Intel updates its open source Linux drivers
Intel's developers have released version 12.07 of the open source Intel graphics package for Linux systems. The package includes the new X Server drivers for Intel cards as well as several other components that have been tested with these drivers.
The most important new feature of the release is version 2.20.0 of the xf86-video-intel driver for the X Server. This includes a new 2D acceleration method, called SNA, that can be selected at runtime by specifying
Option "AccelMethod" "sna" in the Xorg.conf file. The SNA architecture is designed to make better use of new features in modern Intel graphics cards and aims to be faster and consume less CPU than the older UXA method. Alternatively, users can also activate the Glamor method which accelerates 2D graphics by using OpenGL. Both of these methods are currently considered experimental. The established UXA architecture and other portions of the driver have also received several bug fixes. Alongside version 2.20.0, the developers have also separately released version 2.10.1 of the X Server driver to fix problems they found while preparing the rest of the driver package.
Intel's graphics driver package is aimed at developers looking for a pre-tested bundle of components rather than Linux end users. Aside from the actual drivers, the collection also includes other software components that have been tested in conjunction with them. This encompasses the stable 3.4.x version of the Linux kernel which was released in May and which uses the RC6 power saving mode by default. It also supports the GT2 server chipset based on the Ivy Bridge architecture. The included 3D driver is version 8.0.4 of Mesa 3D which fixes several problems of older 8.0.x releases but includes almost no new features.