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The Linux Kernel Preparing To Drop Infrastructure For Old & Obsolete Graphics Drivers

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  • #21
    Originally posted by Mirox View Post
    Just curious. If a computer having one of those old graphic cards, is use as text only mode. As a server for example. Once the driver is removed, would the monitor display anything? Not even some text?
    I'm sure you are aware that you have picture straight from pressing the power button. You have picture in BIOS and you also have picture in the bootloader for Linux, even though the kernel hasn't been loaded yet. There are primitive standards that are supported by all devices and don't require huge amounts of code to make use of.

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    • #22
      Originally posted by Mat2 View Post
      I was wondering how these patches would affect BIOS systems where VESA / VBE could be used as a fallback if the normal GPU drivers are nonworking or nonexistent. From what I see, these modifications remove only code that was present with CONFIG_DRM_LEGACY kernel build-time configuration option enabled (which is disabled by default). So vesafb and uvesafb are not affected.
      Once upon a time, I was fancying writing a "uvesakms" driver that would work like uvesafb, but expose normal KMS APIs to be used for example by Wayland. It would access VBE through a userspace program (v86d) that emulated 16-bit BIOS code and expose KMS APIs for applications. Sadly, I do not have time now for such a work
      simpledrm the fail safe KMS linux kernel driver support vesa and uefi framebuffer outputs. I could see reason to extend simpledrm to support v86d user-mode helper for non x86 platforms attempting to use a x86 only UEFI/vesa cards.

      There is a problem that v86d is basically not being maintained.



      Fairly much those old framebuffer drivers are being replaced by simpledrm.

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      • #23
        Anything that has been end of sales for more than 10 years should be gone from new linux kernel release, including 32 bit x86 support.

        Even if they are still used, the owner won't upgrade it to 6.6

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        • #24
          Originally posted by pegasus View Post
          MGA G200 is present on many previous-gen server boards that still have some chance of seeing some newer kernels some day. How will that affect them? I assume vga text mode will still work, what about fb console?
          Obviously if you are using something like that you probably also use some distro that has 10 years support.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by zamroni111 View Post
            Anything that has been end of sales for more than 10 years should be gone from new linux kernel release, including 32 bit x86 support.

            Even if they are still used, the owner won't upgrade it to 6.6
            They tend to be very conservative with the stuff they remove. Honestly i think they'll remove this stuff in the 2030s probably before the 2038 bug.
            If somehow demand still exists i guess someone could fork the linux kernel by then.

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            • #26
              Originally posted by Developer12 View Post

              That is not even REMOTELY CLOSE to how graphics drivers work or what's happening here.

              1) you need BOTH a kernel and a userspace component to drive a GPU. always.​
              2) CPU software rendering drivers have no physical GPU and so NEVER have a kernel component
              3) what remains is modesetting for video outputs which is already done in the kernel for all modern stuff and which MESA has no part
              You're right in principle, but maybe don't be so angry with people who don't 100% know the intricacies when you are arguably wrong about details yourself?

              1) That's true for the modern way of doing things, but not universally or historically - you can get quite far with just memory mapped IO and IO ports, where the only OS involvement is access control to the relevant resources. As Mat2 says, that's traditionally how X drivers worked.
              2) I don't agree. There are DRM drivers for a number of simple framebuffers (VESA, EFI, different virtualization passthroughs), and those are definitely kernel components - but at the same time the rendering is done in software; there's no hardware acceleration of the graphics primitives. Using llvmpipe into a xen passthrough or simpledrm-on-vesa framebuffer are both "software rendering" but they're not identical.

              (And ofc I'm going to be wrong about something fundamental here myself, because that's just how this works)
              Last edited by dnebdal; 23 November 2023, 12:08 PM.

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              • #27
                From my limited experience the only thing I can see this affecting is:

                - Servers with those GPUs like the PowerEdge mentioned earlier
                - ArchPOWER for iMac G3s with the R128
                - Adelie Linux for older devices such as these, based on Gentoo.
                - ArchLinux32 and Gentoo for older laptops (Thinkpad fan club stuff specifically) with R128 cards
                - Legacy/Vintage devices from Facebook fan groups that otherwise do not get publicity.

                Wondering if there is a way to remove DRI 1 but replace with a “wrapper” built on modern DRI for these edge cases?

                In fact: why not a “modernized DRI 4” that has “wrapper support” for DRI 1-3?
                Last edited by Eirikr1848; 23 November 2023, 03:55 PM.

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                • #28
                  I think it's absolutely ridiculous! ... that we don't spend more time talking about 3dfx

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by zamroni111 View Post
                    Anything that has been end of sales for more than 10 years should be gone from new linux kernel release, including 32 bit x86 support.

                    Even if they are still used, the owner won't upgrade it to 6.6
                    I'm glad you're not making the decisions. Aside from not being able to use it to experiment with things like GPU-accelerated AI image generation, I'm quite happy daily-driving my AMD Athlon II X2 270 from 2011 and my GeForce GTX750 from 2014 now that it's been maxed out with 32GiB of RAM.

                    I've been procrastinating upgrading it, so it's still on Kubuntu 20.04 LTS, but I was recently given a laptop from 2016 that I'm using as a test-bed to identify likely regressions in Kubuntu 22.04 LTS before I upgrade my daily driver. (Plus, it's new enough to run a CPU-only Stable Diffusion run in 10 minutes, which puts that just on the edge of tolerable.)

                    Heck, my dedicated gaming rig is an equally old hand-me-down (HP wipes their support documentation after 10 years like you propose Linux should do for hardware support in general, and it's gone for my model) that was choking on Windows 10. I HP Restore Partitioned back to Windows 7, swapped to an SSD, and installed an AMD Radeon HD 5870 from 2009. Aside from struggling to emulate PS2 or Wii, it plays every game I care about perfectly.

                    (Technically, I'm curious about Skyrim and certain 2D or 3D platformers that require more than a dual-core i3 or more than 1GB of VRAM, but not enough for it to matter when I've got such a gigantic backlog of games I not only can play, but am much more interested in.)

                    ...and, for the record, I dual-boot that one to up-to-date Linux for stuff that either doesn't like Windows 7 or cases where I want something like Batocera Linux for the EmulationStation user experience.​ (The main OS is Windows 7 because it's my "I'm too tired to fight with Wine. I just want things to work." machine.)

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by Eirikr1848 View Post
                      From my limited experience the only thing I can see this affecting is:

                      - Servers with those GPUs like the PowerEdge mentioned earlier
                      - ArchPOWER for iMac G3s with the R128
                      - Adelie Linux for older devices such as these, based on Gentoo.
                      - ArchLinux32 and Gentoo for older laptops (Thinkpad fan club stuff specifically) with R128 cards
                      - Legacy/Vintage devices from Facebook fan groups that otherwise do not get publicity.

                      Wondering if there is a way to remove DRI 1 but replace with a “wrapper” built on modern DRI for these edge cases?

                      In fact: why not a “modernized DRI 4” that has “wrapper support” for DRI 1-3?
                      The Poweredge servers on mentioned is a mistake.


                      There is a modern KMS MGAG200 driver that supports the poweredge server matrox usage. Also this driver support a most of the modern Matrox dgpus Please note I said modern Matrox. Early matrox dgpu there are cards there are different quirks in operation.

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