Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Upgrading problems for Intel Graphic owners to Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx...

I am usually one of the first few people to upgrade my Ubuntu installation every time Canonical releases a new build of Ubuntu. However, I had noticed a few users having problems with their upgrades and decided to "wait and see".

There are now quite a few users reporting that Intel Graphic owners have problems with the KMS (Kernel Mode Switch) with the new kernels. I strongly suggest owners to wait until this problem is resolved and stick with Karmic Koala until then. You can find out more about this issue at the site with a Google query here.

I've read some websites saying that there is a quick fix to the problem where the kernel switches off KMS on known problematic graphic chipsets. Though this makes it easier to move from Karmic to Lucid, I'm personally going to wait until the problem is fixed (fixed with functionality, not fixed by switching the function off on problem machines). You can read about this workaround here.


  1. I've done a bit more research on the subject and what I've learned is older Intel graphics (i915 and older) all use the i915 driver. However, chipsets like the i820 (which uses the i915 driver) have problems with KMS. So the developers have put in a check to disable certain features on "problematic chipsets". If you are using i915, there is no problem.

    The easiest way to test is to download the ubuntu-10.04-desktop-i386.iso, burn it onto a CD and boot up from the disc. Then, go to:

    System -> Preferences -> Appearance

    Select the "Visual Effects" tab choose "Extra"

    If the desktop has all the bells and whistles, try running the .ogv video clip also found on the disc. If that works too, your Intel graphics is supported and should not give you any problems when you upgrade.

    Hope this clears things up.

  2. Some of my friends have asked me why I'm showing such hesitation prior to me upgrading from Karmic to Lucid and I think I owe everyone an explanation.

    A year ago, when 9.04 (Jaunty) was introduced, I had experienced a lot of problems with X-windows and the Intel graphics. Initially, it was just poor performance and then I heard about KMS (Kernel Mode Switching) and how it was being introduced into the Ubuntu eco-system. Not wanting the poor performance that the Ubuntu sanctioned drivers provided, I used xorg-edgers PPA and it was really, really experimental. One day it worked, the next I can't get X-windows to start.

    When 9.10 Karmic came out, it was so nice to use a stable OS that I was reluctant to be an "early adopter" thus my hesitation and finally, after 2.5 weeks, installed Lucid on my main machine. Life is great... :)