OpenChrome DRM Driver For Open-Source VIA Continues To See Some Activity In 2022

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 22 February 2022 at 04:55 AM EST. 13 Comments
If you are still using a motherboard with a VIA x86 chipset, it's really long past due to consider upgrading to a newer platform, but if that is not feasible the UniChrome IGP graphics support continues to still be worked on occasionally for Linux in 2022. The OpenChrome driver project remains in a sad state and out-of-tree, but is continuing to see fixes and re-based against newer versions of the Linux kernel.

OpenChrome has been going on for more than a decade and after starting out focused on a user-space mode-setting X.Org driver they turned their attention to kernel mode-setting with a proper DRM/KMS kernel driver.

The days of x86 hardware with VIA chipsets...

But for the past half-decade, OpenChrome has come down to the ambitions of just one developer who took up the challenge of trying to maintain and work on the OpenChrome DRM driver. That developer, Kevin Brace, has persistently continued working on the driver to get it into better shape and even without any clear path for getting it mainlined into the Linux kernel. Further challenging the situation is that for it to go mainline it would need to add support for atomic mode-setting, which would be a big undertaking for the project of very limited resources.

It's been a while since VIA graphics were relevant...

Now into 2022 and VIA x86 chipsets being close to two decades past due and that vintage hardware really not being suitable for most modern tasks, one has to wonder if OpenChrome will ever make it mainline... Then again it was only last year that the Nintendo 64 port was mainlined. So if OpenChrome DRM does get adapted for atomic mode-setting and other improvements, perhaps it will still one day see mainline. Even if it does see mainline, there still isn't a Gallium3D driver for VIA UniChrome hardware to allow for 3D acceleration to run with modern desktops.

In any event what's new to report now is OpenChrome seeing its routine update for drm-next-5.18. This out-of-tree driver has been re-based against the code being worked on for targeting Linux 5.18. So this driver should work once again in the next kernel cycle albeit still out-of-tree. Besides updating for kernel interface changes, most of the other OpenChrome DRM driver changes of recent times has mostly been small code maintenance changes. Kevin Brace remains dedicated to single-handedly letting the open-source VIA kernel graphics driver live on.
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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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