Ben's technical blog

Sat, 26 Jan 2013

What's in the Linux kernel for Debian 7.0 'wheezy', part 4

The Debian package of the Linux kernel is based on Linux 3.2, but has some additional features. This continues from parts 1, 2 and 3, and covers new and improved hardware support.

DRM drivers from Linux 3.4 (proposed)

Some recent Intel and AMD graphics chips were not supported well or at all by the DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) drivers in Linux 3.2. Although many bug fixes have been included in 3.2.y stable updates, we are considering updating them to the versions found in Linux 3.4. (We did something similar for Debian 6.0 'squeeze'.)

Julien Cristau has been working on this and has prepared binary packages. To install, run as root:

gpg --no-default-keyring --keyring /usr/share/keyrings/debian-keyring.gpg --export 310180050905E40C | apt-key add -
echo deb ./ > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/jcristau-wheezy-drm34.list
apt-get update
apt-get install linux-image-3.2.0-4.drm-amd64  # or -486, or -686-pae
Please test these and report your results to bug #687442. I would suggest testing suspend/resume (if applicable), use of internal and external displays on laptops, and 3D accelerated graphics (games and compositing window managers such as GNOME Shell). Remember that AMD/ATI graphics chips require the firmware from the firmware-linux-nonfree package for 3D acceleration and many other features.

amilo-rfkill driver

I wrote a standard rfkill driver for the Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo A1655 and M7440, based on the out-of-tree fsaa1655g and fsam7440 drivers. Unlike those, it should work with the rfkill command, Network Manager, etc.

ALPS touchpads

Newer touchpads made by ALPS use different protocols for reporting scroll and pinch gestures. Jonathan Nieder backported the changes to support these.

Wacom tablets

Jonathan Nieder updated the wacom driver to the version in Linux 3.5, adding support for the Intuos5, Bamboo Connect, Bamboo 16FG and various other models.

Emulex OneConnect 'Skyhawk'

Sarveshwar Bandi at Emulex contributed a backport of the be2net driver from Linux 3.5, adding support for their 'Skyhawk' chip.

Marvell Kirkwood

Marvell's Kirkwood SoCs have been supported upstream for some time and in Debian since release 6.0 'squeeze'. However new models and boards generally require specific support. Arnaud Patard backported support for the 6282 rev A1 chip found in QNAP TS-x19P II models, and for the Marvell Dreamplug and Iomega Iconnect.


More to come

Missing hardware support is an important bug that can be fixed by kernel updates during a freeze and throughout the lifetime of a stable release. If you know that new hardware isn't supported by the Debian kernel, please open a bug report. I can't promise that it will be fixed, but we need to know what's missing.

Hardware vendors that maintain their own drivers upstream (not out-of-tree) are especially welcome to contribute tested backports that add support for the latest hardware. Send mail to if you have any questions about this.

posted at: 15:42 | path: / | permanent link to this entry