Intel GMA500 (Poulsbo) on Fedora 11: repository (with working 3D / compiz support)

So, finally I bit the bullet and did it. I’ve set up a repository with working packages for Intel GMA500 (Poulsbo) support on Fedora 11. You can just enable the repository and install the driver and it will work.


The driver is now available in RPM Fusion. All you need to do is enable the RPM Fusion repositories – you need non-free, that’s where the driver lives – and run:

yum –enablerepo=rpmfusion-nonfree-updates-testing,updates-testing install xorg-x11-drv-psb

then reboot, and all is good. If you want to use an external display alongside the internal one, you’ll need to edit the xorg.conf file and add a Virtual line, as briefly discussed in the old text below. Otherwise, that’s really all you need to do. All installation instructions below are obsolete, though some of the tweaks discussed are still useful (like the kernel parameter for the Vaio P). I will be removing my own repository shortly and maintaining the driver only in RPM Fusion.


Since first writing this post, I’ve made several updates to the packages. Video playback acceleration is now available: see this later post for details. libdrm-poulsbo is much cleaner and installs happily alongside regular libdrm. I have just updated the main driver package with a patch which make it default to ignoring ACPI for screen detection purposes. . The package now installs a service which automatically enables the driver and configures the ‘greedy’ EXA migration heuristic rather than ‘always’, which seems to improve performance and reliability for several testers (both here and on the Ubuntu forums), so you don’t need to modify xorg.conf yourself at all unless you want to do spanning across multiple displays.

A couple of gotchas with the packages have also emerged. You need to have the RPM Fusion repository enabled before you can use this repository, it just won’t work otherwise. Depending on your exact hardware – many Poulsbo-sporting machines don’t actually support PAE – you may also need to manually install (with yum) the i586 kernel-devel package instead of the i686-PAE kernel-devel package that the dependencies may pull in. If you’re using a Sony Vaio P, you’ll want the kernel parameters ‘mem=1900MB nohz=off’ to make everything go smoothly.


To install, as root:

rpm -Uvh
yum install xorg-x11-drv-psb

The only thing you’ll have to do manually is set up a /etc/X11/xorg.conf file, as there’s no way I can patch’s auto-detection from outside the X server package. You can just use mine if you like. It has a Screen section which sets up a framebuffer size of 3280×1050, which is what I need to have a 1680×1050 display side-by-side with the 1600×768 panel in my Vaio P; you can adjust that section to your needs, or take it out if you don’t expect to be doing any spanning with an external display. If you create your own xorg.conf, you may still need the line ‘Option “IgnoreACPI”‘ in the Device section, or you may not – I’m not entirely sure if it’s still needed with these latest versions of everything.

There’s some very horrible hackery in the libdrm-poulsbo spec to make it replace the regular libdrm without complaining, but if you don’t look at it, it won’t hurt you :). Sources are here (of course, this is still the partly-proprietary driver liberated from Ubuntu Netbook Remix, so there’s still no sources for the ‘firmware’ or xpsb-glx parts). Let me know if you have any trouble.

This is for F11, i586 only. I don’t believe any x86-64 system has a Poulsbo chipset, and I don’t have an F10 system so I can’t easily build F10 packages any more.

106 Responses

  1. Fanninger Thomas
    Fanninger Thomas October 21, 2009 at 12:10 pm | | Reply

    I have problems to install the poulsbo-driver from rpmfusion.
    I am using the PAE-Kernel from Fedora 11. On the active repository of rpmfusion is no akmod-psb or kmod-psb and after using of your link (yum –enablerepo=rpmfusion-nonfree-updates-testing install xorg-x11-drv-psb), I get a dependence error.

    Fehlende Abhängigkeit: kernel-uname-r = wird benötigt von Paket kmod-psb- (rpmfusion-nonfree-updates-testing)

    Is there no support for i686- and PAE-Kernel at the moment from rpmfusion?

    P.S.: Sorry for my bad english.

