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Fedora 21 Drops Support For A Bunch Of Old GPUs

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  • #31
    Originally posted by cjcox View Post
    Some of these are the embedded video on servers.
    Which of them? The only server GPUs I've seen in the past few years are G200SE variants, rn50/es1000 and Aspeed - and we have KMS drivers for all of them.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by mjg59 View Post
      The only server GPUs I've seen in the past few years are G200SE variants, rn50/es1000 and Aspeed
      I have come across servers that use SiliconMotion SM750 chipsets in recent years, I don't quite remember which however.

      Google turns up a few results of smaller vendors, like aTCA-6250: http://www.adlinktech.com/PD/web/PD_detail.php?pid=1111

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      • #33
        Originally posted by chithanh View Post
        I have come across servers that use SiliconMotion SM750 chipsets in recent years, I don't quite remember which however.

        Google turns up a few results of smaller vendors, like aTCA-6250: http://www.adlinktech.com/PD/web/PD_detail.php?pid=1111
        Wow. Well, from a practical perspective, there's almost no benefit running a native driver instead of vesa on that hardware. It probably does mean that someone's going to have to write a KMS driver, though.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by mjg59 View Post
          Wow. Well, from a practical perspective, there's almost no benefit running a native driver instead of vesa on that hardware. It probably does mean that someone's going to have to write a KMS driver, though.
          …especially when, it turns out, there's no support in upstream X or the kernel for this part anyway. Silicon Motion submitted some patches for a framebuffer and X driver, but they all had non-free license headers so never got merged. So yeah, while it'd be nice to have a KMS driver for this, dropping the old UMS driver isn't going to make things any worse on this hardware...

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          • #35
            Yes, I agree that removing SiliconMotion support will not hurt any server users. They are the ones to least suffer from dropping non-kms drivers anyway. It was just an example of a chipset besides the popular ES1000, G200eW and AST chips which I encountered recently (non-recent examples include XGI Volari Z7 in some TYAN systems, but these are long out of production now).

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Luke View Post
              Older distros work better on older machines, but over time become hard to find or hard to get packages for.
              But shouldn't longer supported distros be able to fill that void somewhat, such as LTE versions of Ubuntu, stable versions of Debian, or enterprise solutions such as RHEL?

              This is Fedora that is dropping them, remember.
              Last edited by Hamish Wilson; 10-28-2013, 11:38 AM.

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              • #37
                The LTS versions of Ubuntu or the enterprise distros indeed help when it comes to security support.

                However, they don't help if you want to run a recent kernel with support for new peripherals or modern filesystems, or want to use recent releases of (lightweight) desktop environments/applications.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by chithanh View Post
                  The LTS versions of Ubuntu or the enterprise distros indeed help when it comes to security support.

                  However, they don't help if you want to run a recent kernel with support for new peripherals or modern filesystems, or want to use recent releases of (lightweight) desktop environments/applications.
                  Well, RHEL has EPEL repository with other desktop environments including Xfce but in general, that is the trade off. If someone is willing to step up and maintain the older more unusual drivers, they are free to do so.

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                  • #39
                    If I understand correctly, EPEL is a community effort and receives no formal security support.

                    Also, they provide only addon packages, and won't e.g. update system libraries, the X server or other packages that are central to the system:
                    Originally posted by http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/EPEL/GuidelinesAndPolicies
                    EPEL packages should only enhance and never disturb the Enterprise Linux distributions they were build for. Thus packages from EPEL should never replace packages from the target base distribution
                    So EPEL appears to be a solution for getting a modern desktop environment, but not for all the other issues.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by chithanh View Post
                      If I understand correctly, EPEL is a community effort and receives no formal security support.

                      Also, they provide only addon packages, and won't e.g. update system libraries, the X server or other packages that are central to the system:
                      So EPEL appears to be a solution for getting a modern desktop environment, but not for all the other issues.
                      Nothing that cannot be solved via participation. If you don't, you are limited by what others are willing to volunteer to spend their time on or pay for commercial support for the things you care about.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by RahulSundaram View Post
                        Nothing that cannot be solved via participation.
                        That's a truism in Open Source. Of course one can participate and maintain the UMS drivers in Fedora, or even write and contribute a KMS driver for SiliconMotion and XGI server graphics. But the question was whether owners of such hardware would want to run a modern Linux distribution and what options they have when choosing a distro.

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                        • #42
                          It is also a little harsh to say that it is Fedora doing this purely on its own - it is representative of the larger problem of backwards support. And there are workarounds involving different solutions and trade-offs when it comes to dealing with this, which makes the small crowd affected by these changes diminish even further. As disconcerting as it is for those it affects, it is actually a rather small problem as opposed to the other issues facing distros and the Linux graphics stack.

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                          • #43
                            I think the main problem with backwards compatibility is that nobody cares until it's officially unsupported. It makes the ones who actually work with the code look like the bad guys who cut you off, when usually this dropped support is for drivers which has been already unmaintained for a long time.

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
                              It is also a little harsh to say that it is Fedora doing this purely on its own - it is representative of the larger problem of backwards support. And there are workarounds involving different solutions and trade-offs when it comes to dealing with this, which makes the small crowd affected by these changes diminish even further. As disconcerting as it is for those it affects, it is actually a rather small problem as opposed to the other issues facing distros and the Linux graphics stack.
                              Right. It's probably worth repeating every 10 posts or so that the issue here is not "arbitrarily dropping drivers for old hardware" as much as dropping *unmaintained* drivers.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by chithanh View Post
                                That's a truism in Open Source. Of course one can participate and maintain the UMS drivers in Fedora, or even write and contribute a KMS driver for SiliconMotion and XGI server graphics. But the question was whether owners of such hardware would want to run a modern Linux distribution and what options they have when choosing a distro.
                                That is not a real question IMO. If you want the latest features for a old system, there is no choice that would work out well. On the other hand, someone just volunteered to pick the drivers, so everything remains the same likely.

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