Radeon HD 7000 Support, VIA KMS Still Missing
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 6 January 2012 at 08:15 AM EST. 2 Comments
When talking yesterday about the likely DRM pull for the Linux 3.3 kernel there were a few graphics driver related items not on the list.

Among the notable items that sadly aren't living in the DRM "-next" tree at the moment for the Linux 3.3 kernel are:

- AMD Radeon HD 7000 series support. At least for the 3.3 merge window, there is no Radeon HD 7000 series "Southern Islands" support yet. Since this is new hardware enablement it's possible to come later in the Linux 3.3 cycle assuming it doesn't cause possible issues for existing hardware support, but at least right now for this new hardware there is no open-source support publicly available (it's being worked on behind closed-doors at AMD for the moment). At least we do know some exclusive details about the open-source support when it comes for this "Graphics Core Next" hardware. For now early Radeon HD 7970 owners running Linux will be bound to the AMD Catalyst binary blob.

- Radeon GPU virtual memory support. AMD has been working on various memory management improvements to the DRM driver for better supporting the new Radeon HD 7000 series design and other upcoming features to the open-source stack. One of the memory-related items being worked on is virtual memory support, which was originally the work of Jerome Glisse. The 1000+ line patch against the Radeon DRM has now gone through 22 revisions (latest mailing list message), but hasn't landed yet. It's possible it could still sneak in for the 3.3 merge window, but I guess we'll see.

- The open-source Texas Instruments OMAP DRM driver still hasn't been merged. It's been around for a few months but hasn't hit mainline quite yet as the second ARM DRM driver (the first is the Samsung Exynos4 driver that landed in the 3.2 cycle).

- No open-source ARM Mali GPU support yet.

- The Intel GMA500 "Poulsbo" DRM driver still doesn't provide the necessary functionality for enabling 3D hardware / video acceleration.

- VIA kernel mode-setting. James Simmons, an independent developer, has been single-handedly working on VIA Chrome kernel mode-setting support for more than one year, but it's not ready for merging yet. The code has made a lot of progress, but there's still work left in hooking up the user-space driver side and various other work items. VIA has pledged to do more, but they've been mostly sitting on the sideline as usual.

- GeForce 600 "Kepler" series support. This is more of a big pipe dream considering NVIDIA provides no open-source support (either funding, documentation, or code) so the open-source community is left reverse-engineering the NVIDIA binary blob after the fact. The NVIDIA "Kepler" hardware is expected to begin shipping this quarter, but there's no early code yet. This isn't a big surprise though since even with AMD's official open-source backing they still haven't landed the GCN support, but Intel is just usually the only one with pre-launch open-source hardware support (Ivy Bridge is golden for its release in a few months and has been mainline since last year). Seeing as the Nouveau developers are still maturing the Fermi support (GeForce 400/500 series), it will likely be H2'2012 before we see any legitimate Kepler open-source support, especially as this is a brand new GPU architecture from NVIDIA.

What else would you like to still see out of the open-source Linux graphics drivers?

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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