OpenChrome Maintainer Making Some Progress On VIA DRM Driver

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 25 September 2016 at 08:35 AM EDT. 15 Comments
Independent developer Kevin Brace took over maintaining the OpenChrome DDX driver earlier this year to improve the open-source VIA Linux graphics support while over the summer he's slowly been getting up to speed on development of the OpenChrome DRM driver.

The OpenChrome DRM driver was making progress while James Simmons was developing it a few years back, but since he left the project, it's been left to bit rot. It will take a lot of work even to get this previously "good" code back to working on the latest Linux 4.x mainline kernels given how DRM core interfaces have evolved in recent times.

Last month Kevin Brace called for resuming the VIA/OpenChrome KMS/DRM driver development and was trying to get some experienced DRM driver developers to help out. No one ended up offering their support and some even suggested he restart development from scratch while Kevin has taken it upon himself to figure out how to get this DRM driver into shape.

This weekend Kevin Brace wrote a very lengthy mailing list post where he ultimately says he's trying to get this DRM driver into shape with hopes of mainlining it one day. He hasn't yet got the driver building on Linux 4.x kernels but is currently using Linux 3.19 atop Lubuntu 14.04 on his VIA systems. Aside from making the driver compatible with the mainline code, he's hoping to add DRI2/EXA acceleration support.

Kevin mentioned in the email that he estimates it won't be until at least around the Linux 4.15 kernel (~2018) when the code will hopefully be in a state for talking about merging it to mainline. Given how many OpenChrome developers have come and gone, hopefully he'll remain committed to getting this open-source VIA x86 graphics driver into shape.
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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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