Ubuntu 9.04: New Intel Graphics Drivers

Jun 08, 2009

There is hope for Ubuntu users with Intel graphics. As it appears, the current 2D drivers solve most of the recent graphics problems with Intel chips, according to Ubuntu developer Bryce Harrington in a developer mailing list. Jaunty users should profit it from them as well.

A nuisance to owners of Ubuntu 9.04 and Intel graphics chips has been the problems with the graphics drivers. Even though Intel manages its drivers in an exemplary open source way, 2D and 3D acceleration has fairly much dragged so far. The reason is an unhappy pairing of the current Kernel 2.6.28's Kernel Mode Setting (KMS) with Intel's new UXA acceleration architecture that replaces EXA and the newly added Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) in the Kernel.

The solution should come in the form of the Intel driver, as Canonical's Bryce Harrington describes on the Ubuntu developer mailing list. The still somewhat unstable 2D driver should fix most of the Intel chip problems, with the stable version to appear later in Ubuntu 9.10.

Harrington mentions that Jaunty users have the advantage of the Kernel 2.6.30 installation to resolve the issue. Ubuntu source packets are on the kernel.ubuntu.com webpage. Harrington suggests activating the UXA module in the xorg.conf file, but not KMS, which is deactivated by default. To activate UXA, use Option AccelMethod "EXA" in the Section "Device" in /etc/x11/xorg.conf.

Installing the actualized 2D driver should, however, be accompanied by the stable Intel 2.7.1 driver that you can get from an external Personal Package Archive (PPA). The source package is xserver-xorg-video-intel. Careful, though: playing with Xorg can have adverse side effects, so backing up the original files might be a good idea.

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  • Linux is just "OK"....

    Linux is good when your hardware is supported out-of-box, but then it utterly sucks when it doesn't.

    It's sooooo hit and miss....
  • GRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!

    I use windows for games (gonna just buy an xbox) and work (no choice).

    Yeah. linux OS's crash occasionaly (im on ubuntu) and some times software doesnt load properly. But a quick trawl of the forums and it can be fixed.

    Sometimes windows crashes and software doest install properly, then im in the shizen. Windoze is locked down so tight you end up paying thru the nose for a new os.

    i have ubuntu on a netbook which is superb, i have it as a media center in the living room running on a laptop that windows designates as obsolete.

    I dont mean to knock windows, microsoft brought computing to the masses with a "relativley" stable OS, easy to use and a nice gui, but seriuosly........if you know what you want from a computer, switch to linux and make it do what you want it too rather than be told that you can do what your pc will let you do.

    Rant over

    ME out
  • Linux is great!

    Sorry about my written english.

    Two short stories:

    1) We have this old guy at word that have never used a computer. We also have this old notebook with 256K RAM and very small hard disk. What I did is I installed Ubuntu and gave it to this guy. He's been using it for months without a problem. The computer runs very fast. No single problem so far.

    2) A friend of mine came with the problem of windows saying the copy was not a legal copy. She told me another friend once reinstalled XP because the computer was giving problems. I installed Ubuntu and she has been very happy since then. No single problem so far.

    This is my humble opinion:

    There are power users and there are the regular, non IT specialists users. Linux installation so far is more suited for power users BUT it allows regular users to work without worrying every 5 minutes about the blue-screen-of-death or why the word processor has lost his/her document again.

    So, if you are a power user you will have no problem in installing and configuring Linux. Linux can work for you.

    In the other hand, If you are a regular user then you can ask for an IT specialists to help you install and configure Linux. It will make your computer life better than never. Think about it. You already use software you don't know how to install. You use google and the software it is installed somewhere somehow without worrying about it. You use Youtube the same way. So, ask for help. Is worth it, believe me.

    Linux distributions (or distros) are becoming more user friendly, but until they are fully friendly to anybody there is no reason to benefit of a very robust operating system NOW. You will become more productive because you will loose less time. Period. And I can say this because I used Windows OS for many many years and losted lots and lots of minutes. Windows is not-well-cooked software. If you respect your time use robust software like Linux.


    I needed to recover my kids 7 yr old Presario 1200 celeron 1.2, 512RAM 20GB/30GB HDDs with Windows XP. It was impossible to do anything on it. PERIOD.

    I went to a local computer store and asked for a brand new home server. Everything was between $400 to $600 dollars. Then asked for a desktop, nothing lower than $400 dollars. Money is scarce nowadays.

    I started looking at some of the trimmed XP versions. While searching for "light OS" I found the ubuntu forum and followed a couple suggestions.

