If you have a laptop with an Intel processor and you run a Linux distribution on it, be careful. There are numerous reports of users who have seen the equipment screen oscillate when displaying images because of a failure in the Linux kernel 5.19.12. As a consequence, the panel may even be damaged. The good news is that the problem already has a solution.
Screen that flickers like in a “rave”
Investigations indicate that the flaw is related to the i915 graphics driver, which makes the kernel compatible with certain Intel GPUs, such as the HD Graphics series.
When the problem manifests itself, the screen may go all white and flash continuously. O Phoronix found the account of a user who stated that the “laptop screen starts to flicker like the lights of a 90s rave party”.
You failure reports started to emerge last week. A user faced the issue on a Lenovo Legion 5 laptop with Intel Core i7-12700H processor. Another had the same experience with a Lenovo notebook equipped with an i7-1065G7 chip.
These and the other cases have two characteristics in common: the problem appears only on machines with Intel processors; the kernel used in all of them is Linux 5.19.12. On laptops based on AMD chips, this version works normally.
As soon as he learned of the problem, Ville Syrjäl, an engineer at Intel, set out to investigate. He found that the cause is a delay in the screen’s power sequencing.
It may not seem like it, but the failure is serious. In addition to the fact that the problem prevents the user from using a graphical environment on the computer, in extreme cases, image oscillation can damage the screen. This is because the panel starts to work outside the standards for which it was manufactured.
Linux 5.19.13 fixes the issue
Syrjäl recommended that the installation of Linux 5.19.12 be rolled back to the previous version (5.19.11) while there is no fix. But the Linux community tends to act quickly in cases like this. O Linux 5.19.13which fixes the problem, was released for download on Tuesday (4).
Some users affected by the issue have performed the update and confirmed that after the update, their notebook screen returned to normal.
But it is necessary to pay attention. The release of a new kernel version depends on the schedule or validation of the distribution maintainers. This means that, in some cases, the update may not be readily available.
When in doubt, check the package names of an update before actually installing it. At the fedorafor example, the new version is now available.
For the record, there are no reports linking the issue to the recently released Linux kernel 6.0.