A Call To Stop Making FBDEV Linux Frame-Buffer Drivers

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 24 September 2015 at 10:33 AM EDT. 16 Comments
Back in 2012 was a call for deprecating Linux FBDEV drivers in a move to try to kill off the FBDEV subsystem in favor of modern DRM drivers. As I've brought up several times since, FBDEV drivers are still kicking in the Linux kernel. Sent out today thought was another call to try to encourage developers to stop developing FBDEV drivers.

Tomi Valkeinen wrote today on the Linux kernel mailing list, "fbdev is (more or less) maintained, but it's a deprecated framework. All new Linux display drivers should be done on DRM. So let's not add any more new fbdev drivers. I will continue to maintain the current fbdev drivers, and I don't mind adding some new features to those current drivers, as long as the amount of code required to add the features stays sensible."

Valkeinen is suggesting though that the current FBDEV staging drivers be nuked. The FBDEV drivers still in staging are xgifb, fbtft, and sm750fb.

In response to the call for stop using FBDEV and switching over to DRM drivers, Thomas Petazzoni of Free Electrons brought up that DRM is "overkill" for some displays and there was some communication before that FBDEV still could be used for simple scenarios, unless the process of writing DRM drivers was made easier.

We'll see what happens but hopefully more companies commit to Direct Rendering Manager drivers over FBDEV.

On a side note, as a quick follow-up to the article last month about DirectFB disappearing, as of this morning, DirectFB.org still appears down and I've seen nothing at all about it returning.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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