While VIA's Chrome 9 DRM has yet to be accepted into the mainline Linux kernel since its mostly used by VIA's binary-only driver and then recently an updated 2D driver, with the viafb driver outside of X.Org, this frame-buffer driver has picked up many improvements with the Linux 2.6.32 kernel.
Back in June, VIA Technologies rolled out its Chrome 9 DRM (for a second time) in hopes of pushing it into the mainline Linux kernel. At that time, VIA's DRM was again rejected and it led to a discussion over partial open-source drivers since the only user of this interface was their binary-only driver.
It has been a while since we last had any major to report on VIA with their open-source efforts, but this morning they have finally published DRM code that supports their Chrome 9 IGP hardware. The announcement regarding this new Chrome 9 DRM was made on the dri-devel list and was made up of three patches.
Back in November we saw the launch of the S3 Graphics Chrome 530 GT and with that they talked up a new magical Linux driver that would provide HD video acceleration support along with OpenGL 3.0 capabilities. But no driver was released, however, a day later it was confirmed by S3 Graphics that they were working on a new Linux driver. Their PR representative said the driver was to be released in December, but that didn't happen. In February they continued to talk up their Linux support but months later there still was no driver. However, that changed in late February when S3 Graphics did in fact roll out a new Linux display driver.
Last week S3 Graphics had released the Chrome 540 GTX, which is their newest and fastest PCI Express graphics card. Similar to when announcing the S3 Chrome 540 GT, in the Chrome 540 GTX press release they once again mention Linux support along with OpenGL 3.0 capabilities. However, they talk up Linux support, but fail to provide the support. We have just heard back though from S3 Graphics' Benson Tao, which is the one that previously told us there would be Chrome 500 Linux support in December along with a beta OpenGL 3.0 driver. What though did he have to say this time? His email is below.
S3 Graphics has announced this afternoon the release of the Chrome 540 GTX, which they advertise as "The World's Most Connected Hi-Def Card" with its HDMI, DisplayPort, and DVI connections. The Chrome 540 GTX runs at 850MHz, uses GDDR3 memory, and shares other features to the Chrome 530 GT that was introduced in the fourth quarter of 2008. In the press release announcing the S3 Graphics Chrome 540 GTX they once again mention Linux support... But is there any Linux support?
With VIA Technologies delivering on their promises by finally releasing 2D/3D documentation and driver code, and Tungsten Graphics creating a new VIA 3D stack for a client, there has been a lot to report on in the VIA Linux scene. Tungsten Graphics and VIA are both interested in creating a Gallium3D driver for the Chrome 9 series, Tungsten already created a feature-rich DRM and Mesa driver, and there is a lot of other work going on too. What's new this week is a build-able TTM-based OpenChrome driver.
Earlier this month we shared that Tungsten Graphics was creating a new VIA 3D stack for one of their clients. This new work has many improvements over the current Mesa and DRM code both on the technical level as well when it comes to what's supported for use by end-users. This morning the code for Tungsten's new support has been pushed out to OpenChrome.
Following the release of a new VIA 3D graphics stack by Tungsten Graphics, there has been a discussion on the OpenChrome development mailing list as to the next steps to take in open-source VIA support.
Thomas HellstrÃ¶m of Tungsten Graphics is preparing to release a new DRM module and Mesa 3D driver that supports some of VIA's older hardware -- and eventually their newest graphics processors.
Late last month the open-source community was presented with Chrome 9 series DRM support as the first step in providing 3D acceleration for these VIA IGPs atop a free software stack. Today we have been greeted with more patches from VIA's Bruce Chang.
A month ago VIA had published 2D and 3D documentation (along with video register guides) for some of their newer IGPs and they had also announced a partnership with the OpenChrome project. As we have come to find out, some OpenChrome developers are under NDA with VIA Technologies already and they'll be looking at improving their ASIC support, delivering RandR 1.2 support, and making other fundamental improvements to this open-source VIA X.Org driver. Today though VIA has stepped forward once more and they have now released the DRM code for their Chrome 9 series.
