Developer Steps Up Wanting To Maintain Linux's FBDEV Subsystem

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 16 January 2022 at 07:22 PM EST. 9 Comments
The Linux kernel's frame-buffer device "FBDEV" subsystem has thankfully been on the decline over the past number of years thanks to the success of the more useful DRM/KMS drivers and having FBDEV compatibility emulation support. While not actively maintained, the FBDEV subsystem and some drivers remain within the Linux kernel and are used with some interest primarily in some legacy/embedded environments. The subsystem was orphaned while now a Linux kernel developer has stepped up to serve as its maintainer.

It was back in 2016 during Linux 4.10 development that FBDEV lost having any maintainer. Over the past five years, there has been little FBDEV activity -- again, thanks to the success of the Direct Rendering Manager drivers and more hardware vendors developing them and upstreaming the support. This is after calls for deprecating FBDEV have been going on for over a decade at this point.

Helge Deller who works on the Linux kernel's PA-RISC architecture code and other contributions has now volunteered to serve as the FBDEV subsystem maintainer.

Deller sent in a pull request looking to make the formal change adding him as the FBDEV maintainer beginning with Linux 5.17. However, there are no other FBDEV changes on deck for this Linux 5.17 merge window. There will likely be few real changes moving forward to FBDEV, but at least Helge is stepping up to be that point of contact and get any future patches ushered in to mainline until FBDEV is completely phased out.

Helge commented in the PR, "The fbdev layer is orphaned, but seems to need some care. So I'd like to step up as new maintainer."
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