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System Frame-Buffer Bus Proposed For Linux

Linux Kernel

Published on 18 February 2013 10:34 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
6 Comments

A System Frame-buffer Bus has been proposed for the Linux kernel. The focus of this new bus is to address the problem of many different graphics drivers, e.g. DRM and FBDEV, attempting to access the graphics card's frame-buffer and no clean way for addressing control of it.

The set of nine large kernel patches for handling the global system frame-buffer access by device drivers within the kernel is being done by David Herrmann. This is the developer that's long been working on the crusade to kill the Linux kernel console.

Up to now in Linux there's been no way to grant a specific driver access to a frame-buffer device and no proper way for later revoking access. Through this System Frame-buffer Bus, devices can now be bound/unbound to drivers so that only one driver has access to a single system frame-buffer at a time. This bus also allows controlling what drivers get loaded. There's also support for a special function so that a driver call can unload all other drivers accessing that system frame-buffer, such as for having a proper DRM driver knocking out all other FBDEV drivers and others that may have been loaded first for the graphics hardware.

David Herrmann introduced this new system frame-buffer bus along with the necessary work to the DVBE and vesafb drivers as an example implementation.

The set of patches presenting this new frame-buffer bus for the Linux kernel is currently residing on the Linux kernel mailing list. It will likely be too quick too soon to get into the Linux 3.9 kernel, but would then make it a possibility for the Linux 3.10 kernel if developers are interested in merging this useful and needed feature.

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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