Is VIA Back To Playing With Linux, Gallium3D?
Written by Michael Larabel in VIA on 24 September 2011 at 05:04 AM EDT. 6 Comments
Back in January I heard from VIA that their open-source Linux strategy / support was basically dead. They don't have the resources or justification to do the work any longer, and their Linux TODO list was basically shot. In the years since they announced they were trying to become open-source friendly (and follow the steps of ATI/AMD), they only managed to push out some partially open-source code and some chipset documentation. But could they be playing around with open-source graphics drivers again?

I haven't heard from VIA's Bruce Chang (their Linux employee) or anyone else at VIA Technologies about a resurgence in their open-source support. Nor has there been any major mailing list discussions. The only code there's been bits of the community working on has been VIA KMS support. That kernel mode-setting code is still not in a shape to be landed and only recently has RandR support, among other features, come under the microscope. There's also still work left on the OpenChrome DDX driver.

What's the interesting bit of news today is that a new VIA engineer popped up on the Mesa mailing list. Jacob He, an engineer at VIA China, asked a question of the list.

He was looking at their Mesa code and that there is a Gallium3D "failover" pipe driver for hardware/drivers that can't take full advantage of all the needed OpenGL capabilities. He was wondering why the work was basically discarded.

The answer to his question basically comes down to not fib about features of the hardware that are not properly supported and that the performance using the software fall-backs can be extremely slow. But why is this VIA engineer even wondering and digging through the Mesa / Gallium3D code at this point? That's an answer I am still trying to figure out...
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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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