The State Of DRM/KMS Drivers On Solaris Sounds Worse Off Than The BSD Drivers

Written by Michael Larabel in Oracle on 19 September 2015 at 11:00 AM EDT. 8 Comments
Randy Fishel of Oracle presented at this week's XDC2015 conference about the state of the DRM/KMS graphics drivers on Solaris.

The history covered included how DRM/KMS drivers were first worked on for Solaris in 2006, OpenSolaris spurred a lot of interest on a lot of different hardware, Sun had created a time in China to work on x86 drivers, an Intel Solaris KMS driver was developed, and Oracle ended up reassigning/releasing off the Chinese developers responsible for the driver work with Solaris as a desktop OS being in a decline.

After the Oracle changes, the Intel DRM driver for Solaris development was done in Santa Clara with assistance from one Intel engineer. However, in early 2014 Intel stopped interacting with them directly and instead encouraged them to port from the Intel Linux open-source quarterly releases. So since then the Solaris developers working on DRM/KMS have been working on porting their code from the i915 Linux DRM driver.

Right now this Intel DRM driver on Solaris supports hardware up through Haswell. While working for Haswell and older, there's still lots of code clean-ups needed and other challenges. With their hands full on Intel driver support, there wasn't much reported about Radeon DRM porting nor Nouveau.

Long story short, users still running Solaris on the desktop are best off using the proprietary NVIDIA graphics driver that's of comparable quality to the Windows/Linux/BSD builds. The state of the Intel DRM driver on FreeBSD and DragonFlyBSD seems even further along and supports more hardware than the current Oracle driver in Solaris.

More details as to the current Solaris DRM/KMS state via these PDF slides.
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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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