There Is Talk Of Resuming OpenChrome VIA KMS/DRM Driver Development

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 29 August 2016 at 09:44 AM EDT. 19 Comments
Two or so years back or so it was looking hopeful that the mainline Linux kernel would finally have a proper VIA DRM/KMS driver for the unfortunate ones still have VIA x86 hardware and using the integrated graphics. However, that work was ultimately abandoned but there is talk of it being restored.

That earlier VIA DRM/KMS driver was led independently by James Simmons but for more than a year he's been M.I.A. with that not quite finished DRM/KMS driver going through bit rot. While the driver almost looked ready for merging before, the core DRM interfaces and Linux kernel have evolved a lot since then that this code doesn't even build against any recent version of the kernel with significant changes needed to modernize it against the latest upstream kernel code.

Kevin Brace, the outside developer who for the past few months has taken over maintaining the OpenChrome DDX driver is trying to build up interest in reviving the OpenChrome DRM/KMS driver started by James Simmons.

Following the discussions last week of marking DRI1 drivers as legacy and broken, Kevin Brace volleyed a new mailing list thread: How to resume drm-openchrome development.

So far the only feedback from upstream developers have been to start small by getting a very basic KMS driver working, get it merged, then continue working on other functionality. However, it remains to be seen how feasible that is with having no experienced DRM developers working on this VIA code and seemingly only having less than a handful of developer participants left in the OpenChrome community. But who knows, there could always be a miracle.
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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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