Yesterday we shared that S3 Graphics launched their Chrome 500 Series graphics cards, with the initial model being a sub-$50 USD OpenGL 3.0 capable solution. It's no power workhorse, but in the press release they shared: "Today's users will now be able to enjoy the latest Blu-ray playback, streaming HD video, DirectX 10.1, and OpenGL 3.0 applications on Microsoft Windows and Linux platforms."
Following VIA's press release this morning that they released 2D/3D/video documentation and have joined forces with OpenChrome, Xavier Bachelot has notified the OpenChrome users of what's taking place and he has provided the developers with a TODO list of items they wish to accomplish.
In addition to VIA announcing a register documentation drop and driver partnership, S3 Graphics, which is a VIA Technologies joint venture company, has announced a new graphics card. Earlier this year S3 announced the Chrome 440 GTX, but today's press release christens the Chrome 500 series. The Chrome 500 series is compatible with OpenGL 3.0 (and Microsoft DirectX 10.1) and is quite an affordable graphics card.
Back in April at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, VIA had announced an open-source initiative. However, not all open-source developers have been pleased with these actions by VIA seeing as they have let down the community in the past. It's even admitted VIA has been trying to copy some aspects of AMD's open-source strategy and have stopped open-source drivers in the past. To date though VIA has released a kernel frame-buffer driver and three programming guides (but one of them wasn't exactly new). Back in July though, VIA Technologies had appointed Harald Welte as its open-source liaison after they were evaluating their open-source role. Now VIA has released its first open-source X.Org driver.
Earlier this week we shared that VIA had appointed an open-source liaison to work on providing the community with documentation and source-code for their products and work to improve VIA's image within the Linux and open-source communities. Since VIA announced their open-source strategy earlier this year, all they had provided was a simple kernel frame-buffer driver. However, VIA has now made available three programming guides that cover their PadLock, CX700, and VX800/820 products. In total these three documents amount to about 800 (PDF) pages.
VIA's commitment to the open-source community has been everything but stellar. VIA Technologies has taken advantage of the open-source community before, and many are saying VIA is doing another open-source bluff. Back at the Linux Foundation Summit earlier this year, VIA had announced they were going open-source with documentation, open-source drivers, and the works. However, to this date most of what we have seen opened is just a simple fbdev driver.
Two months ago VIA Technologies had announced their intentions on joining the open-source bandwagon, but since that time we've seen little more than talk. The VIA Linux Portal was announced as a place for hosting "drivers, technical documentation, source code, and information regarding the VIA CN700, CX700/M, CN896 and the new VIA VX800 chipsets." However, this "Linux Portal" isn't anything more than a binary dungeon. There are a few binary-only VIA Linux drivers on that website and nothing more. There are bug tracking and forum sections on this website too, but they aren't yet established.
If VIA didn't already have enough things going for it this week at Computex with the OpenBook, Nano Processor Family, and Chrome 440 GTX, they have just announced the Mini-ITX 2.0 Form Factor specification. Mini-ITX 2.0 is coming seven years after VIA originally created the Mini-ITX design. One interesting note about this form factor's design is that it mandates the system to have at least one PCI Express x16 slot. Major Linux distributions (Ubuntu, gOS, or SuSE) are also mentioned as being compatible with VIA's very-small-computing design. All the information on Mini-ITX 2.0 can be found on the VIA website
Two days ago VIA had announced the OpenBook UMPC reference design and today they are now announcing a new series of processors that is based upon their Isaiah architecture. The VIA Nano will be running up against Intel's recently announced Atom processors.
Just in time for Computex, VIA Technologies has announced the OpenBook, which is a new Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC) they are offering to compete with Intel's Menlow UMPCs. Making the VIA OpenBook "open" is making the CAD files to the external panels on this notebook's reference design available under the Creative Commons license (so that distributors or end-users may easily customize this sub-notebook) and the OpenBook will ship with an unspecified selection of Linux distributions (gOS is likely one of them). However, if you want that VIA OpenBook to be a "ClosedBook", VIA will also be shipping Windows XP and Windows Vista on this product.
