DirectFB2 Aims To Resurrect DirectFB For Embedded Systems

Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 27 January 2022 at 04:43 AM EST. 6 Comments
The DirectFB library had been a popular option for embedded systems in running off the Linux frame-buffer to avoid the full overhead of an X11 server. But a number of years ago DirectFB disappeared and ultimately stopped being maintained. Meanwhile Wayland has been making lots of inroads into mobile/embedded and areas once popular for DirectFB use. But now it turns out DirectFB2 is in development as a fork of the original DirectFB.

While the state of the Linux FBDEV drivers is in a tough spot, DirectFB2 hopes to build off the past successes of DirectFB but with a modern twist. Nicolas Caramelli has been leading this fork of DirectFB since it was revived in December. He will be talking about DirectFB2 next week at the virtual FOSDEM 2022.

Some of the early changes made to DirectFB2 has been making use of the Meson build system, limiting DirectFB2 to being a pure C implementation, and modularizing the existing source code. DirectFB2 also supports interfacing with DRM/KMS directly rather than just frame-buffer devices.

Not only is OpenGL working with DirectFB2, but Vulkan is also possible per the FOSDEM abstract though seemingly limited to CPU-based acceleration using SwiftShader.

The DirectFB2 fork is being developed over on GitHub. There is also more details on DirectFB2 via the documentation site.

We'll see if DirectFB2 takes ground or if Wayland and other alternatives have captured the area once held by DirectFB. In any case it will be fun hearing more about DirectFB2 next week at FOSDEM.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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