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  • Killing DRM Graphics Cruft With Fire

    Phoronix: Killing DRM Graphics Cruft With Fire

    It seems to be a good time to clean-up the Linux graphics driver stack. After old hardware support was dropped in Mesa in August, more Mesa code was dropped, and most recently the classic ATI R300/R600 drivers are to be killed (this is set to happen this Friday). Now Intel's Daniel Vetter is chopping up some DRM code...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTAwNjI

  • #2
    cutting drivers is a real bad things .... i remember dsl distro that uses the 2.4 kernel , so may be instead of having one kernel , it could be good to have 2.4 2.6 and a brand new 2.8 that could be started with the bulldozer and new intel's cpu

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    • #3
      Originally posted by jcgeny View Post
      cutting drivers is a real bad things .... i remember dsl distro that uses the 2.4 kernel , so may be instead of having one kernel , it could be good to have 2.4 2.6 and a brand new 2.8 that could be started with the bulldozer and new intel's cpu
      Uh... do you realize that the current kernel is 3.1?
      And you seem to have a serious problem with your understanding of what is happening. They are killing off things that are no longer used or no longer maintained. The R300/600 CLASSIC drivers are being chopped off because they have been superseded by G3D supporting the same hardware. That sman memory manager is being cut off because it is no longer necessary (its use has been replaced by drm_mm) -- hardware support is not being lost here.

      And further, this drm cut work affects GRAPHICS DEVICES, not CPUs.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
        Uh... do you realize that the current kernel is 3.1?
        And you seem to have a serious problem with your understanding of what is happening. They are killing off things that are no longer used or no longer maintained. The R300/600 CLASSIC drivers are being chopped off because they have been superseded by G3D supporting the same hardware. That sman memory manager is being cut off because it is no longer necessary (its use has been replaced by drm_mm) -- hardware support is not being lost here.

        And further, this drm cut work affects GRAPHICS DEVICES, not CPUs.
        Very true. Besides, for stuff like SiS and VIA drivers, you're better off using framebuffer/vesa, or some sort of CPU 3D acceleration these days.

        Comment


        • #5
          For all those guys who are crying because there old, very old, hardware is not working anymore:

          Are you kidding me? Go to ebay or stuff like that and you will get a ATI RADEON HD 3*** Card ~20€ ... and thats enough to have a moderate 3D environment. So whats your problem?

          In computer Science the process of development is extremly fast. No time to save old drivers or hardware! -.-
          Last edited by Wubbbi; 10-27-2011, 11:59 AM.

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          • #6
            Besides, a lot of the code being dropped recently may actually improve support for some older hardware. For example, with regards to the ATI code removals a developer commented to say this:

            Originally posted by agd5f View Post
            Support for r1xx (radeon 3D driver) and r2xx (r200 3d driver) will still exist, but support for UMS (DRI1) will be dropped. Dropping the DRI1 support will however, allow us to support tiling in r1xx/r2xx with KMS much easier which should bring KMS performance up to or above UMS.
            Which is really great news, as someone who owns several R200 cards (Radeon 9000 and 9200 chipsets) and even some old R100 cards (Radeon 7500 chipset) and has a particular fondness for these old radeons (and even has some still in active service, such as in my brother's Dell D600 laptop). I was a bit worried that they seem to have regressed a bit in performance compared to when I was using my Radeon 7500 and then Radeon 9200 full time in 2007 and 2008, but now it makes sense since it was the transition to KMS that slowed things down, and that should now get a bit more attention at some point.
            Last edited by Hamish Wilson; 10-27-2011, 01:39 PM. Reason: small typo

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            • #7
              Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
              Uh... do you realize that the current kernel is 3.1?....
              of course i know , but during many years it was 2.2.x then 2.4.x and now with 3.x , it is like 2.8.x .
              at the time of 2.6 was active , 2.4 was also evolving ....

              most of you should think of the nasa-shuttle that will no longer fly by now but at end was not "repaired" because of its older format for cards . i mean that it was using something like "isa-cards" while the market was no longer building around this connections . so the shuttles was hard to keep going into space...
              i mean what is important ? having old pcs still making progress and good job or not ? just because they are old....

