Mesa Developers Discuss Dropping Older Drivers, Removing Untested Code
Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 22 May 2017 at 06:34 AM EDT. 22 Comments
MESA --
Last week Mesa developers had their once-in-a-while discussion about cleaning up the code-base and potentially dropping the older drivers.

Emil Velikov began the discussion by calling for a deprecation on the old DRI drivers. This original plan would also deperecate the old DRI driver loader.

- Dropping i915, r200, and other "effectively unmaintained drivers" was then brought up, possibly moving them to a legacy branch of Mesa.

- Part of the benefit of dropping older drivers would be able to remove a lot of run-time checks, removing some code paths only used by the older drivers, etc.

- Potentially dropping NV04 and NV05 was also brought up as it's "unused, unmaintained, and demonstrably *broken*."

- Dropping Gallium3D drivers that don't support native integers was discussed, but that would affect Etnaviv, Freedreno A2xx, NV30, and others.

- An idea of moving DirectX 9 and older GPUs into its own Mesa code-base and let that evolve into its own legacy driver project, albeit there aren't many developers interested in this older hardware or with the time/resources to invest in such code, hence why Mesa's existing legacy hardware support is in bad shape.

These sort of discussions happen every year or so on Mesa-dev about dropping old pieces of Mesa that are in a less than ideal state. Often times these discussions just fizzle down without any action, but we'll see this time. The discussion had been happening in this mailing list thread.

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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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