Smoothwall Firewall project

Friday, 9 October 2009

Enabling kernel mode setting with Ubuntu 9.10

One of the great new features of the latest release of the Linux kernel, is the ability to move a lot of the graphical processing into a kernel module, which speeds up the whole graphic experience. This does not work for all graphical cards, but it certainly does work for Intel graphics cards. Testing this latest release on my Dell XPS which does have an Intel graphics card is obviously ready for the job.

The process with this version is very simple, as the ability to use this driver has been turned on in the kernel since later versions of the 2.6.30 kernel. So I just need to tell Ubuntu 9.10 to use it. You do this by adding a new file in the follwoing directory /etc/mpdprobe.d/ and you call that file i915-kms.conf. You add a single line in this file like this

options i915 modeset=1

You now need to re-boot you machine, as we need to reload the kernel. You can test that this has loaded properly by typing the following at the command line.

dmesg | grep drm - thanks to Bryce Harrington for that info

You should see something like this:

[ 8.232629] [drm] Initialized drm 1.1.0 20060810
[ 9.572258] [drm] fb0: inteldrmfb frame buffer device
[ 9.587335] [drm] Initialized i915 1.6.0 20080730 for 0000:00:02.0 on minor 0
[ 10.235837] [drm] LVDS-8: set mode 1280x800 10

You can also check the file /var/log/Xorg.0.log, and grep that for dri, which well tell you that driver has successfully loaded and is being used by your xserver.

(II) intel(0): [DRI2] Setup complete
(II) UXA(0): Driver registered support for the following operations:
(II) intel(0): direct rendering: DRI2 Enabled
(II) AIGLX: Loaded and initialized /usr/lib/dri/

You can now turn on all your graphical effects (compiz), and it will work far more efficiently and more importantly at a far faster speed.


Steve Griffis said...

I have an integrated Intel controller on my Dell Optiplex 745:
description: VGA compatible controller
product: 82Q963/Q965 Integrated Graphics Controller
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 2
bus info: pci@0000:00:02.0
version: 02
width: 64 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: msi pm bus_master cap_list rom
configuration: driver=i915 latency=0
resources: irq:26 memory:fea00000-feafffff memory:d0000000-dfffffff(prefetchable) ioport:ecb8(size=8)

Followed your advice (the correct directory spelling is /etc/modprobe.d/) rebooted and ran the diagnostic, and here is the result:

steve@ubuntu:~$ dmesg | grep drm
[ 3.599356] [drm] Initialized drm 1.1.0 20060810
[ 3.642213] [drm] MTRR allocation failed. Graphics performance may suffer.
[ 4.125460] [drm:drm_helper_initial_config] *ERROR* connectors have no modes, using standard modes
[ 4.128052] [drm] fb0: inteldrmfb frame buffer device
[ 4.128067] [drm] Initialized i915 1.6.0 20080730 for 0000:00:02.0 on minor 0
[ 4.209108] [drm] DAC-6: set mode 800x600 c

Also, my display resolution options went much higher in 9.04, now I have two choices (system/preferences/display) : 800x600 or 640x480 -- ugh!

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Codfather said...

Steve, have you modified your xorg.conf file to make sure it is calling UXA instead of EXA?