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jcgeny View Post
                of course i know , but during many years it was 2.2.x then 2.4.x and now with 3.x , it is like 2.8.x .
                at the time of 2.6 was active , 2.4 was also evolving ....

                most of you should think of the nasa-shuttle that will no longer fly by now but at end was not "repaired" because of its older format for cards . i mean that it was using something like "isa-cards" while the market was no longer building around this connections . so the shuttles was hard to keep going into space...
                i mean what is important ? having old pcs still making progress and good job or not ? just because they are old....
                15 years ago I would totaly agree with you. But not today. Old computer ( and we are talking about computer with an age of 8+ years ) dont have to be supported anymore ( in my opinion ). You can get an moderate office computer with low-end/up-to-date hardware for ~200 ... thats not much. 15 Years ago I payed like 700 ( 1400DM ). You still can use Kernel 2.2, 2.4, 2.6 and so on for your old computer. I mean they dont need new features. Just use debian 6.0 and you will have your fun. No need to worry. But just because of old, very old computer we should stop improving software? I think thats the completely wrong way. Buy a new computer and be happy. Everyone can spend 200 for a computer. Even non-working peoble!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jcgeny View Post
                  of course i know , but during many years it was 2.2.x then 2.4.x and now with 3.x , it is like 2.8.x .
                  at the time of 2.6 was active , 2.4 was also evolving ....

                  most of you should think of the nasa-shuttle that will no longer fly by now but at end was not "repaired" because of its older format for cards . i mean that it was using something like "isa-cards" while the market was no longer building around this connections . so the shuttles was hard to keep going into space...
                  i mean what is important ? having old pcs still making progress and good job or not ? just because they are old....
                  You're missing the point (again). THERE IS NO 2.8 AND NEVER WILL BE.
                  2.6 is not dead. 2.4 **JUST RECENTLY** got EOL'd.
                  3.0 was forked from 2.6 so that NEW FANCY HARDWARE AND FEATURES will be implemented in 3.x series, allowing old crap to be chopped off with a chainsaw, while 2.6 hangs around to keep the old crap working **JUST LIKE YOU SUGGESTED**.

                  **** THEY ARE DOING PRECISELY WHAT YOU SUGGESTED ****
                  Why do you think 3.x exists?

                  Oh, and do you realize that old hardware will keep working indefinitely on OLD SOFTWARE...?
                  In other words, 2.4 is dead. You can still run 2.4, it doesn't magically blink out of existence.
                  Last edited by droidhacker; 10-27-2011, 02:59 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Are you kidding me? Go to ebay or stuff like that and you will get a ATI RADEON HD 3*** Card ~20€ ... and thats enough to have a moderate 3D environment. So whats your problem?
                    Everyone can spend 200€ for a computer. Even non-working peoble!
                    To these I just say, are you going to give me that 220€? No? Then I'll very well keep using my old hw until it dies kthxbye.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Wubbbi View Post
                      You still can use Kernel 2.2, 2.4, 2.6 and so on for your old computer. I mean they dont need new features. Just use debian 6.0 and you will have your fun. No need to worry.
                      This I have to agree with. You do not need to run Fedora 16 or 17 or Ubuntu 11.10 or 12.04 (or any other modern distro) on older hardware. You can just use older versions, or hop to one of the many speciality distros out there that are created for this very purpose. These distros would probably innately give you a better experience with the hardware anyway.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Feel free to make the code useful to modern systems instead of complaining that it got cut from the main git tree. Also, if you're still using the code in question, chances are that you won't be updating to the current libdrm until at least 2020.

                        cutting drivers is a real bad things
                        What is being cut that isn't unused, broken beyond repair, and/or doesn't have a good replacement?

                        so the shuttles was hard to keep going into space...
                        Space shuttles? What? (I think your head's in the clouds). I'm sure the shuttles can still fly with enough time/money/effort, just like an ISA card can still run. However, there comes a point when maintenance and repair make other options more attractive, especially if the requirements change.

