While many Linux enthusiasts like to cite Linux’s stellar support for older hardware platforms, in reality that isn’t always the case. For instance with many old X.Org user-space mode-setting drivers for powering old graphics cards at least for display purposes, they can no longer even build with with modern toolchains/software components. Given the lack of bug reports around such issues, there are very likely few users trying some of these vintage hardware combinations.
Longtime X.Org developer Alan Coopersmith of Oracle recently looked at going through all of the available X.Org drivers that aren’t in an archived state and seeing how they fare — with a goal of at least setting them up for simple continuous integration (CI) builds on GitLab.
This is the inevitable result of hardware that was often already obscure and rare when it was new – let alone now, decades later. All we can hope for is a few people still carrying this hardware to donate either time or hardware to aid in keeping these drivers building and running.
This is one reason why the portability layer matters. All that “waaah waaah” and comments I was talking about old stuff and new compilers are better and blah blah? Then there’s the abstractions… Gosh darn that portability layer covering C/C++ compiler quirks would be really handy just about now.
I read through the comments under the link. People saying old cards and old code should just be ditched (just like the lazy thinkers justifying their buying into Windows 11) really have no clue whatsoever what they are talking about. For a start new stuff today will be old stuff tomorrow and they will be going through all the same issues in 20 years time having learned nothing and never having once sorted out their portability and abstractions and scalability issues from day one.