Earlier this month we shared that VIA would be releasing a new 2D graphics driver
for Linux and this morning they have done just that. While previously VIA Technologies had thrown their weight behind the OpenChrome driver
, and there are other VIA drivers out there like the UniChrome driver, they have been working on their own xf86-video-via driver. Back in August they had released a xf86-video-via driver
, but today's release of this open-source driver now uses their new kernel DRM for providing 2D (EXA) acceleration.
This new VIA 2D driver can be downloaded here
, but there really is no information about it on their Linux web-site. The release notes in the driver mention support for X.Org 7.4, ACPI suspend-to-ram and suspend-to-disk support, CRT/LCD/DVI support, dual display support, X-Video extension support, EXA 2D acceleration, and RandR 1.2 support.
The VIA chipsets supported by this driver include the Chrome 9 series, but specifically the CX700M, VX700, CN700, CN896, VN896, VX800, and VX855. This support from VIA is limited to 2D/video support and they have publicly said already that they will not release an open-source 3D driver
for the Chrome 9 hardware even though they want a Gallium3D driver
. VIA wants the open-source community to make a driver for them, but to date they still haven't released quite enough documentation to make that a reality and there would be a lack of development manpower.
The new xf86-video-via driver includes the kernel DRM source-code with the package too. VIA is actually shipping with six separate copies of the DRM source-code. There is separate Direct Rendering Manager code to support the CN700/CX700M/VX700 and CN896/VX800/VX820 ASICs. Additionally, there is separate DRM folders for the Linux 2.6.24, 2.6.27, and 2.6.28 kernels.
VIA will likely push for its Chrome 9 DRM to enter the mainline Linux kernel
, but even with this 2D driver being out there, it's uncertain whether it will pass free software developer acceptance. Previously their DRM was rejected on the basis of partial open-source GPU drivers
and at the time the only client of their Chrome 9 DRM was VIA's binary-only driver that they will not open-source. Now there is the xf86-video-via driver that uses this DRM, but still with it just using this kernel interface for the 2D acceleration, its only touching a subset of the code. Well, let's see how it goes this time.