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11 March 2013, 17:09

Intel's graphics driver installation program for Linux

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Intel On its "Open Source Technology Center", Intel recently released an installation program that updates Intel graphics drivers for some Linux distributions, including the 32- and 64-bit x86 versions of Fedora 17, Fedora 18, Ubuntu 12.04 and Ubuntu 12.10. Once the program package is installed, the intel-linux-graphics-installer program can take a look at the distribution and connect to repositories from which it pulls packages with newer drivers.

Intel's installer on Fedora 18
Zoom Intel's installer on Fedora 18
The program worked well during a quick test with Fedora 18 by The H's associates at heise Open. Since the drivers in Fedora 18 are already fairly up-to-date, the program only installed Intel's libva driver, which programs linked against LibVA can use to take advantage of video acceleration on current graphics hardware from Intel. Fedora doesn't come with this driver because it uses technology protected by patents, but it is available in RPM Fusion's Fedora add-on repositories.

The content of Intel's package repository for the x86 64-bit version of Fedora 17 suggests that much more is installed in that version, with the program replacing Cairo, libva, llvm, Mesa, Wayland, the Intel driver and more with its own packages. Past experience has shown that such extensive changes in distribution components tends to lead to issues sooner or later, such as drivers that don't work together at various levels of the graphics stack or problems with package dependencies when the distributor updates some of the components. The installer apparently also changes out a number of components in Ubuntu;, a web site that focuses on the distribution, has already reported dependency problems in the x86 64-bit version of Ubuntu 12.10.


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