Linux Kernel Developers Discuss Dropping FBDEV Staging Drivers
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 8 December 2016 at 12:00 PM EST. 7 Comments
LINUX KERNEL --
Toward the end of November was a discussion that started about potentially dropping all of the FBDEV Linux kernel drivers that are currently in the staging area, but it doesn't look like that will go through, at least until the relevant hardware has seen basic DRM driver ports.

For years there have been calls to kill FBDEV in the Linux kernel but it has yet to happen while FBDEV these days sees little movement. At the same time, over the past few years, DRM interfaces have improved, new helpers added, and more, to suit the Direct Rendering Manager subsystem to work well for small DRM drivers in place of FBDEV drivers. DRM can also offer full FBDEV emulation and we've been seeing more embedded graphics/display adapters in recent times supporting the Direct Rendering Manager.

Tomi Valkeinen of Texas Instruments proposed removing all fbdev drivers in staging. This would lighten the kernel load by over 31,000 lines of code by removing these staging drivers, which come down to the xgifb, sm750fb, and fbtft drivers. This isn't about removing non-staging fbdev drivers.

There's been opposition to dropping these staging fbdev drivers, including Greg KH being opposed to dropping them at least until there are equivalent DRM drivers for the hardware. The discussion started back up today but still it doesn't look like it's going to happen in the near-term to step closer to killing FBDEV. At least more DRM drivers are being created these days, but it doesn't look like all embedded developers are yet sold on the DRM subsystem being better.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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