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Why Canonical Is Using Android Drivers For Ubuntu Mir

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  • #11
    Originally posted by phoronix View Post
    Phoronix: Why Canonical Is Using Android Drivers For Ubuntu Mir

    With Canonical's Mir Display Server for future releases of Ubuntu Linux, they are supporting Android's graphics layer and drivers rather than inventing their own solution.... Why did they do this?

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTM0NjQ
    That article is a pretty long explanation of a simple reason: Mobile drivers are much more often than not closed source, especially GPU drivers. Canonical seems to try to come up with all kinds of technical reasons like "good power management" and "rock solid" and blabla, but the truth is, they simply just didn't have any other choice.

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    • #12
      Canonical using other people's code. Colour me shocked.

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      • #13
        Binary drivers = fixed kernel version

        Originally posted by ultimA View Post
        That article is a pretty long explanation of a simple reason: Mobile drivers are much more often than not closed source, especially GPU drivers. Canonical seems to try to come up with all kinds of technical reasons like "good power management" and "rock solid" and blabla, but the truth is, they simply just didn't have any other choice.
        There's a big downside on relying on binary driver: more often than not you'll be stuck with a fixed kernel version, and you'll not be able to upgrade. Android Jelly Bean, which is the latest public Android release and is installed in roughly 25% of the devices (http://developer.android.com/about/d...rds/index.html) is generally using kernel 3.0, 3.2, or at maximum 3.4. But 3.9 is just out of the door.
        And you have no guarantee that your device manufacturer will upgrade your phone software to the latest version.
        So, no Canonical, I'm not interested in another Poulsbo mess.

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        • #14
          Given the quality of Android gpu drivers, they are definitely not building their house on rock.

          It's more like building on glass. Sit down too hard and the entire thing collapses.

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          • #15
            they are using android driver because if they didn't NO ONE

            NO FUCKING ONE

            would bother rooting nexus tablets or smartphones or whatever to put ubuntu on that shit


            are you still waiting for some vendor to sell ubuntu phones/tablets?? DONT MAKE ME LOL

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            • #16
              Originally posted by curaga View Post
              Given the quality of Android gpu drivers, they are definitely not building their house on rock.
              That was the first thing that came to my mind... everything that Canonical developers seem to put out is marketing, marketing and marketing. Android drivers are written for particular chip as fast as possible and then forgotten because the next chip is already in developement. Quality is not something I would associate with Android drivers. I have gotten the impression that most ARM drivers overall that have been open sourced have been pure garbage at first too.

              If Canonical, like Samsung with Tizen, Nokia with Maemo/MeeGo, Jolla with Sailfish... made hardware or had proper hardware partners they wouldn't need to rely on the Android stack. Ubuntu Touch seem like a mix of Android and GNU/Linux that have been duct taped together as fast as possible (by writing something as major as display server from scratch in matter of months, using libhybris and so on and so forth).

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              • #17
                Thanks so very much, canonical, for your continued support of our cause, and for making this line in the sand for open ARM GPU drivers.

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                • #18
                  Originally posted by pdffs View Post
                  [...] but Ubuntu's NIH syndrome still disgusts me. [...]
                  Why is it NIH if they reuse the android drivers? Isn't that like the antithesis of NIH?

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                  • #19
                    Originally posted by panda84 View Post
                    There's a big downside on relying on binary driver: more often than not you'll be stuck with a fixed kernel version, and you'll not be able to upgrade. Android Jelly Bean, which is the latest public Android release and is installed in roughly 25% of the devices (http://developer.android.com/about/d...rds/index.html) is generally using kernel 3.0, 3.2, or at maximum 3.4. But 3.9 is just out of the door.
                    And you have no guarantee that your device manufacturer will upgrade your phone software to the latest version.
                    So, no Canonical, I'm not interested in another Poulsbo mess.
                    Actually, the need for newer GPU drivers with each Android upgrade has more to do with Android's increasing utilization of the GPU than with the kernel version. Quite frankly, we are using the same GPU drivers across several different kernel versions with perfect compatibility, this is because the glue is open source.

                    Also, the reference hardware for Android 4.2 is the LG Mako (nexus 4), running a qualcomm snapdragon, which is (as snapdragon's always are) paired up with an Adreno (aka RADEON -more or less) GPU. You may not be aware, but this is the ONLY mobile GPU that can run on *fully* open source drivers, although others are following. Other GPUs have a much steeper hill to climb, since they don't share nearly as much with any desktop chips running open source drivers -- except maybe tegra sharing a bit with desktop nvidia, maybe nouveau will be helpful? No documentation, unfortunately. Anyhow, my Samsung Relay sitting in my pocket right this moment, is running a 3.0 kernel, along with Adreno drivers pulled from LG Mako, which shipped running 3.4 kernel.

                    Now for canonical... they're using Android drivers, because they're running Android, more or less. And nobody, of course, takes them at all seriously.

                    As for poulsbo mess... unless you run a powervr GPU, you won't be running into that. The four big mobile gpu's are Adreno, Mali, tegra, and powervr.... ordered from most functional open source to least. Keep left.

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                    • #20
                      I actually see Canonical's move as a smart one, look how many years it took for the linux kernel to have some decent video drivers shipped by mainstream hardware vendors.

                      I think this will actually even help ubuntu and other distros that adopt Mir (if any) on the desktop side. Lets take for example the raspberry pi. It has a mali 400 quad core video chip, now imagine running the desktop environment with hardware accelerated graphics, everything would run faster.

                      If things go well, we will have an era where replacing typical x86/x64 desktops with low power arm counterparts would be much easier. Take a look at the odroid-u2: http://www.hardkernel.com/renewal_20...=G135341370451 that piece of hardware runs ubuntu smoothly, consumes little power, small and powerful. Now imaging the possibilities if we could use existing android drivers, you could take any cellphone and convert it to a desktop pc with good performance running a full fledge linux software stack.

                      We shouldn't be haters or fanboys but take a look at things with an open mind (even if the drivers source code isn't open).

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