Re: GGI, EGCS/PGCC, Kernel source (amusing thread :)

Geert Uytterhoeven (
Tue, 3 Mar 1998 04:01:02 +0100 (CET)

On Mon, 2 Mar 1998, teunis wrote:
> On Mon, 2 Mar 1998, Geert Uytterhoeven wrote:
> > On Thu, 26 Feb 1998, teunis wrote:
> > > - I run multiple videocards. fbcons does _NOT_ support multiple
> > > PCI adapters. At least ones that don't initialize themselves.
> >
> > No? The driver for ATI video boards does initialize the board itself. Besides,
> > on decent machines the firmware (e.g. Open Firmware) knows how to initialize
> > the board in a CPU-independent manner ;-)
> Well - S3-Trio64V+ and S3-ViRGE do _NOT_. And I run both. So it's GGI for
> me for now. (as soon as I figure out how to tell GGI to initialize one of
> them - I'm not the only one with this combo but I haven't tried activating
> the second card yet...)

That's the `bad hardware design' syndrome...

> Neither card is safe from userspace FWIW, and S3-ViRGE/GX has a nasty
> tendency to crash under XFree86 for me...

I know, we have similar problems with a ViRGE/VX here.

> > OK, atyfb doesn't support multiple ATI boards yet, but that's a question of
> > hours...
> You're lucky you have such a nice computer and managed to get either docs
> from ATI on your board (real lucky!) or have a board that's
> self-initializing. (sorry - it took me 3 months to get docs on the S3
> cards but the ATI docs are _NOT_ available afaik. At least not for
> anything newer than Mach64)

I've got a PDF file for the RAGE PRO from ATI, but I have to admit that it
doesn't document the 3D and video stuff, 2D only. And I've got a lot of sample
code. Didn't sign any NDA.

I do more like S3 than ATI (politically), but the S3 doesn't have Open Firmware
on the board, while the ATI has and thus worked out-of-the box on my CHRP

> > Oh yeah, I'm _not_ saying that everyone should be using fbcon. For plain PCs,
> > vgacon is fine. We just need the full abstract console code to be in the kernel
> > for machines that always boot with a graphical screen, not text mode. So, on
> > machines without decent firmware, you'll be stuck with vgacon and VGA text
> > mode, and XFree86 :-)
> or KGI/EvStacks - which is what I use. I'm happy :)

So we can split the $100000 question in two parts:

1. When will there be generic support for graphics consoles in the kernel
for non-PC architectures?

2. When will there be GGI for PC-architectures?

The answer to the second question is definitely not `now'. For question 1, you
all know my opinion.

Oh yeah, to make things clear: I'm not opposed to a GGI-alike scheme at all.

> [I also am programming userspace consoles - something not possible without
> EvStacks or equiv... I want ioctl's forewarded to userspace, eh? A
> console without, say, loadable font support is pretty weak]

Fbcon has loadable font support, vgacon doesn't have it yet because I didn't
bother to implement it (I have to halt production machines to play with that).



Geert Uytterhoeven           
Wavelets, Linux/{m68k~Amiga,PPC~CHRP}
Department of Computer Science -- Katholieke Universiteit Leuven -- Belgium

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