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DirectX on Linux - what it is/isn't

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First up clarify for the people who jump to insane conclusions:

The DX on Linux is a WSL2 only thing. Microsoft are not any way bringing DX12 to Linux outside of the Windows environment. They are also in no way open sourcing any of the DX12 driver code. They are recompiling the DX12 userspace drivers (from GPU vendors) into Linux shared libraries, and running them on a kernel driver shim that transfers the kernel interface up to the closed source Windows kernel driver. This is in no way useful for having DX12 on Linux baremetal or anywhere other than in a WSL2 environment. It is not useful for Linux gaming.

From my point of view the kernel shim driver doesn't really bring anything to Linux, it's just a tunnel for some binary data between a host windows kernel binary and a guest linux userspace binary. It doesn't enhance the Linux graphics ecosystem in any useful direction, and as such I'm questioning why we'd want this upstream at all.

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Mainlining The Microsoft DirectX Kernel Driver For Linux...

  • Mainlining The Microsoft DirectX Kernel Driver For Linux Will Be An Uphill Battle

    Intel open-source developer Daniel Vetter who helps oversee the DRM subsystem immediately pointed out a number of problems, including the closed-source user-space. Among the issues raised by Vetter is that the DirectX kernel driver is "reinventing the world" in changing around device enumeration and a lot of other interfaces/features already supported in a common manner by upstream DRM drivers. There are also questions raised about how well this integrates with other common Linux features like DMA-BUF.

    DRM maintainer David Airlie was also quick to characterize this as a driver that connects a binary blob interface in Windows to a binary blob in Linux guests. He personally sees little value in having this driver upstreamed and raised concerns over how this driver will ultimately handle its planned presentation bits for displaying of Linux GUI applications within WSL2. He also raised the possibility of this landing in the Linux kernel as part of the Microsoft Hyper-V drivers rather than in the DRM driver area.

    Airlie also followed up that he isn't even fond of the idea of reviewing this open-source DXGKRNL code as since it's implementing proprietary Microsoft interfaces could potentially legally taint him in developing new graphics interfaces.

Microsoft Build - DirectX and Linux (WSL) plus more

  • Microsoft Build - DirectX and Linux (WSL) plus more

    Microsoft put up a developer blog post titled "DirectX ❤ Linux", which is a nice bit of PR bait. In reality, it means nothing for the standard desktop Linux. It's focused entirely on the Windows Subsystem for Linux which Microsoft tightly controls and DirectX itself remains firmly closed source. A Microsoft developer even said on the Linux Kernel mailing list, that there's "no intent" to have people coding for DX12 on Linux. Not only that, this implementation relies on pre-compiled user mode binaries that ship as part of Windows itself. Right now it seems to also be focused on CUDA and AI / Machine Learning, however, they also announced Linux GUI applications will eventually be supported on WSL as well.

    First they embraced Linux doing away with the Ballmer era of "Linux is a cancer", now they're extending a branch saying they were "on the wrong side of history" with open source and now they continue the extending. How long before extinguish phase starts (EEE)? Don't be fooled about Microsoft's stance and their aim here, it's not because they love Linux. They're going where the developers are to continue pulling people to Microsoft services. Nothing more.

    If any of it concerns you: I hope you put that energy and effort into continuing your support of the Linux desktop. Help it to grow and prosper. Support your favourite distribution, your favourite application and/or game developer by throwing some money at them.

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