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xf86-video-v4l Driver Ported To V4L2

X.Org

Published on 08 February 2011 08:59 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org
16 Comments

One of the seldom mentioned X.Org DDX drivers is xf86-video-v4l. This driver is not for some obscure or vintage hardware like many other drivers in the X.Org tree (e.g. -savage, -s3virge, -tseng, -trident) but it targets no specific graphics card and instead provides an X-Video extension port for video overlay. Just load the module and it works with any hardware supported by a Video 4 Linux (V4L) driver. While this driver isn't often worked on (the most recent commits in Git are from July), it's in the process of being revised.

Red Hat's Mauro Carvalho Chehab has provided a large patch to the X.Org mailing list that migrate the xf86-video-v4l driver from using the V4L1 API to using V4L2. With the forthcoming Linux 2.6.38 kernel, the V4L1 API is removed entirely, which with the latest X.Org V4L DDX means it's broken. To fix this, Mauro has ported the driver to using the V4L2 API.

Video 4 Linux 1 had been around for quite a while (Linux 2.1 development, Linux 2.2) and Video 4 Linux 2 was then officially introduced with the Linux 2.6 kernel while bearing a compatibility mode for older Video 4 Linux 1 software. As Video 4 Linux 2 has been around long enough now, V4L1 support is now being ripped out of the kernel.

Besides just bringing this driver over to the V4L2, Red Hat's work also brings some other improvements to this driver as a result. It's considered a "Major rewrite, as driver got ported to V4L2 API." Looking at the size of the patch, this is indeed a major rewrite.

The patch can be found here.

This isn't all of the Video 4 Linux driver work that Mauro has been up to, but according to this message, there's still more. The xf86-video-v4l driver still uses some deprecated overlays in the X-Video extension and so Mauro is looking at porting the driver now to support Textured Video. This clean-up would result in xf86-video-v4l working with more drivers.

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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