    Regards Thomas

  2. vitb
    vitb October 21, 2009 at 12:34 pm | | Reply

    More info.
    upon load of
    psb.ko with debug=5 ignore_acpi=1 no_fb=1 xres=1024 yres=768,
    dmesg reports:

    > [drm] psb –
    > [drm:psb_do_init] *ERROR* Debug is 0x00000005
    > [psb:0x01:psb_msvdx_init] MSVDX: psb_msvdx_init
    > [psb:0x01:psb_msvdx_init] Enabling clocks
    > [psb:0x01:psb_msvdx_init] MSVDX: Setting up RENDEC
    > [psb:0x01:psb_msvdx_init] MSVDX: RENDEC A: 10000000 RENDEC B: 10200000
    > [psb:0x01:psb_setup_fw] MSVDX: psb_setup_fw
    > [psb:0x01:psb_setup_fw] MSVDX: Detected Poulsbo D1 or later revision.
    > [psb:0x01:psb_setup_fw] MSVDX: RAM bank size = 4096 bytes
    > psb 0000:00:02.0: firmware: requesting msvdx_fw.bin
    > [psb:0x01:psb_setup_fw] MSVDX: Retrieved pointers for firmware
    > [psb:0x01:psb_setup_fw] MSVDX: text_size: 2841
    > [psb:0x01:psb_setup_fw] MSVDX: data_size: 1046
    > [psb:0x01:psb_setup_fw] MSVDX: data_location: 0x82882c80
    > [psb:0x01:psb_setup_fw] MSVDX: First 4 bytes of text: 0x9040c001
    > [psb:0x01:psb_setup_fw] MSVDX: First 4 bytes of data: 0x809058b0
    > [psb:0x01:psb_setup_fw] MSVDX: Uploading firmware
    > [psb:0x01:psb_upload_fw] MSVDX: Upload done
    > [psb:0x01:psb_upload_fw] MSVDX: Upload done
    > [psb:0x01:psb_setup_fw] MSVDX: MTX Initial indications OK
    > [psb:0x01:psb_setup_fw] MSVDX: MSVDX_COMMS_AREA_ADDR = 00002cc0
    > [psb:0x01:psb_setup_fw] MSVDX releasing firmware resouces….
    > [drm:psb_do_init] *ERROR* Gatt must be 256M aligned. This is a bug.
    > set the msvdx clock to 0 in the psb_msvdx_uninit
    > DRM: fill_in_dev failed
    > psb 0000:00:02.0: PCI INT A disabled
    > DRM: drm_get_dev failed.
    > psb: probe of 0000:00:02.0 failed with error -22

    So the same alignment error. Commenting out that check makes the X totally stuck. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Fanninger Thomas
    Fanninger Thomas October 22, 2009 at 6:40 am | | Reply

    sorry Adam, but on RPM-Fusion (Base + Update) is no kmod-Package. so it is not possible to install the driver on a new Fedora 11 (NET-Install) installation.
    Regards Thomas

  4. lintweaker
    lintweaker October 23, 2009 at 3:20 am | | Reply

    I am awaiting my new Archos 9 PCtablet which has a GMA500 and of course I will try to get Linux running on it. Are there poulsbo drivers for F12 yet? Or should I try F11 first?

  5. tcsnyder
    tcsnyder October 26, 2009 at 4:51 pm | | Reply

    is there any way to control the backlight brightness?

  6. cbrace
    cbrace October 29, 2009 at 2:37 am | | Reply

    Hi Adam,

    First of all, thanks for all your efforts here.

    I just installed F11 on a new Asus Eee PC 1101HA which has the GMA 500 chipset. Following your instructions, I installed xorg-x11-drv-psb from the Fusion repo. I haven’t changed xorg.conf.

    Unfortunately, the Eee freezes during the boot process, moments after the “Welcome to Fedora” “Starting UDEV…” lines. At the end of the xorg log there is an error message:

    Fatal server error:
    Caught signal 11. Server aborting

    The complete xorg log is here:

    Any ideas what is going wrong here?

  7. cbrace
    cbrace October 29, 2009 at 11:28 am | | Reply

    Ahhh… did I paste the wrong log?