Back at the Linux Foundation Austin Summit, VIA had announced plans to develop a new open-source initiative in a similar fashion what AMD has been doing. However, in the weeks following that they haven't done much for the open-source community. As was highlighted in VIA's Open-Source Efforts A Bluff?, their Linux website just contains two binary drivers right now and not much of anything else -- not even bug tracking software or a mailing list. This has upset some, but fortunately VIA has stepped up to the plate and shown they are actually doing more than a media blitz.
VIA Technologies has launched a new Chipset that supports DDR2 and PCI Express for their processing platform. The VIA CN800 IGP Chipset supports the VIA C7-D and supports PCI-E graphics, DDR2, UniChrome Pro graphics, and more. Information on today's announcement can be found here.
If you weren't aware, VIA Technologies had previously opened up their Unichrome display drivers and had begun releasing the source code, though the quality of the drivers could be debated. However, it seems that the times have changed and VIA has reverted to providing new binary-only drivers. This was pointed out by Luc Verhaegen who is one of the SourceForge Unichrome Project developers. A thread is currently going in the Phoronix Forums to discuss this closed-source happening. Meanwhile we haven't heard anything from XGI Tech in quite a few months about their GNU GPL driver potential. Their last XGI Volari Linux display driver release happened back on January 2, 2006 when they had introduced Linux 2.6 kernel support.
VIA Technologies has announced the C7-D processor. This processor is carbon-free and continues in a path for power-efficient processor innovations. The VIA C7-D runs at 1.80GHz while only consuming 20 Watts. More information can be found at the product page.
Taipei, Taiwan, 30 May 2006 - VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator and developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, today announced the VIA P4M900 chipset featuring the VIA Chrome9 Integrated Graphics Processor core, PCI Express connectivity and DDR2 memory support up to 667MHz for Intel processors, including the latest Intel Core Duo. Leveraging the power of the VIA Chrome9 graphics core with DirectX 9.0 and Pixel Shader 2.0 support for high quality video processing, the VIA P4M900 features VIA Chromotion, a powerful image enhancement technology providing a wide range of display options to deliver high quality images on many kinds of devices, including support for HDTV output formats up to 1920x1080p. With additional support for the latest PCI Express add-in graphics cards, the VIA P4M900 provides SIs and OEMs an unparalleled level of performance and flexibility to develop a wide range of next-generation systems in multiple market segments capable of taking advantage of the extended visual desktop experience Microsoft Windows Vista has to offer. VIA Press Release
VIA has also come to the table this morning with an announcement of their AMD Socket AM2 support with their Chipsets. Among the VIA AM2-supportive Chipsets are the K8M890, K8T890, and K8T900. These Northbridges are in combination with the new VIA VT8251 Southbridge. No word yet on the Linux compatibility/performance, but we hope to be checking out a few VIA-powered AM2 motherboards soon. VIA's announcement can be found here. Optimized for a complete range of AMD Opteron, Athlon 64, Athlon 64 FX, and Sempron processors, VIA K8 Series chipsets include the widely acclaimed VIA K8T900 and K8T890 discrete solutions as well as the VIA K8M890 integrated graphics chipset.
Taipei, Taiwan, 6 April 2006 - VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator and developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, today announced the VIA PT890 chipset, further broadening VIA’s range of Microsoft Windows Vista-ready core logic solutions. The VIA PT890 Chipset for Intel CPUs support DDR1 as well as DDR2 and also supports PCI Express graphics. This Chipset is also part of VIA's unique Modular Architecture Platform (V-Map) strategy. We are working on getting engineering samples of motherboards with these supported Chipsets to gain a better understanding for its Linux compatibility and performance. In the mean time, here is the product page.
89 VIA news articles published on Phoronix.