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A Roadmap For FreeBSD Graphics Support

BSD

Published on 05 December 2013 03:31 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in BSD
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The latest FreeBSD code (for 10.0) supports not only Intel KMS but also the open-source AMD Radeon driver ported from the Linux kernel. This Intel/Radeon KMS support has since trickled into DragonFlyBSD and other BSD platforms. However, not all is up to par when it comes to graphics support on FreeBSD. Here'a a road-map and test matrix with some other items still on the BSD developers' agenda.

For those curious about the state and roadmap for graphics drivers on FreeBSD, stop by this updated Graphics Wiki page. Roadmap items include updating to X.Org Server 1.14/1.15, enabling the new X.Org stack by default, updating the DDX drivers, updating to Mesa 10.0, and working on the experimental Wayland port for FreeBSD. The Wiki page is quite detailed and includes what's blocking most of the items from happening, for those looking to help out.

Most AMD Radeon GPUs now work with the upcoming FreeBSD 10.0 release but newer AMD Radeon HD 7000 "Southern Islands" hardware is only partially supported.

The HD 8000 "Sea Islands" and R9 200 "Hawaii" GPUs are also completely unsupported right now since their driver ported from Linux dates back to the 3.8 kernel. The FreeBSD Intel KMS driver code also doesn't support the latest-generation "Haswell" graphics processors until their DRM kernel port from Linux is updated. The Intel DRM driver port dates back to the Linux 3.4 kernel code as does their core DRM.

The graphics hardware with the best FreeBSD support would surely be NVIDIA products with the GeForce/Quadro GPUs being the only graphics processors with official (but closed-source) FreeBSD drivers. The NVIDIA FreeBSD driver is on a similar quality to the Linux and Solaris NVIDIA drivers, which is close to the NVIDIA Windows driver due to the common driver code-base.

Sans any hardware troubles, FreeBSD 10.0 is shaping up to be an exciting release and will likely see its official release in early 2014.

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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