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Fedora 21 Drops Support For A Bunch Of Old GPUs

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  • #21
    Originally posted by cjcox View Post
    Some of these are the embedded video on servers. And given "Red Hat" (yes, I know, Red Hat is *not* Fedora) propensity for *graphical only* administration tools, this could be a mistake (??).

    I know even contemporary cards made by vendors with supposed KMS support do not work with KMS, even though some people think they should (particular contemporary Nvidia's come to mind).

    I will certainly be watching this one...
    Getting accelerated graphics working on servers with integrated graphics was often difficult, plus Dell would sometimes lock the BIOS so you couldn't put in an external graphics card. The easiest thing to do with those servers was to run them without an X server, and if you need any GUI admin stuff just do it through SSH. In fact, that's the easiest way to run any server.

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    • #22
      Originally posted by torsionbar28 View Post
      While i'm generally against pulling out drivers for hardware, no matter how old, I think it's justified in this case. I don't know about Fedora, but at least with RHEL, it requires a PAE-enabled machine to install on. That means Pentium Pro and later. And that means you've got PCI bus at a minimum. Nobody uses VGA these days, everything is DVI (and HDMI) so it makes sense to drop support for cards that never came equipped with DVI ports. Radeon 7000, or Riva TNT2, or others from the late 90's all had DVI ports. So I can't imagine that dropping support for these crufty old non-DVI equipped chip sets is going to affect anyone. If you are using a Matrox Millenium, or Trident, or S3, it's time to toss it and replace with a $5 Radeon 7000 from ebay.
      You've invalidated youself with the claim 'nobody uses VGA'. VGA is still being shipped to this day on quite a lot of equipment. It's saved my arse more times than I can count because of stupid hardware issues like rubbish DVI/HDMI adapters failing, ill-configured hardware and VGA just simply works. Or because people simply upgrade an item and then find out they need an adaptor and it can cause issues there. Rarely seen VGA fail, despite being an analogue item and requiring DAC, an extra step.
      Hi

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      • #23
        Originally posted by bridgman View Post
        IIRC the problem with KMS VESA is that with a straightforward implementation you end up having to execute real mode BIOS code in the kernel.

        It would presumaly be possible to create a sufficiently robust "sandboxed" x86 emulator (and maybe something like QEMU is there today) for this to be considered safe but I haven't heard about anyone looking into it.
        There is already a kernel driver which does execute real mode BIOS code, namely uvesafb. It uses v86d.

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        • #24
          Originally posted by devius View Post
          Trident sucks!! Matrox G200 kicks its ass big time!!
          True, the G200 was a great card - at least, for fifteen years ago. Not the best on the market, but if I recall correctly, one of the first to have hardware-acceleration support on Linux.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by chithanh View Post
            There is already a kernel driver which does execute real mode BIOS code, namely uvesafb. It uses v86d.
            Yes, but v86d is a userspace daemon so the BIOS code is actually executed in userspace -- presumably after being given direct access to the graphics hardware.

            I don't know if reliance on a userspace daemon is sufficient reason not to use the approach for KMS -- last time I asked I believe the answer was "yes" but I don't remember the exact rationale.

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            • #26
              Well the old vesafb has the limit of no modesetting after boot. Was that too ruled not possible for KMS vesa?

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              • #27
                Mode switch is essentially only possible if the driver gets the possibility to execute real mode BIOS code (like uvesafb through the v86d userspace helper, or vesafb during kernel initialization).

                Another possibility is to use vm86 calls like the old vesafb-tng did, which will only work on 32 bit kernels. But systems with such old graphics cards are rarely 64 bit anyway.

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by Luke View Post
                  Remember, there are people using all kinds of old junk-even Pentium 3's-as everything from file servers to print servers to public Internet access computers. Not all computers are gamers or workstations, and not everyone has an Ebay account.
                  But do those really need the latest and greatest Linux installed on them though? Or at the very least, do they need accelerated graphics support?

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                  • #29
                    Old repurposed machines and new distros

                    Originally posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
                    But do those really need the latest and greatest Linux installed on them though? Or at the very least, do they need accelerated graphics support?
                    Older distros work better on older machines, but over time become hard to find or hard to get packages for. Ubuntu Jaunty, for instance, was one of the best that can simultaniously support an old Pentium II laptop and a circa 2009 wireless card. Now the repos for it don't work anymore, so to use it you need to have all desired packages locally. DSL is better yet for those machines-but only if all the hardware is old and there is no new wireless card or other accessory to support.

                    As a result, those current distros that target older machines need to be able to get upstream versions of the graphics stack that can be built against and run on old drivers for the older chipsets, or a generic driver that will give the same 2d performance these machines ever had without loading down the CPU. I would not worry about 3d, none of those old graphics had enough video ram to run modern DE's anyway. They do need to be able to do things like set the screen resolution and depth, and be no worse for video playback than these machines were in the old days.

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
                      But do those really need the latest and greatest Linux installed on them though?
                      Yes they do.
                      Quoting myself from the previous thread on the topic:
                      Originally posted by chithanh View Post
                      Old distros often have old kernels, so you can't use modern filesystems, they don't have support for modern peripherals, and often no security support, etc.
                      Originally posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
                      Or at the very least, do they need accelerated graphics support?
                      Probably not, but driving a laptop panel at its native resolution, or being able to configure an external monitor would be a start.

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