Numerous Linux/X11 Display Drivers Can No Longer Even Properly Build

Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org on 31 January 2022 at 05:00 AM EST. 42 Comments
While many Linux enthusiasts like to cite Linux's stellar support for older hardware platforms, in reality that isn't always the case. For instance with many old X.Org user-space mode-setting drivers for powering old graphics cards at least for display purposes, they can no longer even build with with modern toolchains / software components. Given the lack of bug reports around such issues, there are very likely few users trying some of these vintage hardware combinations.

Longtime X.Org developer Alan Coopersmith of Oracle recently looked at going through all of the available X.Org drivers that aren't in an archived state and seeing how they fare -- with a goal of at least setting them up for simple continuous integration (CI) builds on GitLab.

Coopersmith noted in the Sunday status update, "It will probably not surprise folks that a fair number of the drivers would not build when I tried this. Some I got building again with simple fixes (though I have no hardware to test these, so can only claim that they build - they may or may not work), others still need some help or may be ready for archiving if no one wants to make them build again."

Among the dispaly drivers failing to build properly in 2022 were some relying on 32-bit Assembly code, some still depending upon the XAA acceleration architecture that has been removed since 2012, various ABI breakages with some drivers going back nearly one decade, removal of the RAMDAC drivers from X.Org, and various other build issues from issues with modern compilers to other code depending on since removed/deprecated dependencies.

Coopersmith was able to make changes to at least build some of the drivers like the XGI DDX and various Sun drivers, but not necessarily working. Other drivers include the likes of TI OMAP, OpenTegra, S3, Glint, Geode, and others running into problems.

Those curious about the build problems in 2022 for some of these vintage X.Org display drivers can see this mailing list post.
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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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