    I hadn´t used Linux for a long time. I had used SCO Unix, AIX and Solaris at work. My last approach was BSD 10 years ago. I was not 100% convinced, linux was not for kids. Anyway I installed Xubunt 9.04.

    It was a breeze. Everything went perfect. Wireless Internet through a DLink USB, no problem at all. It even recognized the kids ipod shuffles and the canon printer.

    Later on, it experienced a minor problem. The machine started to freeze the screen mouse and keyboard after the screen saver was running for some time, but the cpu kept working fine, sharing drives and printer.

    I changed the power management settings and followed a couple settings recommended in this forum and the old machine is running great now.

    It is our new "$600 dollar home server". I loaded my itumes library on the second HDD and everybody now shares it wifi.

    Enabled a pdf reader (evince) and I have everyting I need. This is a rock solid, stable home server/printer server. The kids play online games, practice their keyboarding lessons, watch youtube videos, chat, use the itunes, while my wife prints from word or excel and I share itunes. Simultaneously.

    Now I am ready to replace my personal dell mini´s vista with Xubuntu 9.04. I am already testing it with pendrive linux on a 4GB USB drive, so far ok.

    I will keep mine and my wife´s main work laptops with vista since we need the office suite for day to day activities, specially for sharing word, excel and project documents with our colleagues.

    The difference between vista/xp and xubuntu is amazing. There is no point even comparing. In order to do all this I would need a $600+ dollar server with vista home premium or better. Xubuntu revived the old presario 1200. It's rock solid, it keeps up for days without any crash, even stands the kids use and abuse. Total cost=$1.50 dollars for the RW CD and two sunday afternoons just befor SNF. GREAT GREAT DISTRO.

  • Intel and Ubuntu

    For all the griping going on here, it sounds like a Microsoft Fanboy site.

    Despite the perial and pitfalls, I still prefer Ubuntu over Vista.

    Puuuuuuleazzzzzze...............Windows? Are you guys serious?

    Vista should be renamed "Wista"...... "Wista loaded something else".

    If you want to bitch about Ubuntu go to a Winbloz site. We don't need incompetent whiners here.

    No one ever told you Linux was kindergarten cup cake stuff; so shut your piehole and go get 'Wista or Win-7, the 'Wista band-aid.

    I'm sick of hearing all the little children crying on this thread. You all sound pathetic. Good grief, grow up. Linux has always been a work in progress. You all know that and if you don't then you're a MS troll so GTF out of here.

    If you can't work around bugs then you deserve Windows. Go back to Balmer and the Gates monopoly and be happy with the 'schitt they shovel you.


    Its nothing just wasting the money
  • Ubuntu 9.04 is a stinker

    I installed Ubuntu 9.04 on a friend's laptop a couple of weeks ago, replacing a broken XP. I've been using Linux for 6 odd years now but I'm beginning to grow very weary of all the regressions and breakages.

    Anyway, Ubuntu on this laptop (a high end Sony sub-notebook affair) has been a total disaster. The user interface was laggy, with frequent short hangs, generally slow responses, etc - symptomatic of the poor state of the Intel drivers. Worse, the battery life dropped to well under half that when the machine was running Windows. I tried enabling 'laptop mode', tweaked a few of the scripts, then got pissed off by the sheer buggyness of it all - eg, the thing wouldn't reliably go into laptop mode when starting on battery, the machine had to be briefly powered from AC, from whence laptop mode would work. And yes, this is a known bug. As are too many of the other flaky bits in Ubuntu - bugs just seem to 'hang around', but hey, they're making progress on fluffy wallpapers, etc...

    And before anyone rants that I should roll my sleeves up and fix it myself - well, I'm no programmer. I've done my bit where I can by reporting bugs, but in most cases, it's been a case of adding 'me too' to long lists of people experiencing the same.....

    As for my friend, well, we're re-installing XP and I very seriously doubt he'd be tempted to look at Linux again....
  • bah

    I feel like I've been RickRolled for the past 12 years.

    Intel Graphics run great on Windows. Unreal Tournament 2004, Fear, NWN, ... It's the game companies that force you to have Hardware Transform and Lighting. You don't actually need it. Take for instance the game Marvel Trading Card Game. It's basically Yugi'Oh cards with fancy 2-d graphics. But it forces Hardware T&L.

    The major problem is Linux is designed to be a rolling release. There are no major points at which it's considered stable. The developers will change a specification on a whim. Module formats, graphics drivers, Xorg specifications. Now with this GEM arch you can basically forget having comparable graphics with Windows until 2010. There is a serious lack of communication between the various groups: Xorg, Kernel development.