    After the bootup sequence froze, I rebooted with run level 1. When I got the root prompt, I copied the xorg log to my home directory.

    What works is booting with the kernel- During the bootup it complains that there is psb.ko, but otherwise X comes up fine, except that resolution is limited to 800×600 and obviously not accelerated.

    However, if I try to boot kernel kernel-, for which the kmod appears to be present, the boot process freezes at the point I mention above.

    pm -qa | grep kmod

    Let me know if you need any additional info.


  8. cbrace
    cbrace October 29, 2009 at 1:26 pm | | Reply

    I have just realized that the Eee is not freezing during when booting the later kernel w/ the psb kmod; just that the screen goes blank.

    Just now I have rebooted it with the 2.6.30 kernel. To my surprise, I find I can ssh into it from my desktop box; all the services have come up. According to ps, gdm and X are running.

    There is nothing of interest in the system log. This time however I do have a relevant xorg log for you:

    As you can see in line 5, this time it is booting 2.6.30 (last time this line indicated 2.6.29… my bad)

    Any idea what is going on here?

  9. lintweaker
    lintweaker October 31, 2009 at 6:17 am | | Reply

    # go with F11, I don’t have F12 working yet.
    # By adamw October 23rd, 2009 at 7:11 am
    OK, thanks. I just tried F12 beta (i686 live CD) and it would not go past starting udev anyway. The F11 live CD seems to be working fine. Although there is no touch screen or working mouse, but that’s another matter.

  10. tcsnyder
    tcsnyder November 4, 2009 at 2:29 pm | | Reply

    Just for the news. Mandrive 2010 RC2 has full support for the GMA500 from the start. It recognized and installed the driver on installation. Works with compiz like a charm

  11. lintweaker
    lintweaker November 6, 2009 at 3:22 am | | Reply

    I finally managed to get the PSB driver working on my Archos 9 tablet! Now it is running fine with a beautiful 1024×600 resolution 🙂 Unfortunately the tablet itself is not really usable with Linux, both the mouse and touchscreen do not work…

  12. cbrace
    cbrace November 7, 2009 at 8:38 am | | Reply

    tcsnyder: thanks for the tip. I downloaded the new Mandriva release and gave it a try. Alas same results; the screen just blanks out at a given moment in the boot process.

    Here is a guy who got Fedora 11 working with the pcb driver on the same model Eee PC I have:
    I wish I knew what he is doing differently.

  13. cbrace
    cbrace November 7, 2009 at 8:43 am | | Reply

    ahhh….. WordPress stripped the URL out. Trying again with tinyurl:

    If that doesn’t work, it is a customer review of the Eee PC 1101HA at by a customer named Martin Stadtler.

  14. ty4a
    ty4a November 7, 2009 at 1:36 pm | | Reply

    I have Acer AcpireOne 751 with GMA 500
    I install Fedora 12 beta on my netbook. (I try to install 11, but i can’t – setup fail)
    do with rpmfusion and poulsbo repository yum install xorg-x11-drv-psb

    Nov 07 23:35:57 Installed: kmodtool-1-18.fc11.noarch
    Nov 07 23:35:58 Installed: xpsb-glx-0.18-4.fc11.i686
    Nov 07 23:36:01 Installed: akmods-0.3.6-3.fc12.noarch
    Nov 07 23:36:01 Installed: psb-firmware-0.30-3.fc11.noarch
    Nov 07 23:36:09 Installed: xorg-x11-drv-psb-0.31.0-11.fc11.i586
    Nov 07 23:36:10 Installed: akmod-psb-4.41.1-8.fc11.i586

    When system boot with psb driver (kernel- – error. It can’t find psb.ko file.
    see fail log:

    Then i try to make patch:
    but when compile – next error:
    make[2]: *** Нет правила для сборки цели (no rule for compile target) `/usr/src/akmods/psb-kernel-source-4.41.1/i810_drv.o’, needed for `/usr/src/akmods/psb-kernel-source-4.41.1/drm-psb.o’.

