With VIA not really doing anything for open-source and Linux
as all of their efforts seemed to have stalled, the small open-source development community centered around VIA has become quite fragmented
as we have talked about multiple times now. There's multiple X.Org drivers for VIA, with not a single one clearly dominating or being feature-complete and well maintained, while other areas like the DRM/KMS and Mesa/Gallium3D support are just in shambles.
VIA was supposed to have their Linux kernel DRM driver with TTM (Translation Table Maps) / GEM (Graphics Execution Manager) memory management support done more than six months ago, according to the VIA Linux TODO list
. But that hasn't happened nor are there any signs of that officially happening by them. Two years ago there was work by Tungsten Graphics (now part of VMware) on a VIA TTM/DRM driver
with a Mesa 3D component too, but that was never finished. Now there's a new developer, James Simmons, beginning work on VIA DRM code in the form of providing TTM memory management support in the kernel for these VIA IGPs.
James Simmons is the student developer who over the summer began work on creating a 3Dfx KMS driver
. While vintage 3Dfx graphics cards still in use are very rare, James worked on the 3Dfx DRM/KMS driver with TTM support as a way to experiment with and learn about kernel mode-setting on Linux and to be able to write proper documentation concerning the process.
The 3Dfx KMS driver has not been merged into the mainline Linux kernel, but recently he picked up a new motherboard with an AGP slot to continue work on this driver. It just so happens this AGP motherboard also has an integrated VIA Chrome IGP chipset too, which has now drawn his attention.
"This board comes with a built in VIA based IGP. Well that chipset is poorly supported so I started to work on the via drm driver. Currently I'm porting it to the TTM infrastructure," he wrote to the xorg-devel mailing list
James mentions this VIA TTM memory management work as he had some questions/comments about this in-kernel GPU memory management interface used by the open-source Linux drivers aside from Intel's driver. Hopefully some of this VIA TTM work will end up going upstream at some point.