Notes for porting DRI to Solaris

DRI stands for "Direct Rendering Infrastructure" for xfree86. It allows all the supposedly portable 3d hardware acceleration modules to talk to the actual hardware.

Official home page for DRI is at
A conceptual discussion of DRI is at

Trouble is, you need a very non-portable driver written specifically for your OS, to have this work. Linux has one. BSD has one. Solaris does not.

I may never have the time, or patience, to write a DRI kernel module for solaris. But here are some public notes for anyone thinking about doing the project. These are things I'm writing down as I'm looking at the code. I do not have any special "inside" knowlege - I did not work on either of the two working drivers

Top-level directory

All filenames and directories referenced on this page assume that you are sitting in the directory


You get this directory by extracting X410src-1.tgz from (or whatever filename is the current "archive 1 of 3" when you read this)

Interesting files and directories

This file is what the user-level library looks at. Eventually, you must use everything in this file.

This file is actually the USER-SIDE library. You must implement the corresponding driver side to everything in this file. There are card-specific extras in the same directory that also must eventually be made happy. Specific cards may require specific extra ioctl support at driver level.

This directory is a cheat. It SOFT-LINKS all the files in linux/drm/, and compiles them for bsd.

Finally, the actual kernel driver routines. You should really look at the BSD drivers more, but there are critical include files in this directory. Most importantly, "drm.h"

bsd/drm/kernel/ (and subdirectories)
Here is the actual BSD driver source, fairly nicely organized. There are two gotchas:
  1. It softlinks all the .h files from the linux kernel dir, as noted above
  2. There are no .c files here. The generic non-card-specific code is in the drm subdirectory. The generic code currently comprises 5000 lines of C code.
    500 lines of that is non-needed "/proc" support, and another 500 lines is the BSD/xfree license preamble.

Functionality categories

There are a few conceptual areas of functionality that a DRI driver has to support:

Dec 26, 2001: I have just released a prototype for a /dev/agpgart driver. See my AGP driver section, on the main driver page.

There are other misc. little details, like access control to the device, but I think for the first round, those should be unneccessary.

Thats what I have so far. I'll add more, as I discover more. Or hopefully, someone else will :-)

Written by:Philip Brown
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