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OpenChrome, An Open Source Driver, Is Not Yet Ready To Be Integrated Into Linux 5.20

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You might remember that one month ago, the sole developer left working on open source VIA x86 graphics support for Linux intended to eventually mainline this “OpenChrome” DRM/KMS driver for the Linux 5.20 cycle. Even though Linux 5.19 is being published today and the Linux 5.20 merge window is now open, the OpenChrome DRM driver is still in the development stage.

For the Linux 5.20 merge window, the OpenChrome DRM/KMS driver has not yet been queued into the DRM-Next tree. According to the most recent activity on dri-devel as of this weekend, at least one more patch series revision is still required to resolve outstanding problems identified during the current “v3” round of review. Before the code is integrated, the outstanding issues must be resolved.

Since they rarely pose a threat to present customers, etc., new drivers are occasionally submitted after the merge window has closed. There is still a potential that something similar will occur, but it is more likely that the OpenChrome driver will be delayed by at least one more cycle.

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This OpenChrome DRM/KMS driver has been in development for more than ten years, albeit intermittently, and is intended to work with the VIA CLE266/KM400/K8M800/P4M800 Pro/PM800/P4M890/K8M890/P4M900/CX700/VX800/VX855/VX900 chipsets. Kevin Brace was the last developer actively involved in advancing open source VIA x86 graphics driver support. However, even as of 2022, this OpenChrome driver does not yet provide 2D or 3D hardware acceleration, therefore it is essentially adequate for kernel mode-setting and display functions.

The driver will only be loaded by default if the “via.modeset=1” kernel option is passed and will be treated as “experimental” when it is finally integrated, at least until 2D acceleration is implemented.

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