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Old X Drivers Get Updated, GPU Hot-Plug Refreshed

Hardware

Published on 02 July 2012 07:58 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware
1 Comment

David Airlie has started out the week by putting out new releases for several of the vintage X.Org graphics drivers as well as publishing his very latest GPU hot-plug / PRIME stack, which is now 36 patches against the X.Org Server.

The driver updates to kick off Monday morning include:

- xf86-video-cirrus 1.5.0
- xf86-video-ast 0.96.0
- xf86-video-mga 1.6.0
- xf86-video-mach64 6.9.2
- xf86-video-r128 6.8.3

The changes for these vintage DDX drivers mostly come down to porting them to use the new X.Org Server compatibility API so that they will build and function against the to-be-released X.Org Server 1.13. These old drivers won't benefit from the GPU hot-plugging / PRIME support and other features, but they will continue to function on the latest X.Org Server.

The DDX driver updates for Cirrus, AST, and MGA also make them not bind to the hardware when their new KMS drivers are loaded. The Cirrus/AST/MGA DDX drivers will not be made compatible with their new basic KMS driver alternatives that are now mainline in the Linux kernel, but the generic xf86-video-modesetting driver is what's intended to be used for kernel mode-setting on these old server GPU chips.

With those drivers not binding to the hardware, the system won't go awry when the DRM/KMS drivers are loaded and have already mode-set the hardware. The Cirrus/AST/MGA X.Org drivers are likely on their last leg now having been succeeded by the KMS alternative and these drivers weren't even actively developed in recent years.

David Airlie has also posted the gpu hotplug stack refresh. This is 36 patches against the X.Org Server that he's hoping to mainline soon -- ideally in time for X.Org Server 1.13. Right now Airlie is waiting for more developers to review these changes, particularly when it comes to the API.

The 36 patches add DDX GPU screen support, udev/DRM hot-plug call-backs, an autoAddGPU option for the xorg.conf, RandR provider property support, auto-loading xf86-video-modesetting on hot-plug event, support for linking output slave GPUs to the current main GPU, pixmap sharing infrastructure, offload slave tracking, and the initial PRIME support for DRI2 off-loading.

For more information on that recent work, see the Phoronix articles about RandR 1.5 and PRIME for GPU offloading within the X.Org Server.

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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