VIA Kernel Mode-Setting Code Might Merge Soon
Written by Michael Larabel in VIA on 30 June 2012 at 08:13 AM EDT. 10 Comments
It looks like the VIA kernel mode-setting (KMS) code may soon go mainline.

Friday afternoon on the VIA OpenChrome mailing list, James Simmons released a new VIA OpenChrome KMS snapshot. This was version xf86-video-openchrome-0.2.999-pre20120629.

What makes this snapshot actually exciting is what he says in the mailing list message: "I merged trunk into the kms_branch so this is the last testing before it becomes trunk itself. Please test."

So James has re-based the mainline OpenChrome code with his KMS work on top and plans to merge this to the mainline xf86-video-openchrome code-base in the future. In other words, Simmons' KMS activities will no longer be in some separate branch but will be mainline within the OpenChrome DDX. This will hopefully be greeted then by the mainlining of his DRM/KMS driver changes in the Linux kernel. VIA KMS might actually materialize in mainline.

While VIA hardware in the marketplace continues to diminish, it's fascinating to finally see the kernel mode-setting support advance. This comes after VIA abandoned their open-source strategy and failed to really do anything else.

James Simmons has been pretty much single-handedly writing the VIA KMS driver with TTM/GEM support. VIA Technologies is barely doing anything these days for the Linux driver community and the OpenChrome development community is nearly dead aside from James.

He's been working on this VIA KMS code for more than the past year and a half while frequently releasing updates in the long development process.

OpenChrome support has lagged but back in February Simmons had an OpenChrome KMS goal of this summer. It looks like this may come to fruition. Originally though he hoped for the xf86-video-openchrome 0.3.0 KMS-enabled driver release by the beginning of June. After the KMS-enabled driver is released and out in the wild is when he wants to push the DRM code into the kernel. UMS support will continue to work for those without kernel mode-setting support.

VIA KMS is not likely for Linux 3.6 kernel and might even be out of the question for Linux 3.7, but it's good to see Simmons' dedication and work continuing. Hopefully in 2013 there will be mainline support within distributions for VIA kernel mode-setting for those unfortunate souls still stuck with VIA x86 hardware.

Too bad though that there still is not any working Gallium3D driver for VIA hardware. As of late, VIA is just playing around with ARM hardware and Android.
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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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