Luc Verhaegen (libv) wrote,
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The DRI SDK and modular DRI drivers.

At FOSDEM I held a talk about "The free software graphics driver stack", analyzing the structure and the distribution of the different parts of the graphics driver stack, and, based on clear requirements, proposing a re-organization to be able to bring the individual parts of the graphics driver stack together. The slides for that talk are available here, and the audio and video of this talk have been made available too (Thanks Michael!).

Since I do not like to talk thin air, i also made a fully unified unichrome graphics driver stack available, proving that it is possible to unite all of Xorg, DRM and DRI drivers in one tree, and that it is possible to provide a reasonable amount of backwards compatibility (trivial for a stagnated driver) even in the Mesa/DRI driver.

My slides have a TODO section, and the most significant of those TODOs was for Mesa. This listed providing shared libraries, pkgconfig files and the necessary headerfiles for Mesa, much like the SDK that X has had ever since xfree86 4.0.0. Of course, such a thing would not happen on its own, so a bit after FOSDEM I set off and now I have implemented just that.

You can find the SDK enabled Mesa DRI tree here, and the individual drivers can also be found in my personal git repositories. A README like document is available too, to explain what one should do to build and install the SDK and to build and install the drivers.

What this gets you, once the SDK is properly installed, is the ability to build and install just the DRI driver to be able to fix bugs, get some performance gains, or just provide the driver developers with good feedback (provided that someone updated the driver tree to the latest compatible changes that is ;)). This without having to replace your libGL, which is where all the dependencies come weighing in. Anyone who has had to update this so far, knows how painful such an update is, and that it is often easier to do a major distribution upgrade.

So this brings us another step closer to make the free software desktop happen: the ability to easily update our graphics driver stack without touching anything else in our system!
Tags: amd, ati, dri, driver, intel, mesa, nvidia, radeon, unichrome, via, x
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