Thu, 11 Mar 2010

Intel Embedded Graphics Driver Fail.

In my day job I do Linux embedded work and as people in the embedded world know, Linux is a pretty commonly used embedded OS. Today I was evaluating a new board and found it had an Intel graphics chip that was not properly detected by Ubuntu 9.10. The ever trusty lspci said this:

  00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation System Controller Hub
        	(SCH Poulsbo) Graphics Controller (rev 07)

We all know that Intel employs a bunch of well known Xorg developers, so this shouldn't be a problem, right?

Unfortunately, it is a problem. Intel's offering for this chipset is the Intel® Embedded Graphics Drivers web page where they offer a 124 megabyte download (registration required). After registration you get to choose which driver pack you want and which OS you are downloading it for. Ubuntu was not on the list and neither was Debian. I chose Fedora 10 (released in 2008) as that was the most recent one.

Now, you can image my surprise when the driver download for Fedora Linux contained just four files:

  Archive:  /tmp/
      testing: UsersGuide_10_3_1525.pdf   OK
      testing: IEGD_10_3_GOLD_1525.exe    OK
      testing: IEGD_SU_10_3_GOLD.pdf      OK
      testing: RELNOTES_10_3_1525.txt     OK
  No errors detected in compressed data of /tmp/

Yep, thats right, the driver download for Fedora Linux contains two PDF files, a text file and an executable installer for Windows.

Being the curious (and paranoid) type I decided to explore this further, by running the installer under WINE in a chroot. After the installer you get left with several metric craploads of Java Jar files, and another windows executable iegd-ced.exe that supposedly configures this nightmare. I ran it (again, under WINE in a chroot) but it didn't seem to do anything sensible or worthwhile so I looked around amongst the other installed files and found IEGD_10_3_Linux.tgz.

Inside that tarball there are a bunch of Xorg library binaries (for several different versions of Xorg), a large chunk of source code that gets compiled into the Linux kernel and even better yet, a couple of Microsoft Visual Studio project files. WTF?

Unbe-fscking-lievable. Needless to say, I will avoid any hardware which uses this chipset and any other hardware that requires binary only kernel blobs packaged this badly. Doing so makes my life easier.

The people at Intel who thought this was a good idea must have their own personal mother-lode of stupid.

Posted at: 20:24 | Category: CodeHacking/Embedded | Permalink