NetBSD on Sun hardware
Saturday, December 3, 2005 7:27:52 PM
First, the infamous sleep forever bug that made various UltraSPARC boxes lock up randomly has been fixed. Finally.
Second, NetBSD/sparc64 switched to the wscons console driver which allows nice things like virtual consoles, different terminal emulations, fonts and so on. We have accelerated drivers for most Sun-labeled graphics devices you're likely to find an any supported Ultra, namely the CG6 family ( GX, GX+, TGX, TGX+ ), ffb ( Creator, Creator3D ), afb ( Elite3D ) and mach64 ( PGX24, graphics chips found on Ultra 5 and Ultra 10 mainboards, probably others )
With 3.0 can also run XFree86 on all of these, with full acceleration. The acceleration part for the cg6-driver had to be written from scratch and there were a few bugs to squish in the ffb/afb driver and the Xserver itself but now things work nicely.
To sum it up - we're almost on par with i386 feature-wise now. For 4.0 I'll hopfully omit 'almost'
The cg6 isn't exclusively found in sparc64 machines, there are probably more 32bit Suns equipped with this kind of graphics board and of course both the console and the XFree driver work there too. However, since we still don't have wscons-compliant console drivers for all framebuffers commonly found in 32bit Suns these won't be included with 3.0
What's to come after 3.0:
- A new ffb driver that uses XAA and supports hardware-accelerated alpha-blending ( this greatly speeds up drawing of anti-aliased text ) - works in -current, too new for 3.0.
- support for switching virtual consoles with X running. Still needs some bugs fixed.
- wscons and XFree on NetBSD/sparc. Right now we have drivers for Weitek P9100 and CG6 ( both X and console ), cg14 and ZX/leo are being worked on.
- greatly improved support for Tadpole SPARCbook 3GX and similar laptops. We have drivers for the audio chip ( still somewhat experimental but good enough to play MP3s ), PCMCIA ( stable ), console (stable, but not active since NetBSD/sparc didn't switch to wscons yet ), XFree86 ( currently 8bit only but with some acceleration ), CPU power saving, more feedback on the built-in status-LCD and so on.
- XFree86 now works on the JavaStation Krups. Unaccelerated and 8bit only but at least it uses a hardware cursor, it's definitely usable for light work ( and you won't run anything heavy on a 100MHz MicroSPARC IIep anyway )