    Microsoft makes a sort of promise with their libraries. Stuff don't tend to change that much. They have to keep things stable and within a reasonable state as many products depend on it.

    Linux as a whole will change thousands of things between revisions. How the hell can anyone expect to keep up. There are standards but the distributions break them theirselves. Udev, Hal will all change and your Wacom tablet, mouse, keyboard, external usb devices will all quit or be renamed. Look at how many regressions happend just this year.

    If Mark want's to make things better then he needs to take over Debian as it's leader.

    Fedora should merge with Debian. To hell with all the rest. Gentoo has some great ideas about system building from source but basically they can be integrated into Fedora/Debian. Slackware, Arch, and the rest can just cease as they contribute nothing but stupid comments about performance and stability. They are not necessary anymore and can join or be left to the wild.

    Why should you listen to me? I've hacked this crap together for 12/14 years. I can tell you it's a bunch of kids playing a game of who can piss more and longer. They don't care.

    I really don't like using Microsoft products. But I'm so fed up with distributions and which packages go together and how to hold my foot with my hand in the right position while compiling.

    Hey maybe I'm wrong and soon they'll stabelize everything.

    We need one distribution, Focus, and a Goal.

  • I'd like my money back!

    I have been using Linux/Unix for more than 10 years now and at this point I am ready to just go to Windows or Apple. If anybody at a real company was stupid enough to create a disaster like this, he would be out of the door in five minutes!

    And the fact that Ubuntu is free is no excuse. I do not want a free piece of s**t! Actually the time I am wasting trying to fix this problem on my laptop is also worth something! So, I would like my money back!

    Finally to the 'read the release notes guy': You've got to be f**ing kidding me! Who in the world reads release notes? Anbody who assumes that people will read the release notes and decypher that 'significant regression' means Unusable is a dimwit! If they wanted to fix the problem the should have made a hardware compatibility chech a part of the upgrade/installation process and warn people that their hardware will not work with the 'new desktop background'. This brilliant idea has been around for at least 10 years now....
  • Jaunty is awfull

    Ubuntu 9.04 is a disaster for me. Internet crashes,E-mail doesn't work and don't get me started about the intel and nvidia graphics card drivers. I use my computer for work as alot of people do and I don't have the time to go adjusting everything thats wrong with this horrible system. Most people have lives and would rather spend time with family and friends than dealing with this horrible system.

    I wish Mr. Shuttelworth would worry more about making a system to work right than worrying about boot times and wallpaper. This was my first and last experience with Ubuntu or any other Linux based system.
  • GMA500

    Weren't you people TOLD to NOT frigging upgrade BECAUSE of problems with Intel Graphics?!?!?!?!

    To paraphrase: http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/releasenotes/904

    "Performance regressions on Intel graphics cards
    In some cases this will lead to the graphical environment not starting at all or becoming entirely unusable."

    Damn, some of you really ARE that stupid aren't you.
  • this jacked for reals

    i installed proprietary ati drivers on my lenovo U330 notebook. all was good... until i updated today and now my shitz broken. FRACK! lucky i have more than one computer.
  • yes, keep it quiet about the defects... best with a towel on your head.

    LinuxClassicist, you are full of bull...

    Ubuntu people deserve the harsh opinion of those who were f--ked up by this incident.
    Maybe they will think twice next time.

    And for those of you who got burnt, next time before you upgrade, wait a week or two and then check the Internet for problem reports.
  • Time to cool it

    Vitriol like several earlier messages in this thread gives Linux and its users a bad name.

    Please, everyone, it's time to cool it. Remember that, if you don't like the product, you are free to ask for your money back.

    Or to contribute to making it better.
  • Now what about Intel GMA500?

    That's great for the "real" Intel graphics chips, now what about the "fake" Intel-rebranded PowerVR chips, like the GMA500 in my Dell Mini 12?

    And to further the LTS bashing, 8.04 LTS shipped with a new libX11 based on libxcb that broke any multithreaded OpenGL application. So professional apps (Houdini, Shake, Matlab) just don't work. This despite having a bug report about it that the Ubuntu developers just kept denying was a bug.
  • Ubuntu Support Abysmal

    As indicated in a previous comment, Ubuntu's Long Term Support(LTS) doesn't mean what any reasonable person would assume. It doesn't mean that the boat load of defects and deficiencies it contains will ever be fixed. It doesn't mean that glaring bugs that hamper core functions will ever be fixed. It only means that they will claim to "support" it for several years.

