Status of the GMA 500 driver

Adam Jackson ajax at
Fri Dec 5 08:58:54 PST 2008

On Thu, 2008-12-04 at 21:34 -0500, Josh Adams wrote:
> I recently bought a new Dell Inspiron Mini 12 with the hope of putting
> Linux on it as soon as I got it, only to discover that there doesn't
> seem to be support the GMA 500 chipset that it uses.  While I can trim
> a lot of the fat off of Vista to get it in a semi-usable state, I'd
> much rather be running Arch or Fedora on it.  Anyways, I realize now
> that this is a new chipset and I was having trouble finding any
> information about this chipset with linux after much googling, so I
> figured it would be best to go straight to the source.

The GMA500 is not really an Intel chip, it's a PowerVR core glued onto
one.  Fairly sure it's not the same thing as the 'vermilion' driver
we've got, but hard to say without PCI IDs.  Sensible open source
support is rumored to be forthcoming though.

The whole story here is something along the lines of one side of Intel
deciding that Linux was a good way to ship cheap low-wattage machines,
and thus making a cheap low-wattage machine without concern for silly
little matters like whether they could release open drivers for it at
the time it shipped (or ever, really).  Meanwhile the other side of
Intel - the side that understands what open source is and how it works -
is left totally out of the product planning loop, so doesn't get the
chance to point out that this is perhaps not the best idea.

- ajax
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