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Even In 2019, A Long Road Still For Getting The VIA OpenChrome Driver In Linux

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It’s been over a decade since VIA x86 hardware has been relevant and with that their Unichrome/Chrome integrated graphics chipsets, but the effort still isn’t over for trying to get the OpenChrome DRM/KMS driver into the mainline Linux kernel for these vintage systems.

For nearly three years now, the OpenChrome project that’s been focused on open-source driver support for VIA graphics hardware has been down to just one active developer who has been learning along the way and trying to take the existing OpenChrome DRM/KMS code and work it into a state that could be merged into the mainline Linux kernel. That developer, Kevin Brace, is also the one that’s been doing new patch releases on the RAGE 128 X.Org driver, other vintage hardware, and even wanting to see new xorg-server releases to help out old hardware.

Last year when evaluating the potential for getting the OpenChrome DRM/KMS driver code merged to mainline, there was some resistance in accepting any new DRM/KMS driver unless it first supported the modern atomic mode-setting APIs in the kernel. It did not then and does not know. When Kevin Brace fired off a new message this week about interest in getting the driver merged, there’s even more interest in seeing atomic support first before accepting new drivers based upon their experience last year in pulling the VirtualBox DRM driver to the staging area without atomic support.

Also with the interest in seeing OpenChrome submitted to the kernel tree proper and bypass the staging area, it doesn’t look like this code will be pulled in the near-term.

Even if this driver were to be merged now, there is no OpenChrome acceleration support at this time. In a blog post today, Kevin mentioned he is deleting the acceleration code that was unfinished and not working.


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