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Raspberry Pi VideoCore driver code released

Raspberry Pi VideoCore driver code released

Posted Oct 24, 2012 20:58 UTC (Wed) by robclark (subscriber, #74945)
In reply to: Raspberry Pi VideoCore driver code released by GhePeU
Parent article: Raspberry Pi VideoCore driver code released

Yeah, what BCOM has done should be enough to enable the community to add support for different window systems, and that sort of thing. So it is certainly better than nothing, and certainly better than what what the other embedded GPU vendors have done so far. But not as much as their PR would lead you to believe.

I think the progress on open drivers for mali and adreno, and what is starting to happen on tegra, is a lot more interesting and more beneficial for the community in the long run :-P


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Raspberry Pi VideoCore driver code released

Posted Oct 24, 2012 21:27 UTC (Wed) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

> I think the progress on open drivers for mali and adreno, and what is starting to happen on tegra, is a lot more interesting and more beneficial for the community in the long run :-P

Hard to say.

On the one hand, a reverse engineered driver with access to low-level functions gives you a huge amount of capabilities with that system

On the other hand, having the Vendor directly open up the driver, even if there are only high-level functions available to the GPU is likely to mean that future GPUs from this Vendor will ship with similarly open drivers and not need reverse engineering to function.

Which is better?? hard to say. In many ways, having the Vendor loosen their grip on a part of the stack is much better than having reverse engineered drivers, even if those drivers give you more capabilities.

Raspberry Pi VideoCore driver code released

Posted Oct 25, 2012 7:51 UTC (Thu) by nhippi (subscriber, #34640) [Link]

> Yeah, what BCOM has done should be enough to enable the community to add support for different window systems

What BCOM has now done, allows community to keep maintaining code regardless of how the kernel/X abi's change over time. Compare it with OMAP and PowerVR, once TI stops supporting beagleboard/beaglebone/pandaboard, community is stuck with the X and kernel's that remain compatible with last binary release of PowerVR drivers.

Community still can't fix any bugs in the BCOM firmware side or add new gl extensions - which can become a problem if new versions of X/wayland/whatever need a new extension.

But it is a step in the right direction.

> I think the progress on open drivers for mali and adreno, and what is starting to happen on tegra, is a lot more interesting and more beneficial for the community in the long run :-P

What worries me is the long run might take too long. Once mali400 and adreno support starts to work, SoC vendors may already have migrated to newer GPU designs.

Raspberry Pi VideoCore driver code released

Posted Oct 25, 2012 13:05 UTC (Thu) by robclark (subscriber, #74945) [Link]

yup, what BCOM has done is an improvement over what any of the other ARM GPU vendors have done so far. I'm certainly not criticising that. But it amounts to an open source EGL plus a GL shim, not a GL driver.

Perhaps the line is blurry about when a firmware is just "some microcode" and when it is a driver. In this case, the "some microcode" on r-pi runs threadx, it includes the shader compiler, and basically all the GL APIs map 1:1. This is most certainly not just "some microcode". Since, afaiu, the display hw is also controlled by the videocore cpu/coproc, you could probably port some gles apps and run them directly on the coproc, if you had the src to that "some microcode". So the line may be blurry, but the r-pi is so far past that line that it doesn't really matter.

So I'm not criticising what was released.. I'm only criticising that it was called an open source driver, when it clearly was not.

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As far as the open source drivers keeping up w/ new generations of hw.. well, it is true to some degree. But there has already been a huge amount of progress in the last year or less. Of course if it is always based on r/e products that are already released then we'll always be a bit behind. I would hope that eventually we can get to the point where some GPU vendors start working with the open source community, releasing specs, etc, like AMD and intel do in the desktop world.

At least on the plus side, we don't have the huge reclocking complications like there is on desktop GPUs. For the ARM embedded GPUs all the clock control is in the open src kernel drivers. (Well, maybe not the case for r-pi, but at least for all the mainstream embedded GPUs.)


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