GMA500 support on Linux not quite there yet.

Updated on 16 October 2014 by

Somehow, somewhere, there seems to be a problem getting quality Linux drivers out for Poulsbo’s GPU. First we hear about the delays with Moblin V2 on MIDs  and now we get this story from an experienced Linux contributor. Adam’s article explains problems with the source code and how difficult it is to get working in a new distribution. Clearly the work on the Poulsbo drivers for Linux is delayed.

Building your own distro is exactly what Moblin is all about. 12 linux distributors have signed up to use Moblin  but if they can’t work with the Poulsbo chipset there’s little hope for any Linux distro on MIDs and Z-series netbooks in the near future. Let’s hope that Intel are working hard behind the scenes and that clean, usable GMA500 drivers will be available soon

AdamW on Linux and more » Intel GMA 500 (Poulsbo) graphics on Linux: a precise and comprehensive summary as to why you’re screwed.

8 Comments For This Post

  1. NobbyNobbs says:

    Considering that even the Windows drivers don`t take full advantage of the gpu, this really should not come as a big surprise.
    Quite sad actually.

  2. fab says:

    it’s sad that actually it could be done but nobody is doing it. for us who would like to see this working it’s sad, for others there are other priorities.

    i hope by pushing this issue via (as adam wrote) phoronix and others it will get some attention and devl is progressing.

  3. anon says:

    What with the slowing economy and possible layoffs, the remaining coders probably won’t have free time to support fringe markets either…

  4. Adam Williamson says:

    anon: Linux is actually not really a ‘fringe market’ for the Poulsbo chipset, as it’s targeted not at conventional systems at all but at ‘sub-netbooks’ like the Vaio P and things like MIDs, which have extremely stringent size and power requirements. These systems are rather more likely to run Linux than your average laptop or desktop.

  5. Mark says:

    Intel Poulsbo (GMA500) Dissatisfaction Group
    Intel sells a video chip to Sony, Dell, MSI, Fujitsu, Kohjinsha, Aigo, OQO and other hardware manufacturers for the use in their netbooks, laptops and UMPCs. Intel has not provided working drivers for this chip thus crippling the hardware that uses this chip.

    The purpose of this group:

    1) Inform Intel and its hardware partners of their consumers dissatisfaction
    2) Provide the latest information pertaining to the development or lack thereof of the driver
    3) Inform potential purchasers of affected hardware of this problem so they may make a educated decision for their purchase
    4) Determine if there is enough interest for a class action lawsuit.

  6. Xl says:

    I’ve got a “Dell mini 12”, which came with Ubuntu 8.04. The poulsbo/GMA500 worked fine, no probs with watching videos on youtube and so on. After some automatic updates the systems modules list was almost empty and it didn’t work any more. So I unfortunately reinstalled the “mini” with the new Ubuntu 9.somewhat .
    One result is, that the graphic only works in VESA mode. Videos come around with extraordinary 0.75 frames per second… wow… this is not quiet a good way inspiring (windows-) users for linux.
    The monitors native resolution 1280×1024 isn’t available either. No chance to do anything like replacing an “existing” screen-resolution-mode with “i855-resolution” or “xrandr”.
    So I tried to reinstall the poulsbo/GMA500 drivers in Ubuntu 9, but solving the conflicts within the installed packages would have lead to removing the X … so I didn’t do that.
    The next thing I’ll do is reinstalling Ubuntu 8.04 with the DVD that came from Dell (including pousbo/GMA500 drivers) and deactivate automatic updates.


    Greedz Xl

  7. Jeff says:

    I know this is late but Ubuntu now has drivers for the GMA 500 chip.
    You will find them for your distro (up to and including Karmic) here:
    You follow the instructions here to get it working:

    Just be sure to substitute the repositories from the launchpad site for your Ubuntu distribution. I did this exact thing on Tuesday and it worked just fine, even the suspend works if you add the lines at the end of the article.

  8. VeraH says:

    Thought I’d try out that nice looking acer aspire one – too bad that the graphics isn’t supported – so now I’m going to a lovely AMD netbook from Packard Bell. Maybe INTEL isn’t loosing sleep over this one sale – but I have friends.:)

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