In a blog post entitled Tales Of A First Time Driver Developer, the student developer has shared his experience in bringing EXA acceleration to the R128 driver following the XAA support being killed.
Behan shares his motives for working on the old ATI Rage Linux driver, the usual basic information concerning X.Org, his specific work done to achieve working EXA support on R128, submitting the patch and getting it accepted, my distaste for old drivers, and other details.
Connor Behan ends his blog post with, "I have now been given git access to the r128 driver so I will be in a better position to fix other issues and continue to modernize it. After all, this is only a small step in the journey towards having a modern DRI2 driver. Some people have said that this four month effort would have been better spent on a card that tons of people use. To this, I say that I was only able to force myself to gain this experience because no one else was working on it. Working on an actively developed driver would not have taught me as much because the projects in the Radeon driver that interest me are being pursued by graphics professionals. It is much faster for them to do the work than it is for them to wait until I figure out how to do it. If you are trying to add EXA to an old driver, you don't need to be a graphics professional to keep up. Well maybe to implement Composite without any example code you do, but for Solid and Copy, you just need a working knowledge of C, some experience searching for code snippets / adapting them for other purposes and the patience to debug for days on end. There are still plenty of drivers that need EXA support added so if you have a 3dfx, trident or s3 card for instance, I would suggest that you give it a shot. This is one aspect of driver development that actually is accessible to beginners."