[ubuntu-x] Status of kernel X drivers

Chase Douglas chase.douglas at canonical.com
Thu Feb 18 15:38:07 UTC 2010

Timo Aaltonen wrote:
> On Thu, 18 Feb 2010, Christopher James Halse Rogers wrote:
>> As far as nouveau goes, this is pretty obviously the best solution; we
>> won't be supporting nouveau except via the lbm packages, so there's no
>> real packaging overhead.  Also, if we wanted to ship a kernel component
>> newer than that found in 2.6.33 we'd need to deal with the API bump that
>> has been threatened for ages an has now been made.  This would be
>> difficult, but not impossible, to deal with.  At this, post
>> feature-freeze stage, I don't think it's worth the effort.

If nouveau is provided through lbm, and the (what I presume) 
linux-backports-modules-nouveau package is installed by default, then should we 
be considering how this will affect the SRU process for lbm as well? The current 
SRU process for lbm is much looser than for the linux-image package. I assume 
this is because lbm isn't installed by default and isn't fully supported in the 
same manner. If we are going to be supporting nouveau to the same degree as we 
do drivers in linux-image, perhaps we should think about splitting the nouveau 
drivers out as a separate package. This would ensure that the support levels of 
the lbm drivers are uniform instead of the mix that would entail if we put 
nouveau in lbm.

A second proposal I'd like to make would be integrating some of these drivers 
into jockey. Right now jockey proposes proprietary, marginally supported drivers 
for ubuntu. This is similar to lbm in that the drivers provided are not 
supported to the same level as the default modules provided by linux-image. 
There are many cases, however, where the lbm drivers may solve issues for ubuntu 
users. Unfortunately, lbm is not really advertised anywhere. I believe it would 
be useful for users to have the option through jockey to install backport 
modules, with all the disclaimers of level of support. This helps us not only by 
providing a possibly better experience for end users when lbm fixes their 
issues, but also through testing. We would be more likely to see bug reports 
like, "My hardware doesn't work in lucid until I install lbm". We can find and 
vet individual fixes more easily and integrate them into the linux-image package.

This would be very useful for cases where the intel drivers in linux-image can't 
be fixed due to non-trivial backporting of patches, but the updated drivers 
could still be provided through lbm. Jockey could look for graphics chipsets 
that we know function better through lbm and then suggest them to the user just 
like it's done today for proprietary drivers.


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