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Re: Recent video-related commits: summary wanted

On Sat, Aug 16, 2014 at 09:30:50PM +0100, Gerard Lally wrote:
> There have been many video-related commits to the source tree recently,
> which I am doing my best to understand. Radeon, nouveau, drm, kms, and
> the like. It would be nice if someone would summarise what is happening
> and what difference it makes, and whether NetBSD 7 will benefit. A
> question I have for starters: do these changes bring native X up to date
> in -7, and if so would there be any compelling reason to choose modular
> X instead?

Whether NetBSD 7 benefits is on the eye of the beholder, but I believe
the basic purpose of these commits is to import code from the Linux
Direct Rendering Manager subsystem.  This is the part of the kernel
that interfaces with the Graphics Processing Unit of the system.  The
idea is to put the system into graphics mode at bootup, eliminating
the classic "text mode".  In a sense, text mode still exists from what
I've seen of Linux systems, which generally use the DRM subsystem to
change fonts to different sizes.  The X Server's operation becomes
more seamless.

I don't think I've seen the full benefit of this code yet, since the
system I've installed NetBSD 7 on has an NVidia card and it doesn't
seem that Nouveau is active by default.  I will be interested to see
how it works.  If it's like my expreience in Linux, then it will work
fairly well and actually be more stable than the proprietary NVidia
driver.  The disadvantage is that it doesn't support as many NVidia
cards or, for the cards it does support, it may not support all of the
features of those cards.  I also found that suspend/resume worked
better with the NVidia driver than with the Nouveau driver.

Roy Bixler <>
"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the
sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment."
-- Richard P. Feynman

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