Intel Arc on Ubuntu 23.04 Daily Builds
Ubuntu 22.04 and 22.10 didn't provide an out-of-box experience for the new Intel Arc GPUs. Is Lunar Lobster ready for the challenge?
- Sean Potter
As per our previous article on getting Intel Arc GPUs functional on Ubuntu’s current LTS, 22.04, out-of-the-box support is lacking. The Kubuntu 22.10 installer wouldn’t even load with an Arc GPU installed in the system, and Intel’s pre-packaged drivers for 22.04 weren’t working for many of us. By installing a newer kernel and bleeding-edge packages from Intel and Mesa, the Arc GPUs were working, however not in a state for daily use.
With the release of Ubuntu 23.04 just shy of two months away, I wanted to see if support for the Arc GPUs had improved yet – and how much. Codenamed Lunar Lobster, the 23.04 release will see many packages upgraded from the 22.04 and 22.10 releases. Linux Kernel 5.15 shipped with 22.04, and based on our testing, we’re hoping to see Linux Kernel 6.1 or 6.2 as the default in the Lunar Lobster release, as well as a minimum of Mesa 23.0.
Testing was done with a late-February build of Ubuntu 23.04. The installer image was placed on a thumbdrive and upon booting the system, the Ubuntu graphical installer came up without any issues or complaints. The installer wasn’t able to resize itself to the native resolution of the monitor being used, but it was more than usable to get the base system installed. This is the first step in the right direction for 23.04, as the 22.10 installer would not even load with an Intel Arc GPU.
Installation went smoothly, and upon rebooting the system, the Ubuntu login screen appeared at the monitor’s native resolution.
Welcome to Lunar Lobster
Being as this version of 23.04 is not yet even a beta, many pieces of software are not yet the final version that will ship at release. Front and center is the Linux kernel: this daily build ships with Linux kernel 5.19, which is not going to provide the necessary support for a stable desktop running on an Intel Arc GPU. Thankfully Kernel 6.1 is available in 23.04’s software sources directly from Ubuntu.
Firing up a terminal and running glxgears appeared to be working fine, however vainfo showed no hardware acceleration for video encoding and decoding, and the system couldn’t find any audio devices. The version of Mesa that shipped with this daily build was also less than Mesa 23.0, so it doesn’t appear the 23.04 daily builds are ready for Arc support just yet.
Following the instructions from our previous article and using Kernel 6.1 from Ubuntu’s repositories, I was able to get the Intel Arc A380 running relatively more stable than in 22.04, however it isn’t necessarily worth publishing these details for what isn’t even a beta or release candidate for Lunar Lobster/23.04. As packages are finalized for the 23.04 release and beta or release candidate installers are made available, additional testing will be required.
If Ubuntu is able to ship 23.04 with Linux Kernel 6.1 or 6.2, as well as Mesa 23.0 or higher, then a stable out-of-box experience for Intel Arc GPUs may be coming soon.