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Another Shot At The KMS Page-Flipping Ioctl

Linux Kernel

Published on 12 November 2009 03:50 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
7 Comments

Being worked on for the past several months by Kristian Høgsberg and other developers has been the KMS page-flipping ioctl, which makes it possible for kernel mode-setting drivers to benefit from tear-free updating of the screen with low-latency page-flipping. This kernel DRM ioctl is also a requirement for the Wayland Display Server. The page-flipping ioctl should have made it into the Linux 2.6.32 kernel, but it didn't end up happening due to some last minute work.

This afternoon though Kristian has republished his kernel mode-setting page-flipping ioctl patch with the latest changes. This latest patch incorporates blocking within the kernel and optional events to user-space. Moving the blocking from user-space into the kernel allows other processes to use the GPU while waiting for the page flip at the next vblank.

This DRM ioctl patch touches about 400 lines of code (mostly the addition of new code) and is now hopefully ready to enter the Linux 2.6.33 kernel, which is great news for those using the X Server and also those wanting to experiment with Wayland but have been waiting for more of the work to land in mainline trees. The Linux 2.6.33 kernel will be the first release in 2010.

This latest page-flipping ioctl patch can be found on the DRI development list.

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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