Chip Companies Release Driver Source Code

In the hopes of getting Linux developers interested in supporting their hardware, VIA Technologies and XGI Technology, both Taiwanese chip makers, have released the source code for some of their drivers.

XGI Technology released code for X.Org, XFree86.Org, and Kernel.Org for desktop, notebook, and servers. VIA released the source for the S3 Graphics UniChrome family display drivers. This code supports Linux kernels 2.6.x, the latest releases of the operating system’s core. The drivers support its EPIA motherboards.

VIA also released the code for ProSavage and ProSavage DDR integrated graphics controllers.

Support for Open Source

“With this approach to driver support, we are broadening our contribution to the open-source community, bringing a valuable software element to our total silicon platforms,” Steve Charng, head of software development, VIA, said in a statement. “By making these source codes freely available, VIA is expanding its software focus and enabling tailor-made solutions for the latest Linux distributions.”

XGI echoed that rationale.

“Our goal is to support all Linux developers so that our graphics processors can run on nearly all Linux platforms,” Derek Lin, software vice president, XGI said.

Already One Driver

Although the release of the code was good news for some in the Linux community, some have suggested that there is already a driver available based on code VIA released several years ago to a group of open-source developers.

Still, at this point, there are not as many drivers for Linux as there are for Windows or Mac OS X. VIA and XGI are hoping that by releasing the code, they will encourage open-source programmers to develop drivers that support their hardware, which would, in turn, benefit both the companies and Linux users.

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