                        BTW, my backup system has an intel i810, but running anything other than vesa is just useless at this point, and I could even get an nvidia PCI card if I had to (though I realize not all systems have the luxury of expansion options).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Michael wrote in the article: "a few tiny tweaks. This is sadly the most work these ancient and largely unsupported drivers have received in a while"

                          This is not so sad, really, but a matter of code maturity and completeness. These drivers work well enough on the hardware they were written for, and there is not continuously new hardware shipping which they have to adapt to (like for Intel and AMD drivers). The drivers support most of the few hardware features there are on these cards.

                          Wubby wrote: "Go to ebay or stuff like that and you will get a ATI RADEON HD 3*** Card ~20€"

                          This is not an option for old laptops, which I guess cater for most of the existing via/sis/savage/etc users out there.

                          Schmidbag wrote: "you're better off using framebuffer/vesa, or some sort of CPU 3D acceleration these days"

                          These old computers have slow CPUs so any HW acceleration is very benefical. For simple things as video playback, a card-specific driver with Xv support makes a huge improvement over the vesa driver.

                          Hamish and others suggested: "You can just use older versions"

                          Unless you're gonna mix and backport and compile yourself, that means you're gonna run an old distribution with unpatched security issues...

                          Having an old savage laptop myself, I am glad I can install the latest, say, Lubuntu 11.10 on it and it works as well as it ever did. Forget latest memory-hogging gnome or compositing desktops though... For a resource-friendly, ecological point of view it is nice that old working hardware can be kept in use (for the same things they were used for years) and still profit from software enhancements, bug and security fixes instead of being thrown away. However, I agree supporting these few, old machines should not stand in way of development for the newer hardware that 99% use. So sacrificing DRI1 if that makes DRI2 rock is fine with me. If it would get to removing hardware support to "clean up the code tree" for the pure sake of it or "these drivers have not been rewritten every half year" it would be sad. But we are not seeing this here. As other have pointed out, in this DRM case only some API has been ditched and existing hardware support has been ported over and kept.
                          Last edited by tormod; 10-28-2011, 09:37 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tormod View Post
                            Michael wrote in the article: "a few tiny tweaks. This is sadly the most work these ancient and largely unsupported drivers have received in a while"

                            This is not so sad, really, but a matter of code maturity and completeness. These drivers work well enough on the hardware they were written for, and there is not continuously new hardware shipping which they have to adapt to (like for Intel and AMD drivers). The drivers support most of the few hardware features there are on these cards.

                            Wubby wrote: "Go to ebay or stuff like that and you will get a ATI RADEON HD 3*** Card ~20"

                            This is not an option for old laptops, which I guess cater for most of the existing via/sis/savage/etc users out there.

                            Schmidbag wrote: "you're better off using framebuffer/vesa, or some sort of CPU 3D acceleration these days"

                            These old computers have slow CPUs so any HW acceleration is very benefical. For simple things as video playback, a card-specific driver with Xv support makes a huge improvement over the vesa driver.

                            Hamish and others suggested: "You can just use older versions"

                            Unless you're gonna mix and backport and compile yourself, that means you're gonna run an old distribution with unpatched security issues...

                            Having an old savage laptop myself, I am glad I can install the latest, say, Lubuntu 11.10 on it and it works as well as it ever did. Forget latest memory-hogging gnome or compositing desktops though... For a resource-friendly, ecological point of view it is nice that old working hardware can be kept in use (for the same things they were used for years) and still profit from software enhancements, bug and security fixes instead of being thrown away. However, I agree supporting these few, old machines should not stand in way of development for the newer hardware that 99% use. So sacrificing DRI1 if that makes DRI2 rock is fine with me. If it would get to removing hardware support to "clean up the code tree" for the pure sake of it or "these drivers have not been rewritten every half year" it would be sad. But we are not seeing this here. As other have pointed out, in this DRM case only some API has been ditched and existing hardware support has been ported over and kept.

