The Fedora Linux community is preparing something that most of us have been waiting for so long, something that should have been implemented in most GNU/Linux distros a long time ago.
Switchable graphics support is now a new self-contained change proposed today, July 7, 2016, for the upcoming Fedora 25 operating system, which will be released later this year around the date of November 8. The Fedora developers are already offering some improvements to switchable graphics support on Fedora 24, thanks to the new Linux 4.6 kernel series.
However, they are planning to further improve switchable graphics support for all modern laptops that have a dedicated GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) along with the integrated GPU into their processor. The goal for the Fedora 25 is for everyone to use the switchable graphics implementation without it draining the battery to making the laptop hot.
Linux support for switchable graphics currently is not very good
Another goal is to allow the integrated GPU to be used by default for maximum battery life and a cool and quiet laptop, while keeping the essential functions of the system required for an optimal experience, such as suspend, resume (both with an external monitor connected and while docked), external outputs, as well as suspending the dedicated GPU when it’s not being used.
“Linux support for switchable graphics currently is not very good. E.g. on many laptops some of the external connectors are only connected to the dgpu and to be able to use those external connectors without issues users need to change the default gpu to the dgpu, resulting in a hot running laptop and the battery draining much faster,” said Jan Kurik, Fedora Program Manager at Red Hat.
Fedora devs promise that, as part of the new goal of improving switchable graphics support in Fedora Linux, users will be able to run applications and games that require the dedicated GPU using the “DRI_PRIME=1 program” parameter. Also, they will collaborate with the GNOME developers to ensure the “Displays” section of the GNOME Control Panel works properly on switchable-graphics setups.