Linux will support the privacy feature of Lenovo notebook screens

The ever-increasing quality of laptop screens has raised concerns about the ability of gawkers to see and record what is printed on them, and so in recent years there has been a push for technologies that limit the viewing angles of laptop screens. However, these technologies have come up against a typical stumbling block in these parts: the lack of Linux support.

Taking advantage of the fact that Lenovo has decided to go for a more Linux-friendly policy, becoming the first major manufacturer to pre-install Fedora Workstation, during the last year it has been working to enable the Open Source system to support the ePrivacy Guard privacy filter, the privacy technology for screens that has been included in some Lenovo notebook models. However, its full implementation has to be done through a combined kernel and compositor solution.

Last year, initial patches were introduced in the Linux kernel to start supporting the screen privacy feature in Lenovo notebooks. This was accompanied by corresponding changes to the ThinkPad ACPI driver and the Intel graphics driver infrastructure included in the kernel. On the other hand, GNOME maintainers are working to support ePrivacy Guard via the Mutter compositor, the GNOME configuration daemon and the environment control centre in order to properly handle DRM (Direct Render Management) on supported systems.

Although Lenovo is taking the limelight in this entry, there are also efforts to support the screen privacy feature from Dell, whose policy of selling laptops with Linux pre-installed has over the last decade been rather sharper than that of its Chinese-based competitor. These moves show that the Linux desktop is preparing to support screens with privacy features.

The patches that would allow the Linux kernel to support ePrivacy Guard have been added to intel-gfx, so for the time being the privacy feature included in the displays of some Lenovo notebooks would only be supported, at least initially, via the i915 driver, which means Intel’s integrated graphics for end users.


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