist until I restart the X display. I wonder if anyone of you ever experienced problem like what I described in this bug report.

I was using Backport kernel (4.3, 4.6, or 4.7 from jessie-backports), otherwise the system is using jessie (stable) distribution.

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Re: xserver-xorg-video-intel driver on newer Intel graphics

Postby gradinaruvasile » 2017-01-15 13:51

This again. On Skylake Intel the modesetting driver is bad even on testing compared to intel's DDX - tearing everywhere, slow updates etc.
Intel works pretty much ok, you have tearfree option that works etc.

Another thing that maybe is overlooked by people advocating modesetting is that on Jessie (with backports or not) the X server is old compared to testing/sid. Why is this important? Modesetting (which is itself a module in the X server) uses GLAMOR acceleration that is again a module INCLUDED in the X server, not like SNA externally provided by Intel DDX. The glamor/modeset code is actively developed and debugged on current X server versions but there is NO newer X server on jessie (or -backports).
But i use Testing and modesetting on Skylake isn't that good on it either.

BTW Intel's DDX is developed (the version number actually contains the day the git snapshot was taken (which is 20161206, 06 december 2016, packaged on 14 December 2016 on Testing and something similar on backports).
These being said have to say Intel's video drivers are inferior to AMDs opensource drivers as far as stability and hardware acceleration is concerned. My Skylake laptop (I7-6820HQ quad core/8thread CPU, Intel 530 GPU) on Steam performs worse on it than my age old desktop AMD IGP (r600g/Radeon HD 8570D) on Testing with the same mesa/Xserver version (despite having nominally support for OpenGl 4.5 vs 4.1 on AMD).
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Re: xserver-xorg-video-intel driver on newer Intel graphics

Postby wirawan0 » 2017-02-22 18:15

Sounds like we are really left in the cold for Intel graphics hardware.
Where is Intel here? Why are we left with buggy drivers for a long time?
I am surprised that nobody else observed issues that I list below.
Below are the list of choices that we have


* GOING WITH INTEL DDX, using "uxa" acceleration

Tested this with my laptop...Google maps causes X server processor usage
to shoot to 100%; and page scrolling on Firefox was extremely slow.


* GOING WITH INTEL DDX, using "sna" acceleration

This seems to be the best as far as stability, but it has issue of screen
corruptions at several known cases. See here for detail

https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugrepo ... bug=851067


* GOING WITH MODESETTING DDX

As @gradinaruvasile mentions, the modesetting DDX has its own set of
problems, and probably the issue is worse than Intel/SNA combination.
Here is my prime example of why we don't want to use modesetting DDX on
Intel graphics:

https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugrepo ... bug=835123

So, what are our options, other than what mentioned above?

I can't wait for Debian 9 (stretch) to come out & stabilize; but I need to
take time to migrate all my stuff to that OS, and there will be more new
set of issues to face.
I tested drive Debian 9 and found out that the graphics with modesetting
works fine. But the Intel DDX (+SNA) is still corrupt as ever.
Sounds like, backporting X server is a good workaround here, so
modesetting would work fine.

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Re: xserver-xorg-video-intel driver on newer Intel graphics

Postby gradinaruvasile » 2017-02-22 18:39

I run Testing and Intel is far better than modesetting. Tried a few times after X was updated but nothing really changed.
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Re: xserver-xorg-video-intel driver on newer Intel graphics

Postby stevepusser » 2017-02-22 18:48

Well, jessie-backports already has some backports of the two base parts that take quite a lot of resources to compile, which are newer llvm and Mesa packages. In comparison, the xorg backports should be very quick to build in comparison, if you'd like to give them a try. There's just a lot more individual packages to do.

My Skylake 520 graphics seem to be fine in Firefox, and with no artifacts seen in video playback, with this 20-intel.conf file in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d:

Code: Select all
Section "Device"
        Identifier  "Device0"
        Driver      "intel"
        BusID       "PCI:0:2:0"
        Option      "AccelMethod" "sna"
        Option      "DRI"    "true"
        Option      "TearFree"  "true"
        Option "DRI" "3"
EndSection


inxi -G output:

Code: Select all
Graphics:  Card-1: Intel HD Graphics 520
           Card-2: NVIDIA Device 179c
           Display Server: X.Org 1.16.4 driver: intel Resolution: 1920x1080@60.01hz
           GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel HD Graphics 520 (Skylake GT2) GLX Version: 3.0 Mesa 13.0.4

This is on the MX 16 Jessie-based distro which has its own llvm and Mesa backporter--though I remember that the Mesa 13.0.2 backport did create some artifacts for me in video playback in the openGL video output when the tearfree option was enabled, but Mesa 13.0.3 cleared it up for me.
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Re: xserver-xorg-video-intel driver on newer Intel graphics

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2017-02-23 07:08

For my Haswell system under stretch, the modesetting DDX driver has finally cured my tearing problems and I no longer need a special driver option or a compositor to manage the issue.
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Re: xserver-xorg-video-intel driver on newer Intel graphics

Postby bester69 » 2017-03-03 03:00

I tried past day modesetting-glamor with DRI3 and kernel 4.10.1, and it feels a litle bit faster and more unstable than intel-sna,

Modesetting gives Tears in videos. (No TearFree option available :( )
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Re: xserver-xorg-video-intel driver on newer Intel graphics

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2017-03-03 06:42

bester69 wrote:Modesetting gives Tears in videos.

Try it under Wayland instead — I can recommend the GNOME & stretch combination.
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Re: xserver-xorg-video-intel driver on newer Intel graphics

Postby gradinaruvasile » 2017-03-03 07:09

I would probably used modesetting too, but the no TearFree option + slower playback refresh rate are dealbreakers.
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