                            I understand your position of having an old laptop and making it serve purposes that still fulfill your needs, and I respect that. But, keep in mind that an old laptop is considered just about the most useless hardware you can get and the most annoying to software and hardware vendors. Basically anything that is a Pentium 4 of worse is stuff that is actually hurting the computer industry. Yes, you are right that for old laptops, buying a new video card or using VESA is not an option, but the reason those 2 points were made in the first place is to show that new hardware is incomparably faster yet it doesn't cost any different. That being said, if you were to buy the crappiest modern CPU you can get (probably a $40 AMD Sempron) you can do something like vesa and get more performance than you'd get out of your old hardware with GPU acceleration. $40 won't get you very much on old systems.

                            I've really come to notice lately that a lot of OS devs are deliberately trying to ignore older hardware. Could Linux keep these old drivers for another 10 years? Yes, and I'm sure it'd work too. I'm sure people would buy OS X Lion for PPC if it existed, and I'm sure some people would still like to have Rosetta. Microsoft does a lot of this sort of stuff too but they're harder to compare to because they make stuff incompatible strictly for profit.
                            Many hardware companies are also doing the same thing. AMD's bulldozer series is actually arguably faster than Sandy Bridge but the problem is 99% of software doesn't care about it's changes. The reason they made it is because SOMEBODY has to force the x86 architecture to move on from the old parts.

                            So why are Linux, Apple, AMD, etc making these decisions that never had to be made in the first place? Because if the old stuff isn't forced to be ignored, they will hold back future development and only make a mess of code. That being said, Hamish is 100% right and although that is something you might not want to accept, think about this situation - maybe people who have new hardware don't want to accept their products not working to their optimal performance because old stuff is holding it back.

                            I'm not trying to bash you, like I said, I respect your opinion and I understand your views and what you're trying to do. But you need to realize that with everything in life, nothing should stick around as long as possible, just because it can.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by tormod View Post
                              This is not so sad, really, but a matter of code maturity and completeness. These drivers work well enough on the hardware they were written for, and there is not continuously new hardware shipping which they have to adapt to (like for Intel and AMD drivers). The drivers support most of the few hardware features there are on these cards.
                              A driver does more than interface with hardware however, it must also interface with the rest of the system which is a moving target. So even full featured drivers may and often do still need work just to keep them compatible.

                              Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
                              That being said, if you were to buy the crappiest modern CPU you can get (probably a $40 AMD Sempron) you can do something like vesa and get more performance than you'd get out of your old hardware with GPU acceleration. $40 won't get you very much on old systems.
                              Hey, I think I am running on that $40 AMD Sempron and it is doing quite well for me thank you.

                              Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
                              I've really come to notice lately that a lot of OS devs are deliberately trying to ignore older hardware. Could Linux keep these old drivers for another 10 years? Yes, and I'm sure it'd work too ... So why are Linux, Apple, AMD, etc making these decisions that never had to be made in the first place? Because if the old stuff isn't forced to be ignored, they will hold back future development and only make a mess of code. That being said, Hamish is 100% right and although that is something you might not want to accept, think about this situation - maybe people who have new hardware don't want to accept their products not working to their optimal performance because old stuff is holding it back.
                              I do not think it is even that much that the Linux kernel and driver devs want to ignore older hardware, but there is simply a lack of people willing to maintain it. If their is no one to maintain it in an active and ongoing project, of course it is going to be considered cruft that has to be removed, as there is no one making it workable. That is basically the policy the DRM and Kernel developers seem to be enacting. Older radeons have a better chance of support simply because there are people willing to maintain the code. But in the case of SiS and VIA chips, no one seems to be stepping up to do it, so these drivers are under threat. I can understand the reasoning behind it, and if these old platforms still do remain valuable and are in need of further support, someone who cares must step up and maintain them. If not, you do as I suggested and just stick to older versions or use speciality distros.

                              Also, I am unsure of what I am 100% right on. If you are saying that I am 100% right in saying that someone could use older or speciality distros for older hardware when it comes to end of life, I would agree with you, if you are saying that we should always drop older hardware just beacues it is old, I would not. As I said, I love my old Radeon 9200 and continue to use it alongside my modern Radeon HD cards. And as long as someone is willing to maintain it, that code should remain.
                              Last edited by Hamish Wilson; 10-28-2011, 01:39 PM.

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