    Personal anecdotes:

    Kernel bugs that severely impacted LTS desktops. The recommended solution was to install the non-LTS kernel from the next version. It remains unfixed in LTS. Really? Install development kernels on production LTS machines? Why use LTS then?

    An LTS server being used for email. A Debian regression in Amavis caused it to frequently crash and stop mail flow. The bug remained in LTS for eight months, despite being fixed in Debian upstream from BEFORE LTS shipped.

    Intel graphics support REMAINS abysmal even in 9.04, let alone LTS. Despite Intel's open sourcing of the official driver.

    But, it's good to know that they are hard at work on the latest wallpaper. It's good to know that Mark Shuttleworth is personally involved in reorganizing the shutdown button. It good to see a new tracker that crashes every time the index crawler runs, after bogging down the system for a hour.
  • Old driver works

    Reverting to the old driver as explained in


    worked for me. With the default driver I have no 3D and no video acceleration. Now all works.
  • xorg.conf changes

    I believe along with AccelMethod "UXA" one also needs to add "MigrationHeuristic" "greedy".
  • LTS doesn't mean stable

    LTS shouldn't be considered stable in the "it works!" sense. It's only stable in the "It doesn't change" sense.

    8.04LTS shipped with a broken PulseAudio, abysmal Flash crashes, and a _non-functioning_ default photo manager (on 64-bit).

    LTS doesn't mean what you think it does.
  • Ubuntu lifecycle

    Its worth pointing out that Ubuntu's release cycle is structured to have a stable release every two years, known as an LTS Release (Long Term Support), with Standard releases along the way. The Standard releases are designed as snapshots of developments upstream, and are not intended for those who want an absolutely stable platform.
  • Jump into a well and the others will follow you

    I got so annoyed by Intel and distros like Ubuntu, Mint and so on that pushed this drivers, even if they were fucking aware of the situation. THAT WAS VERY DUMB!

    Many people converted to windows, I was just about to do the same thing (but the installer didn't seen my hdd for some reason, strange).

    People have plenty of handicaps by using linux, stop pushing untested and half baked backend stuff already!
  • Good for video

    I don't really play any games on my computer and that's why I went with the Intel graphics. My graphics were initially pretty good, but because I set my update manager, to include backports and proposed updates, my video was severely crippled in 8.10 as the newer kernels started using GEM and Intel's drivers didn't keep up. I am now happy to say that the new driver has made great strides and my graphics are performing at least as well as they did before. My advice to anyone running Ubuntu with Intel graphics is to download the latest stable kernel from kernel.ubuntu.com, I use 2.6.29 and it works well (others suggest using the latest unstable kernel, but that messed up my mouse), and pair it with the latest stable xorg package. Be careful to use the ubuntu-x-swat repository and not the xorg-crack-pushers because the latter can be highly unstable and bork your system.

    Anyways, my video is now flicker free and lightweight games look good. With improvements in memory management and the Intel driver, the video performance can get much better.
  • Nvidia

    Several months ago, I bought a cheap Nvidia 5200FX graphics card for $49 because of this very same reason. I was tired of waiting for a solution. I do hope the Intel graphic card problem gets corrected soon. It's a win for everyone who uses Ubuntu and Linux.
  • too little, too late

    Unfortunately this is just not good enough. Canonical should NOT have shipped 9.04 (Jaunty) with such a buggy, unproven and most importantly /unreleased!/ Xorg in the first place, that was a huge mistake. I have had to re-install the much more stable 8.10 (Intrepid) on 2 of my machines because of it, since not only does this effect Intel but also ATI, and pushing out the unready PulseAudio was a big mistake too. I for one have lost a hell of a lot of respect for the Ubuntu devs after this disaster of a release and it honestly makes me wonder if these releases are even tested at all for things as important as graphics and sound - or whether the beta testers ALL have NVidia chips!!!
  • Too Late

    Unfortunately, the performance was so bad that I added a 1Xpci (yes one X) express 8800 Nvidia to my new mini system with a built in G45. I held my nose as I installed a proprietary driver to my otherwise clean system, but I'm over it now.

    I appreciate Intel's support of Linux but, Intel graphics just plain stink on any platform.


  • Ummmm...

    shouldn't that read:

    "To activate UXA, use Option AccelMethod "UXA" in the Section "Device" in /etc/x11/xorg.conf"


    I switched to UXA back when i first upgraded to Jaunty. I was lucky enough to for tat to fix the speed and be "mostly" stable (I only have problems if I push the Compiz to far). I'll be looking forward to seeing the new drivers make it into the main repo's

    Thanks for the article keeping us up on the progress.
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