Linux Seeing Kernel GPU Driver Support Two Decades Later For Matrox G200 Graphics Cards

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 15 July 2020 at 12:58 PM EDT. 47 Comments
The Matrox G200 series desktop graphics cards released in the late 90's are now seeing open-source DRM kernel driver support emerge in 2020.

The Linux kernel has provided a "MGAG200" Direct Rendering Manager driver going back to the early Linux 3.x kernel days. This MGA G200 DRM driver though has just been focused on the numerous server motherboards having G200 chips for display purposes. The actual MGA G200 series desktop graphics cards have not worked with this Linux kernel driver, at least until now.

SUSE engineer Thomas Zimmermann has taken the time now to extend the MGAG200 DRM driver to actually support the G200 desktop chips. This includes GEM memory management changes, fixes to the initialization of device registers, adding the desktop PCI IDs, and other changes to allow this driver to successfully light up and drive the MGA G200 series desktop cards rather than just the server chips.

This MGA desktop support is based on a patch previously worked on by fellow SUSE engineers Takashi Iwai and Egbert Eich years ago but never made it to mainlining. Zimmermann expanded upon it from a lone patch to a set of eight patches putting this Matrox DRM kernel driver in much better shape.

Zimmermann did test these patches on actual Matrox AGP graphics cards, including with Wayland's Weston compositor and the GNOME Shell running on X.Org.

The patches are out there now on the mailing list and we'll see if anyone bothers to review them and push them forward so the Matrox G200 desktop graphics cards can now be supported by the mainline kernel more than two decades after they launched. Previously there has just been the user-space Matrox X.Org DDX driver.
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