How-To Bang On VIA Hardware With Linux KMS
Written by Michael Larabel in VIA on 07 March 2012 at 10:19 AM EST. Add A Comment
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Here's a video by James Simmons, the community developer that's near single-handedly been working on providing VIA kernel mode-setting (KMS) support and in-kernel memory management (via a GEM-ified TTM implementation), talking about the Linux KMS and GEM/TTM infrastructures for those wishing to learn more about Linux graphics driver programming.

James Simmons has been working on the new VIA DRM driver for more than a year to provide proper KMS and GEM/TTM support for VIA graphics hardware. This is while VIA is not providing any official support or doing anything for their open-source strategy. James is working with the OpenChrome driver community to overhaul the open-source VIA stack, but he's been the one doing the bulk of the work within the stagnate community.

Last June at the Southeast Linux Fest (SELF2011) he talked about his work on the VIA driver programming, in particular about GEM/TTM and KMS in general. The video from that talk -- and the other Southeast Linux Fest talks from last June -- are finally now available. For anyone interested, they're available on YouTube. Simmons' talk though seems to be the only really interesting video.

He doesn't break any news during his talk or anything too exciting, but he goes over the interface and structures for GEM and TTM memory management along with KMS. If you have stayed up to date on the hundreds of Phoronix articles on the topic, or are already a graphics driver programmer, there isn't too much to gain from the hour-long presentation. If you're interested in watching this video from last year, it's embedded below.


Separately, this past Tuesday James Simmons wrote a mailing list status update about his OpenChrome KMS work. He still has his VIA goals for this summer, while accomplished recently were fixing issues with the build-system on multiple platforms, general bug-fixes (including data corruption), and other items. In particular, there's improved mapping between outputs and CRTCs, VGA monitor output is now working from his VIA laptop, EXA fixes, and more. The EXA 2D acceleration component though still using the classic approach to managing memory and still needs much more work before it's properly hooked-up to take advantage of TTM/GEM. Hopefully VIA hardware will still be around by the time the new open-source VIA kernel driver support reaches a state where it's ready for the mainline kernel.
About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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