    Where I can get i810_drv. sources to compile it? Or maybe exist already compiled psb.ko for kernel-*

  15. cbrace
    cbrace November 10, 2009 at 12:34 am | | Reply

    Poulsbo isn’t officially supported by Ubuntu 9.10, but someone has already fixed that:

    I had no luck with this, but perhaps someone else will.

  16. johnscott
    johnscott November 11, 2009 at 10:27 pm | | Reply

    Thank you for your Poulsbo driver for Fedora 11.
    Unfortunately my new Acer Aspire 751 will not reboot with the psb driver and I ask whether you could suggest a way forward.

    1 .. yum install xorg-x11-drv-psb completes perfectly
    2 .. manual edit of xorg.conf to line Driver “psb” is overwritten on reboot to Driver “vesa”
    3 .. use of your posted xorg.conf results in no driver loaded, ie terminal only
    4 .. deletion of xorg.conf results in a new autogenerated file with once again Driver “vesa”
    5 .. adding Option “IgnoreACPI” “yes” makes no difference

    I would be most grateful for your ideas

  17. johnscott
    johnscott November 11, 2009 at 11:11 pm | | Reply

    Since my previous comment re Poulsbo driver Fedora 11 Acer Asire 751, I have stumbled upon the solution. Having installed kmodtool, akmods, psb-firmware, akmod-psb, a reboot installed the Driver “psb” perfectly.
    It has made an amazing improvement.
    Many thanks again.

  18. edward.h.welbon
    edward.h.welbon November 22, 2009 at 10:37 am | | Reply

    I installed the psb driver in Fedora 11 on an Acer One (A0751h with 1366 x 768 display) without a hitch. It certainly improved the graphics performance and seemed to work well. However, my will power is weak and I have installed Fedora 12 (in part to to get the stated Atom performance improvements).

    But I don’t see a psb driver for Fedora 12 in the rpm fusion archive (I followed the instructions for enabling the archive). My guess is that you have not yet ported the psb/poulsbo/gma500 driver to F12, do you think you will?

    I suppose that if you end up building a specific kernel (one that does not support PAE) that you would build it with the Atom improvements (which would seem ideal).

  19. edward.h.welbon
    edward.h.welbon November 22, 2009 at 7:27 pm | | Reply

    By the way, I don’t want to come off as unappreciative of the not inconsiderable effort that you put into the port of the Poulsbo Video driver for F11. I am very glad that you did it. I only wish there was some way I could help.

  20. pysco68
    pysco68 November 26, 2009 at 10:07 pm | | Reply

    BTW, for Ubuntu 9.10 there is a simple tutorial over there:

    it’s french but copiing the command line contents is enough to get trough, and it definately works!

  21. sreejiraj
    sreejiraj December 1, 2009 at 6:31 am | | Reply

    @edward i tried installing from the ‘fedora 12’ repo from adam’s site.. sadly, i didn’t make it to X on reboot 🙁 However, the install process didn’t report any errors, i think.. anyway, more waiting I guess.. currently on opensuse11.2 till then (the only distro, apart from mandriva, that has working poulsbo on its latest version?)

  22. AdamW on Linux and more » Blog Archive » FUDCon Toronto 2009 wrap-up

    […] people. Over the three days of the conference, I must have talked to at least 20 people about Poulsbo. It’s a very hot topic, and it’s only going to get hotter. The theme is still one of […]

  23. dglaros
    dglaros August 10, 2010 at 2:23 pm | | Reply

    for VLC player must go to tools–>preferences –>video in output chose X11 video output and play video

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  27. Lunar-Moth
    Lunar-Moth August 15, 2011 at 2:10 am | | Reply

    Hi Adam, I registered just to say huge THANK YOU for all your work on Poulsbo for Fedora. I’m just a simple Fedora Fanboy (since Core 3) but if I say that many of us would be out in the cold without your work it would be an understatement. I just tried to install Fedora 15 on my Wife’s Dell 1010 and your code wasn’t there, then I read your comment that there was no interest upstream & you had gotten rid of your gma500 laptop, so I; ‘kissed her little sister’ and installed F14 and it flew in, Kudos to you Adam, may you “Live Long and Prosper) Moth

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