Open-Source VIA Linux Driver Still Wants To Be Merged, But Pursuing Acceleration First

Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org on 8 October 2022 at 05:57 AM EDT. 12 Comments
The OpenChrome DRM driver has been in development for over a decade for providing open-source display driver support for VIA's aging x86 chipsets. For years now OpenChrome development has been down to one developer left on the project, Kevin Brace, and months ago he hoped to get the driver finally merged into the Linux kernel. He still holds out on those ambitions but will first aim to get basic acceleration working with a stable user-space API/ABI before mainlining.

The OpenChrome Direct Rendering Manager driver efforts continue going solely thanks to Kevin Brace being devoted in getting the out-of-tree driver working to build against newer versions of the Linux kernel and slowly churning away at missing features and functionality.

This week Kevin Brace presented at the X.Org Developers Conference (XDC 2022) on the state of OpenChrome. The main takeaway from the presentation is that he still wants to get the driver merged but will first focus on getting VIA accelerated graphics working before submitting for mainline and hopefully get the user-space API all sorted out.

In getting acceleration working, he's going to start by trying to leverage some existing legacy DRI1 code from the Unichrome driver. Meanwhile in user-space he's looking at splitting up the OpenChrome DDX driver between the KMS and UMS code paths. He also mentioned ambitions for OpenChrome Mesa support to which from the Unichrome effort there is Mesa 7.11 era DR1 code out in the wild. He hopes to update that classic Mesa driver code to support OpenChrome's eventual new user-space API. We'll see what happens on the Mesa front since mainline Mesa doesn't want any "new" classic Mesa drivers and is a major undertaking if trying to convert it to Gallium3D, so maybe he will target Mesa's "Amber" branch or the like. In any event below is Kevin's presentation in full and there is also this slide deck.

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