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Re: Article on state of graphics drivers on BSDs

On Jul 3, 10:37am, Martin wrote:
} Its just further evidence that developers outside of Linux for open-source
} operating systems like Solaris & the *BSD really need to work together on
} graphics drivers development in creating some form of easily portable
} platform across systems, so no matter what graphics driver is available the
} moment it is ported to an OS outside of Linux it only requires a small
} amount of modification to get it onto the other OS platforms.
} For example: All most all open-source operating systems are running some
} form of X-org, that is the denominator that is universal across all
} open-source operating systems. So surely there has to be a way that OS's
} could take advantage of it for graphics drivers. Unless you use some other
} platform like Java.

     The issue is that at one time, just about all drivers for x86 were
fully implemented in userland, so all that was needed from the kernel
was a way for userland to directly access the hardware.  This meant
that all (or XF86) drivers would work on all systems without

     This is no longer true.  Modern drivers don't have direct access
to the hardware and require quite a bit of kernel support.  There are
two issues here.  The first is that there is quite a bit of differences
in kernel APIs so that you can't just take the kernel part from one
system and plunk it on another system.  The second is that the API
expected by the userland portion of the drivers is a rapidly moving
target.  This is probably the bigger problem.  If it wasn't for this,
each system would only need to work on the kernel portion once;
however, as is, the kernel portion needs to be under constant
developement.  This now becomes an issue of interest (open source
developers tend to work on what interests them the most) and resource
(in particular, time) allocation.

}-- End of excerpt from Martin

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