Silicon Motion Extends Linux Graphics Driver
Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org on 11 July 2012 at 08:28 AM EDT. 7 Comments
This week Silicon Motion fired off an email to the X.Org developers with a patch that introduces 38,463 lines of new code for their open-source Linux graphics driver.

While the patch is entitled new driver for siliconmotion, it appears to be extending the existing xf86-video-siliconmotion DDX driver as opposed to writing a new driver from scratch. The e-mail itself is a bit of a mess, but there's a nearly 40,000 line patch that's attached.

The description on this work just comes down to "New driver works for SM712/722/502/750/718/750LE. This is the first submission." The patch itself can be seen in the mailing list archive from Silicon Motion's Aaron Chen.

The Silicon Motion SM712 is a PCI-based 2D graphics engine with 4MB of embedded video memory and a maximum output resolution of 1280x1024. This is rather poor by today's standards, but the PCI-based SM718 allows for 16MB of embedded memory and a 1920x1440 output. The SM750 SoC moves over to PCI Express while still carrying the 1920x1440 limitation and only 16MB of embedded memory. At least this is good enough for servers/embedded systems.

This new open-source driver support is nice if you're an existing Silicon Motion customer, but not too appealing otherwise. It would have been more interesting had the new open-source hardware enablement more timely after the product's debut and if this was a DRM/KMS-based driver rather than just the DDX driver.

From this past March, see Silicon Motion Has Open-Source Driver, But Fails.
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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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