As part of a GSoC project through the Linux Foundation, some of the popular open-source DRM graphics drivers are being back-ported to older Linux kernel releases.
With X.Org not being accepted to partake in this year's GSoC
, Ozan Çağlayan turned to the Linux Foundation to work on his summer idea as a student. Ozan is focusing upon "compat-vga", which is back-porting the Direct Rendering Manager kernel drivers back to older kernel release series. e.g. Have the latest and greatest open-source GPU drivers from the Linux 3.5 kernel back on your Linux 3.2 kernel as found in Ubuntu 12.04.
His Google Melange project page
describes the work as:
Compat-* packages in general gives the freedom of non-invasively switching to more modern and up-to-date drivers without updating the installed kernel at all. The aim of this project is to provide compat-vga tarballs reflecting the bleeding-edge repositories for being able to offer latest fixes for GPU drivers and to support newer chipsets on all known supported kernel releases listed on kernel.org.
For those interested, Ozan Çağlayan has now announced his compat-drm tree on the DRI developers' list
I'm maintaining a compat-drm tree (based on compat.git) as part of my GSoC project with Linux Foundation, under the mentorship of Luis R. Rodriguez.
The aim of the tree is to offer the latest DRM stuff to people stuck with older kernels (Currently all of the popular and maintained drm drivers except i915 (there's an i2c think that I couldn't backport yet) from linux-next can be built against kernels down to 3.0).
The tree is on github. I've set up a shiny github pages for it: http://ozancaglayan.github.com/compat-drm/
It will be interesting to see if this work ends up being used at all. In the past there's been some to back-port the DRM drivers to older kernels, but as far as I know no one ended up actively maintaining the work over the long term nor actively promoting the packages, etc.