Linux 5.16 will feature a more extensible VirtIO GPU driver with the addition of “context types”

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Google’s work on the VirtIO DRM kernel driver around the notion of “context types” and the ability to initialize different types of contexts should be merged for Linux 5.16 opening up more use cases for this driver which is an important part of the open source virtualization graphics stack for graphics.

The existing VirtIO GPU driver is modeled around using the Virgl protocol for 3D in guest VMs, but with this context, the init/context-like job is to be able to support additional protocols for GPU communication between the guest virtual machine and the host.

In addition to Virgl support, Google Chrome OS engineers are considering GFXSTREAM support for OpenGL and Vulkan with this VirtIO driver. This context-like work could also open up the possibility of transmitting Wayland commands through the VirtIO driver and other protocols. Chrome OS engineers tested the new possibilities with their CrosVM.

Back in August, I originally wrote about this work with Google to make VirtIO GPU support more extensible. Today’s news is that new context code for the VirtIO DRM driver has been sent as part of this week’s drm-misc-next bundle.

The code is now on its way to DRM-Next and will then be integrated into Linux 5.16 to further enhance the kernel’s VirtIO capabilities.

All context initialization work was sent as part of this pull request.

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