A developer wants to maintain the FBDEV subsystem of Linux


The Linux kernel frame buffer device “FBDEV” subsystem has fortunately been in decline over the past few years due to the success of more useful DRM/KMS drivers and support for FBDEV compatibility emulation. Although not actively maintained, the FBDEV subsystem and some drivers remain in the Linux kernel and are used with some interest primarily in some legacy/embedded environments. The subsystem was orphaned as a Linux kernel developer showed up to maintain it.

It was in 2016, during the development of Linux 4.10, that FBDEV lost all responsibility. Over the past five years, there has been little FBDEV activity – again, thanks to the success of the Direct Rendering Manager drivers and more hardware vendors developing them and upstream support. This is after calls for deprecation of FBDEV have been going on for more than a decade at this point.

Helge Deller, who works on the Linux kernel PA-RISC architecture code and other contributions, has now volunteered to serve as maintainer of the FBDEV subsystem.

Deller sent a pull request to make the formal change by adding him as an FBDEV maintainer from Linux 5.17. However, there are no other FBDEV changes on deck for this Linux 5.17 merge window. There will likely be few actual changes to FBDEV, but at least Helge is stepping up to be that point of contact and ensuring that all future fixes are introduced into the main line until FBDEV is completely removed.

Helge commented in the PR, “The fbdev layer is orphaned, but seems to need attention. So I would like to become the new maintainer.

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