VMware Graphics Prepare To Leave Staging Area
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 3 September 2011 at 11:40 AM EDT. 2 Comments
The VMware developers working on their "vmwgfx" graphics driver for Linux on their virtualization platform are preparing to have this driver leave the kernel's staging area and formally move into the Linux kernel DRM tree as one of the stable, mainline graphics drivers. But before this driver moves into the formal DRM tree, they are pushing a set of changes to clean up the kernel interface to this driver, which will break things in a non-backwards-compatible manner.

Thomas Hellstrom has pushed a set of eight patches that are for the vmwgfx DRM driver that breaks the kernel interface exposed to the end-user. This is allowed since the driver is still in the staging area, but once this is complete, VMware hopes for this driver to finally leave staging. There may also be a couple more bumps coming up as they add more features to their driver. These patches remove some IOCTLs, update other IOCTLs, and implements fence objects.

These updates come several months after I mentioned VMware would be overhauling their Linux graphics driver that's used by their virtualization products so that virtual machines can tap into graphics acceleration (and other APIs exposed by Gallium3D) on the host system. As part of this work they also introduced the XA state tracker as a new means of X.Org acceleration.

Look for these DRM patches to land in the Linux 3.2 kernel and for the VMware driver to hopefully leave staging by the Linux 3.3 kernel.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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