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VIA Graphics Still Lack Any Real Linux Progress

VIA

Published on 22 November 2010 08:49 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in VIA
11 Comments

While other hardware vendors are constantly improving their open-source support, this isn't the case for all vendors. VIA's open-source Linux support is still in very bad shape -- two and a half years after they had envisioned themselves becoming open-source friendly.

Last month it was reported that with the Linux 2.6.37 kernel there still is no VIA DRM that should be there according to their Linux graphics TODO list. VIA planned to have a TTM/GEM module done in the second quarter of this year, kernel mode-setting in the second half of this year, and a Gallium3D driver in development this quarter. They and their community developers have failed in making much headway towards their open-source goals. In the past month, nothing has really changed.

VIA's Bruce Chang has been the one largely seen as organizing these open-source efforts and communicating with the Linux community, but even he has not been heard from publicly or privately in months. There's been no mailing list announcements from him and (unlike in the past) he has not responded to our inquiries seeking a status update. Besides his lack of communication, here's updates on some of the other components that make up VIA's Linux offering.

- There's been no activity on openchrome-devel (the development mailing list for the OpenChrome driver that VIA had partnered with) since April of 2010.

- VIA's hidden Linux driver has not been touched in its Git repository since 15 May of this year.

- The OpenChrome driver has at least received a few commits recently. Their SVN repository was quiet for sometime, but there's been a couple code pushes this month. However, all of this work is relatively minor: xalloc to malloc changes, replacing deprecated X Server functions, addressing TV-Out flickering, typos in code comments, etc.

- There's been no VIA Mesa or DRM activity, at least publicly.

- VIA's Linux portal (linux.via.com.tw) is still vastly out of date. There's no Ubuntu 10.10, openSUSE releases post-11.0, etc. Their forum and bug tracking sections are also also still "under construction" as it has been for the past two and a half years since their most recent open-source announcement. From their main web-site, their Linux support hasn't been updated since the Fedora 11 era as their latest on the Red Hat side.

What an unfortunate situation. Perhaps VIA had all of their Linux work backed up on a single consumer-grade hard drive too?

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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