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An OpenChrome VIA Driver Status Update

VIA

Published on 09 November 2011 07:31 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in VIA
5 Comments

For any unfortunate Linux souls still stuck with VIA hardware, here's a status update about the OpenChrome driver project for providing an open-source graphics driver for VIA integrated graphics processors.

James Simmons, one of the few open-source developers left that's daring enough to touch VIA hardware and the one who's single-handedly been porting OpenChrome to work with kernel mode-setting (KMS), wrote a brief status update.

Here's a few notes:

- The VIA kernel mode-setting code is still being worked on by James. It's still not done yet (it's been in-development for about one year) nor ready for merging. The soonest it could be merged now is the Linux 3.3 kernel next year, but I'll be surprised if it's ready then in the next few months. There's still several outstanding bugs, including completely broken DisplayPort detection.

- There's still a separate branch of the xf86-video-openchrome DDX for use with the OpenChrome DRM driver, since the mainline OpenChrome DDX isn't yet capable of playing nicely with the KMS support.

- The goals James has for the X.Org/DDX side of the project is to fix an EXA (2D acceleration) bug on the OLPC and to then drop XAA support, followed by other EXA code fixes so that it works with both TTM and non-TTM kernel memory managed environments. Simmons still needs to work out a buffer manager too that can handle TTM/non-TTM cases, if wishing to still provide user-space mode-setting support for OpenChrome. After all of that, there's still some other KMS work to do to round out the support for the X driver portion.

- To the OpenChrome DRM code itself, the goals here are to implement proper fencing, hardware-accelerated blitting, and supporting LVDS KMS. James has initial KMS code for LVDS panels, but it's not finished.

His status update can be found on the OpenChrome mailing list.

In terms of other work within the OpenChrome community, there isn't much. Only a handful of messages have been going by on the openchrome-devel mailing list each month, not a lot of activity in the SVN driver repository, etc.

If you're hoping to see a VIA Gallium3D driver in the near future, keep dreaming. There's still a lack of documentation from VIA, VIA itself basically abandoned their open-source strategy, and a severe lack of skilled development manpower.

About The Author
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 and or contacted via .
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