Like The Other BSDs, DragonFlyBSD Lags Greatly Behind With Its GPU Support
Written by Michael Larabel in BSD on 11 October 2014 at 10:19 AM EDT. 21 Comments
BSD --
Besides FreeBSD having poor open-source graphics driver support, DragonFlyBSD is in a similar boat with regard to their port of the Linux DRM/KMS drivers. In fact, it's gone from porting the driver to DragonFlyBSD to more like porting DragonFlyBSD to be more compatible with the Linux APIs.

Fran├žois Tigeot talked at this week's XDC2014 Bordeaux conference about the state of their Linux graphics driver porting for DragonFlyBSD. Long story short, they're making progress but things are going slow -- only in August they got Intel Haswell graphics working on DragonFlyBSD.

Some of their graphics code was ported from FreeBSD (that in turn is from the mainline Linux kernel) due to similar interfaces to the DragonFlyBSD kernel while other code they're porting is straight from the upstream Linux code-base. Both projects though are utilizing Linux 3.8 era DRM driver code -- now about ten releases out-of-date with significant changes having taken place since then to all the major DRM drivers and core code.


In this process they've found more success making DragonFlyBSD's kernel more like Linux than trying to adapt the complex, quick-moving drivers to their code-base. "It makes more sense to change the DragonFly kernel to behave like Linux than trying to constantly keep up and change the drivers to use *BSD-specific APIs. In a way I'm porting DragonFly to the drm drivers and not the drivers to DragonFly."

The current state of DragonFlyBSD's graphics code is using the i915 driver from Linux 3.8.13, also using the Radeon DRM from Linux 3.8, and using the DRM/TTM code from Linux 3.9. The generic DRM code is more of a mess and some of it dates back to the Linux 2.6 days.

Future work items for DragonFlyBSD graphics developers include porting more of the code from Linux 3.8, slowly update to newer kernel code, and start porting the Nouveau DRM driver.

Those wishing to learn more about DragonFlyBSD graphics can see the PDF slides of this week's XDC presentation.

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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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