As reported by Phoronix, (opens in new tab) Intel has released its first Arc GPU driver package designed specifically for Linux. The new driver package eliminates the learning curve required to manually install Intel’s Arc drivers on Linux, allowing anyone to conveniently install Intel’s Arc GPU drivers on supported Linux OSs. But, for now, the new driver package is designed solely for Ubuntu version 22.04 LTS and will not work on any other version.
For the uninitiated, graphics drivers in Linux do not consist of just a single driver – as you might think. Instead, to get a physical GPU fully operational within a Linux environment requires several different drivers, including DRM kernel drivers, OpenGL drivers for OpenGL rendering applications, and an ANV driver for Vulkan-supported video games – to name a few. These drivers are required on top of the actual Intel graphics driver, to make Arc GPUs fully operational with Linux.
Before Intel released its new Arc driver package, users with an Arc GPU had to ensure all these additional drivers were installed and the correct versions were also installed. On top of this, users also need to know which Linux kernel and Mesa 3d Graphics Library versions Intel supports, which will make or break compatibility with Intel’s Arc GPU drivers.
With Intel’s new Arc graphics driver stack, all this extra work goes away since the driver package comes with all the necessary drivers you’ll need in the first place. In addition, it will make driver installation far easier for both novices and experienced Linux users alike – with a similar installation method as Windows-based driver installations.
Unfortunately, the Linux driver package only supports Ubuntu version 22.04 LTS at this time, with no word on when Intel will push out more packages for other Linux versions – for both Ubuntu and non-Ubuntu distros. There’s also no word on how fast Intel will keep its graphics driver packages up to date, which could become problematic. It depends on how committed the company supports its Linux consumer base.
So depending on how things play out, you might be forced to update drivers manually if Intel does not update its driver packages regularly with the latest driver updates. But for now, we’re glad to see Intel providing a driver package at all, as it will significantly reduce the learning curve required to get Arc GPUs operational for users running Ubuntu version 22.04 LTS.