The Linux Kernel Preparing To Drop Infrastructure For Old & Obsolete Graphics Drivers

Graphics Drivers History

From Old & Obsolete Graphics Drivers to the newest in market, lets go through a quick history drive.

Graphics drivers have come a long way since the early days of computing. In the beginning, graphics drivers were simple and only supported basic functionality. As computers became more powerful, graphics drivers became more complex and feature-rich. Today, graphics drivers are capable of supporting advanced features such as 3D rendering, video playback, and virtual reality.

The history of graphics drivers is a fascinating topic that can be explored in depth by graduate students in computer science. Here are some key milestones in the history of graphics drivers:

  • 1981: IBM introduces the first color graphics adapter (CGA) for the IBM PC.
  • 1985: VGA (Video Graphics Array) is introduced, offering higher resolution and more colors than CGA.
  • 1992: The first 3D graphics accelerator, the 3Dfx Voodoo Graphics, is released.
  • 1995: Microsoft releases DirectX, a collection of APIs for handling multimedia tasks such as video playback and 3D rendering.
  • 1999: NVIDIA releases the GeForce 256, the first GPU (graphics processing unit).
  • 2002: ATI releases the Radeon 9700, the first graphics card to support DirectX 9.
  • 2006: NVIDIA releases the GeForce 8800 GTX, the first graphics card to support DirectX 10.
  • 2008: AMD acquires ATI, becoming one of the largest graphics card manufacturers in the world.
  • 2012: NVIDIA releases the GeForce GTX 680, the first graphics card to support DirectX 11.1.
  • 2015: AMD releases the Radeon R9 Fury X, the first graphics card to use high-bandwidth memory (HBM).
  • 2016: NVIDIA releases the GeForce GTX 1080, the first graphics card to support DirectX 12.

What to expect from Linux Kernel Update

Back during the Linux 6.3 kernel support for a number of legacy DRM drivers was removed and now patches have been volleyed for taking things one step further by now eliminating the infrastructure for supporting these older user-space mode-setting graphics/display drivers.
PC boards and old cards junk
The ATI Rage 128, 3Dfx, S3 Savage, Intel 810, SiS, VIA and Matrox MGA DRM drivers were what was phased out in Linux 6.3. This is part of the effort for removing obsolete GPU drivers from the DRI1 era.

Thomas Zimmermann of SUSE is now aiming to take things one step further by removing the infrastructure for user-space mode-setting. With Linux 6.6 being this year’s lTS kernel, it’s a nice point now to eliminate this infrastructure and should anyone be using such old out-of-tree drivers or similar they can stick to using Linux 6.6 LTS.

Zimmermann wrote on dri-devel:

The old drivers for user-space mode setting have been removed in Linux v6.3. No one has complained or requested their return. It is time to remove these drivers’ infrastructure from the DRM core. The recent Linux v6.6 has been designated as long-term release, so any remaining users have a few more years to get a new graphics card. The legacy devices continue to be supported via simpledrm. Merging proper drivers with kernel mode setting is also an option. Patches 1 to 7 fix a few trivial issues that have been forgotten during the removal of the drivers. Patches 8 and 9 remove the leagcy ioctl interfaces. One op is different from the others, so it gets its own patch. Patches 10 to 12 remove the legacy source code from DRM. With that gone patch 13, the AGP code can be simplified as well. There used to be a device file for user-space mode setting, /dev/agpgart, that is now obsolete.

These 14 patches get rid of another 8k lines of legacy code within the Direct Rendering Manager subsystem. If no objections are raised, this legacy user-space mode-setting infrastructure removal could happen for the Linux 6.8 kernel cycle in the new year.

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Source: Phoronix

Drop Infrastructure For Old & Obsolete Graphics Drivers Linux kernel legacy DRM drivers graphics drivers display drivers

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