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Discrete Intel GPU Driver / Firmware Question


I have been reading a lot about the Intel's Xe DG1 and DG2.


I have long used integrated Intel graphics because they play very nicely with an entirely Free Software (as in the FSF that I have donated to) Operating Systems. It's actually the key reason why I shy away from the other manufacturers. They typically require proprietary drivers or firmware to even work at all on a GNU + Linux System.


NVidia's is just plain proprietary. AMD's requires proprietary firmware to work; thus making it not able to work in such a Free Software environment and ultimately pointless to me.


Intel's integrated graphics have always played nicely, but have not been very performance competitive with the other two.


This looks like it's about to change with the new Intel discrete graphic cards on the horizon. But, will the drivers and firmware still maintain being Free Software compatible, or will there be a switch to proprietary now that the discrete cards are being made to be more performant?


I ask because I don't want to waste my money buying one once it comes out just to realize that it requires a proprietary driver and or proprietary firmware to use. At that point, it is in the same position as all the other manufactures and is useless to me and I don't want to be out my money.


If it does not require a proprietary driver and or proprietary firmware to use in a GNU + Linux System, then this news will be very exciting and I will finally be able to build for myself a computer system that is graphically powerful with an entirely Free Software OS. This is something that has literally been impossible up until possibly now.


I am so very tempted to buy one, and have even seen news that Best Buy is selling a computer with DG1 in it. But, I read that 'DG2 is just around the corner' and so it might be wise for me to wait for that. That, and regardless of which one I might be interested in buying; I really don't want to be the test case of thinking it will work all plug and play all nicely and then only find out after I buy it that it requires a proprietary driver and or proprietary firmware.


I run Parabola which is arch-based and so as a rolling release I get the newest version of software very quickly. So, getting an updated Intel graphics driver from my system's repo should not be a problem. I just want to know that everything will play nice with one of these cards before I spend any money on them.


I ask this at all because I got burned a little while back buying an AMD computer because I read that AMD has a good Free Software graphics driver now only to realize it still requires proprietary firmware. That computer is now a very, very expensive paper weight that I need to try to sell on Craigslist. I do not want a repeat disappointment with Discrete Intel Cards. I'd really rather just know ahead of time. Being so new, I can't just ask in a forum somewhere because nobody else that I know of has any of these yet to test for themselves and I could imagine a lot of people in the Free Software Community being hesitant to spend their own money to test.


If anyone who knows can answer this question that would be great. I want to get excited for these new cards so badly. But, I just don't want to get it home, plug it in, and then encounter endless error messages that when researched tell me I made a huge financial mistake and require a proprietary driver or firmware. At that point, I've just wasted my money as Intel would have become just like the rest of them and it will be the AMD PC all over again and I will be sad and out of money for a device I no longer want to use.

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2 Replies


Thank you for posting on the Intel® communities and for your interest in Intel® products.


Regarding your concerns, it is worth mentioning that Intel does not provide direct downloads and technical support for Linux drivers. The Intel Graphics Linux driver is primarily supported through the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), the Linux distribution vendor, or by the Intel Open Source Technology Center at For more information, please review Supported Operating Systems for Intel® Graphics Products, footnote/disclaimer # 4.


We don't comment on unreleased products. Currently, Intel® Graphics including Intel® Iris® Xe MAX Graphics (DG1) support Linux through this link We recommend referring to the previous link, your OEM or Linux distribution vendor.


Having said that, we will proceed to close this inquiry now. If you need any additional information, please submit a new question as this thread will no longer be monitored.


Best regards,

Andrew G.

Intel Customer Support Technician


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Thank you Andrew G. for your reply. It was very informative.


It was very helpful in that it explained that Intel doesn't comment on unreleased products and that it explained to me who creates the driver and where to go to get good information about the driver. So, from what I am understanding, you basically told me this is where I need to go and look at once the product releases.


I will continue to look for news and information regarding these new cards. The resources you provided me will be helpful with that.


Thank you for taking the time to share this information with me. The reply also made me feel hopeful in that "Currently, Intel® Graphics including Intel® Iris® Xe MAX Graphics (DG1) support Linux through this link." Hopefully support will extend to the DG2 line of cards as well. I guess time will tell.


I will certainly keep looking when the line of cards gets closer to launch.


Thank you again for your time.

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