NetBSD Is Paying For DRM With KMS/GEM
Written by Michael Larabel in BSD on 27 February 2013 at 04:59 PM EST. 2 Comments
When it comes to kernel mode-setting and open-source graphics drivers, the BSD operating system with the best support is presently FreeBSD. For those, however, using NetBSD, improvements are forthcoming with an investment by the NetBSD Foundation.

FreeBSD 9.1 introduces Intel KMS support after it was an out-of-tree porting project for quite a while. While not yet merged, Radeon KMS is also being ported to FreeBSD. For other BSD platforms, the support level varies but it's mostly out-of-tree work at this point. For more details see BSDs Struggle With Open-Source Graphics Drivers.

Taylor Campbell of NetBSD announced on the mailing list earlier this month that the NetBSD Foundation hired him to port the current generation Linux DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) support to NetBSD. This work includes bringing forward KMS (Kernel Mode-Setting) and GEM (Graphics Execution Manager) to this BSD distribution.

The driver support being focused upon first is Intel DRM followed by -- if time allows -- Radeon and Nouveau support. Campbell is hoping to leverage some of the DRM code now found within the FreeBSD kernel.

His initial work announcement can be found on the tech-x11 mailing list. On Monday he then announced his Git repository where he's porting the code.

It's not known at this point when any Intel/Radeon/Nouveau KMS/DRM support will be readied into a NetBSD release. This driver support will be important if NetBSD still ultimately pursues their plans to be a desktop operating system, which has been talked about as a project for years but not really acted upon in any meaningful way.
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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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