Will kernel modesetting allow x86 cards to be used in MIPS, SPARC, PA-RISC boxes?

Alex Deucher alexdeucher at gmail.com
Fri Jul 18 13:22:17 PDT 2008

On Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 4:12 PM, Matt Turner <mattst88 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> I asked on IRC yesterday, and was told that kernel modesetting should
> allow the usage of graphics cards with x86-only ROMs to be used in
> MIPS, SPARC, PA-RISC, and other architectures where the card would
> normally require a special ROM.
> Is this really the case? If so, how does this get around the lack of
> ROM initialization at boot-time? Are there any caveats?
> I'm specifically asking about Radeon, but answers pertaining to any
> and all other graphics cards will be tolerated. ;)

you still need a way to initialize the card.  This is normally done
via real mode posting of the card on x86 machines.  So depending on
the card you will need some way to initialize it.  On newer radeons,
we can use atombios to initialize the card without the need for x86
real mode.  On pre-atom radeons, the cards can be posted by parsing
some initialization tables in the bios, however this path is not well
tested.  Non-radeon cards would either need an x86 emulator to call
the real mode post code, or something similar to atombios, or a driver
with the knowledge to initialize everything directly.


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