Fedora Looking At Using VESA-Based FBDEV Driver, Knocking Off Old VESA & OpenChrome
Written by Michael Larabel in Fedora on 26 April 2019 at 06:59 AM EDT. Add A Comment
FEDORA --
Red Hat's lead X.Org developer Adam Jackson is looking at reworking the VESA display code path for Fedora moving forward. The plan would entail removing some old "sketchy code" from the X.Org Server and moving to UVESAFB as the VESA-based FBDEV driver but would mean dropping support for the OpenChrome driver among other changes.

Jackson's plan involves switching to UVESAFB, the VESA frame-buffer driver for old/unsupported graphics hardware lacking a proper DRM/KMS driver. UVESAFB relies upon the user-space v86d helpers for emulating x86 code to avoid the code within the X.Org Server itself. UVESAFB has been around a long time but not used by Fedora up to this point.

In switching to UVESAFB rather than X.Org's VESA DDX user-space driver, plus dropping the OpenChrome DDX driver that still relies upon user-space mode-setting, they would be able to further reduce the privileges of their X.Org Server support.

Another benefit is there are Wayland compositors able to run directly on FBDEV devices that would help in these cases compared to falling back to the VESA DDX where there isn't any such support.

This is a risky change particularly for vintage systems. But for the vast majority of users running on NVIDIA / Radeon / Intel, the change won't be visible besides potentially having a more secure xorg-server configuration on your system.

Those interested in more details on these draft plans for Fedora 31 can find out the preliminary details on the Fedora devel list.

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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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