Alpha Status Removed from Intel Ice Lake Gen11 Graphics Driver

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In yet another sign that Ice Lake processors are coming to market soon, Intel removed the alpha support flag for the upcoming Gen11 graphics in the latest pull request for its open-source developers. That signals that the drivers are now considered mature enough to be enabled by default. On previous kernels, this flag was required for users to acknowledge the early alpha hardware support. Intel also added support for Comet Lake's aging Gen9 graphics.

The first release candidate (rc1) of Linux Kernel 5.1 was debuted last week, containing changes such as enabling Intel Fastboot by default on Skylake (and later) and support for HDCP 2.2. But Intel's Linux software engineers have already sent out their first pull request for Linux 5.2, which is planned for this summer (as Phoronix reports) and contains several Ice Lake fixes. A pull request tells others about changes the developer made to a branch in a code repository. 

The removal of the alpha support flag is an obvious next step in Intel's Linux enablement as Ice Lake gets closer to launch. Intel has repeated for the last year, and most notably at their December Architecture Day and later at CES, that Ice Lake would be on shelves for the holidays, but a leak last month suggested that that might already happen as soon as June. With the new Sunny Cove and Gen11 CPU and GPU architectures, Ice Lake is the first significant architectural revision of Intel's CPUs since Skylake debuted with its Gen9 graphics in 2015.

In a similar spirit, driver support for Comet Lake's Gen9 graphics has also been added with more than a dozen new PCI IDs. Comet Lake is yet another 14nm refresh of Skylake, succeeding Coffee Lake. It is expected to launch starting in Q2 for mobile CPUs along with a new chipset (PCH). The maximum core count is expected to increase to eight for laptops and to ten for desktops.

The full list of this Linux 5.2 pull request, including additional HDCP 2.2 support and enabling Panel Self Refresh 2 by default, can be viewed here.