Another Linux FBDEV Driver Poised For Removal In Favor Of Superior DRM Alternative

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 1 December 2020 at 12:19 AM EST. 13 Comments
For years there have been calls to deprecate Linux's FBDEV and work around replacing FBDEV drivers with modern Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) drivers. While hardware vendors are now trending in the direction of DRM drivers (and the FBDEV emulation support if needed) after the embedded space was somewhat of a holdout, FBDEV drivers and the subsystem still exist as we roll into 2021. But at least one more FBDEV driver is now looking likely for removal in favor of its modern and maintained DRM counterpart.

Thomas Zimmermann of SUSE's graphics team is proposing that the UDLFB driver be removed from the mainline kernel as it's been superseded by the DRM UDL driver. These are the display drivers for supporting the DisplayLink-based USB 2.0 display adapters.

There are many different DisplayLink USB 2.0 adapters out there that work with the UDLFB/UDL Linux drivers. For the past few years though the UDL DRM driver has been the focus with UDLFB not seeing much attention. Heck, the DRM driver has now been around for 8+ years already.

But given that the UDL DRM driver is in good standing and superior to the classic frame-buffer driver, it's time to let the former go. The patch removing the UDLFB frame-buffer driver frees up just over two thousand lines of kernel code and the DRM driver is clearly better off these days.
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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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