Linux 6.3 To Remove Obsolete GPU Drivers: ATI Rage 128, 3Dfx, S3 Savage, i810 & More
Hitting the chopping block with the Linux 6.3 kernel are the following DRM drivers: i810, mga, r128, savage, sis, tdfx, and via. These drivers are for very old graphics/display hardware and no one has actively maintained these drivers in many years. Thus they are being removed from the mainline kernel - anyone still using such hardware are unlikely to be using a modern kernel anyhow... The code is always available from past kernels / Git should anyone be interested in stepping up to rewrite and maintain these drivers, but that ends up rarely being the case.
R.I.P. Rage 128 and other obsolete Linux DRM drivers...
These drivers were all marked obsolete around seven years ago already as they depend upon user-space mode-setting (UMS) and were unmaintained and not adapted like modern DRM drivers for kernel mode-setting (KMS) and other features. Back when they were marked obsolete in 2016, it was pointed out the drivers hadn't been touched since 2008... Nothing has changed since for these vintage old drivers with no one stepping up to improve/maintain them. For the drivers with accompanying Mesa 3D support, that code too has been deprecated/removed and were limited in support and just classic Mesa drivers.
Set to be removed with Linux 6.3 includes:
i810 - The Intel i810 driver is for old Intel i8xx / pre-i915 series chipsets. As with these other DRM drivers, the user-space code for them haven't been maintained in years either, so it's unlikely anyone will be significantly impacted by the modern Linux kernel ditching support for the very old hardware...
mga - The kernel driver for very old Matrox graphics cards.
r128 - The kernel driver for the ATI Rage 128 graphics cards.
savage - Support for the VIA / S3 Savage graphics chipset across the various generations up through the SuperSavage and ProSavage hardware.
sis - The old SiS driver.
tdfx - The old 3Dfx code such as for the Voodoo Banshee, Voodoo3, Voodoo4 and Voodoo5...
via - Old VIA graphics chipset code... There is the ongoing OpenChrome driver effort that is still barely alive and trying to get mainlined one day, but this old VIA code is being gutted now. It remains to be seen if/when OpenChrome will finally be upstreamed.
Again, these drivers have not been maintained in years, weren't ported to modern KMS/DRM interfaces, and the accompanying user-space 2D/3D driver code is either unmaintained in a long time or otherwise dead. So with Linux 6.3 these old drivers are being cleared out from the mainline kernel.
Clearing out these old, basic DRM kernel drivers lightens the DRM area by around 20k lines of code. That's the highlight of today's drm-misc-next pull. The Nouveau driver in this pull also drops support for a number of legacy ioctls too.