Via and XGI have increased their support for Linux in their graphics chips by releasing source code to the open-source community.

The two Taiwanese chip manufacturers have both released source code for some of their products, mainly graphics chip and display drivers. The idea is that developers will use the code to create drivers for versions of the Linux operating system not supported directly by the companies.

Releasing the source code could make it easier for Linux users to find drivers for hardware they buy, which can be difficult. Most drivers are designed to work with Windows or the Mac operating system. The added Linux support is a further sign that it continues to gain momentum.

The initiative takes the companies' support for Linux a step beyond that of some other chip makers. Although vendors such as Intel and ATI offer graphics drivers for some of the more popular Linux distributions such as Red Hat and Suse, the move by the Taiwanese companies allows developers to create versions of their drivers for any Linux system.

"The Linux community is growing strongly in today's technology market. To incorporate the newest Linux developments with XGI's graphics innovations, we have decided to open our source code for Linux," said Derek Lin, vice president of software at XGI.

XGI released the driver source code for its graphics chips on Linux community websites X.org, XFree86.org and Kernel.org on Monday, to be followed a day later by Via releasing the source code for its S3 Graphics UniChrome family of drivers.

Representatives from both companies said they decided to release the code in part due to requests from Linux users.