Open-Source / Linux Enthusiasts Have A Lot To Be Thankful For This Year

Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 30 December 2015 at 09:00 AM EST. Add A Comment
Last week I wrote about some of the open-source / Linux letdowns of the year while today's article is looking at some of the positives from throughout the year.

There are far too many "open-source wins" to list from 2015, and some of the exciting advancements have already been covered in our other year-end articles. This article are just some of the major items that come to mind. You're more than welcome to share your own exciting open-source/Linux highlights of the year with us and the community by commenting on this article in our forums.

With that said, some of the open-source/Linux wins of 2015 have included:

- The VC4 Gallium3D driver and kernel DRM driver have matured greatly this year for providing Raspberry Pi 3D acceleration that's fully open-source. For Linux 4.5, the DRM driver will receive the bits needed for 3D acceleration where as what's in Linux 4.4 right now is just for kernel mode-setting. With millions of Pis out there, it's great that years later the fully-open 3D stack is becoming a reality.

- Mesa hit OpenGL 4 support this year and the R600g/RadeonSI AMD and Nouveau NVC0 drivers have reached OpenGL 4.1 compliance. Intel is very close with OpenGL 4.0~4.2 support in their Mesa driver and should be there soon while this year they at least reached OpenGL ES 3.1 support. 2016 should be interesting and will be curious to see whether they can hit OpenGL 4.4~4.5 support by this time next year.

- The VirGL Gallium3D, DRM driver, and QEMU changes finally came together for allowing 3D guest VM support using VirtIO with KVM/QEMU that is then passed onto the host's driver/GPU. VirtualBox and VMware have long supported this guest 3D capability for a while but now it's finally available for users of a fully-open Linux virtualization stack.

- Microsoft made many shocking Linux/open-source announcements in 2015 that not many people would have predicted.

- There have been hundreds of new Steam Linux game releases this year. Linux gaming advanced a lot this year and at this time in 2014 there were less than 1,000 Steam Linux games while writing this article today that number is at 1,754.

- Fedora Linux had the very successful F22 and F23 releases.

- Wayland matured a lot and there is now very usable GNOME Wayland support, the KDE Plasma on Wayland support is good enough for early adopters, Enlightenment E20 works well on Wayland, etc. It will be interesting to see how the adoption of Wayland takes off in 2016.

- Linux 4 was released and the subsequent updates have continued adding a lot of exciting and new functionality.

Those are just some of the exciting open-source/Linux wins of 2015. Share with us your favorite highlights of the year by commenting on this article in our forums.
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Michael Larabel

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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