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SubjectRe: SVGA kernel chipset drivers.
From: Ian main <>
> On Thu, 30 May 1996, root wrote:
> > I was wondering if there are any plans incorporate any of the major video
> > card chipsets into low level kernel driver support. SVGALIB at current
> > has a very limited number of chipsets that it supports not to mention I
> > would think a low level kernel driver would get better performence out of
> > the video hardware. I for one would like to be able to use the features
> > of my Matrox MGA Millenium in linux :)
> Call me crazy.. I had a talk with someone a while back about
> this. We thought it'd be a good idea to have a single driver implemented
> somehow.. one that X could use, and any other app that chose to. This
> would have a few advantages. It would be more stable (ie no wierd text
> distortion etc. like you get with SVGALIB sometimes) because the one
> driver could have complete control over the video card. Also... Xfree
> supports a lot more hardware that svgalib does. If some of the code for
> the X drivers could be used in this new implementation, it would be much
> better than SVGALIB is now.

A project called GGI is doing exactly that. Want to help support
your video card or work on the library? You can join the GGI
mailing list by sending mail to
or to the maintainer, Note that he will be gone
for a few weeks, so be patient.

> Now I am not the one to say where this should be implemented..
> whether it be in the kernel, or just a standard library.. I dunno, but
> it makes a lot of sense to me.

GGI is using a multi-part approach. All hardware IO and such is done
in a kernel driver. The kernel provides acceleration features when
the hardware has them, but does _not_ provide an emulation library.
The userspace library uses acceleration if available, otherwise it
just uses a mmapped framebuffer.

> Having a single _smart_ driver for the video hardware would make
> graphical applications much more attainable, stable, standardized,
> supported, etc.

Telnet in and 'kill -9' your X server. Now go to the console and...
Oh, there is no more console. :-(

Together with the SAK patch, GGI fixes this completely.


OK now, everyone interested in this _please_ join the GGI mailing list.
This thread has been here before, several times.

Steffen Seeger (misc hacker, maintainer)
Andreas Beck (memory, libs)

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