Phoronix: VIA Soon To Release Its DRM-Using 2D Driver
Back in June, VIA Technologies rolled out its Chrome 9 DRM (for a second time) in hopes of pushing it into the mainline Linux kernel. At that time, VIA's DRM was again rejected and it led to a discussion over partial open-source drivers since the only user of this interface was their binary-only driver. In that discussion back then, VIA's Bruce Chang shared that they had a new 2D driver in the works and that it would utilize this DRM...
VIA's 'deadline' will be the merge-window of 2.6.32, or 33 if they miss that one, which should be somewhere near the end of september, giving them 1½ more months to get the needed work done.
I'd say they'll need to at least have documented their code (hardware documentation should suffice) and have their code testable in an acceptable manner (that's simply needed in order to actually be able to maintain it...). That means either usable open-source client-code, or function-tests of some kind. It shouldn't be necessary to have the entire code/functionality actually be in use by the client-code (ATI's >r500-DRM entered mainline before 3D was working...). That should be enough to at least get it into the staging-tree.
There is not a lot of incentive for VIA to actually write an opensource 3d-driver. By the time they're done, their next chip will be out... And as VIA isn't used a lot anyways, actually finding an opensource-programmer capable and willing to do it will be difficult... (heck, there's less than a handful of people really working on the ATI-driver...)
They should however realize there is at least some value in producing good linux-support, as that helps in their product-areas. Set-top-boxes, home-entertainment-devices, netbooks, and stuff like that is what VIA's chips are used for, or could be used for, but that's also the same area as where linux flourishes...
Anyways, even if the DRM never makes it to the mainline linux-kernel, that's not that bad. The code is out there, is working, it's just that VIA now has to maintain it themselves. It's just another out-of-mainline-kernel-driver, like many others. The distros most probably will take it up regardless.