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There Might Be An Open PowerVR Driver In Q3'11

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  • There Might Be An Open PowerVR Driver In Q3'11

    Phoronix: There Might Be An Open PowerVR Driver In Q3'11

    If the PR representative I just spoke with at CES actually knows what she's talking about when it comes to Linux, in the third quarter of this year there may be an open-source PowerVR driver for Linux...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=ODk4Ng

  • #2
    It would be soo awesome if this were for the MBX as well... as the SGX parts we'll see :-)

    Sure would be nice to have a real open source driver on the n800 as well as the pandora and many other devices that use Imanination Technologies' IP.

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    • #3
      Thanks for bugging people about Linux!

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      • #4
        Be more specific

        Michael, could you please be more specific in your articles about which PowerVR you're talking about? Talking about PowerVRs without being more specific is no better than doing the same for Radeons. My Sega Dreamcast has a PowerVR graphics card, and I am almost positive that you are not referring to that particular model.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Plombo View Post
          Michael, could you please be more specific in your articles about which PowerVR you're talking about? Talking about PowerVRs without being more specific is no better than doing the same for Radeons. My Sega Dreamcast has a PowerVR graphics card, and I am almost positive that you are not referring to that particular model.
          Well probably not that particular model but ... It would be nice if they would. The n800 developers and users have made it quite clear they want a working driver which is next to impossible with the binary driver.

          Even if a driver release didn't document older hardware it would probably give some insite into thier workings as older ideas were probably carried forward in newer designs.

          Its not like micheal is doing the code release anyway LOL.

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          • #6
            2.6.40. Maybe its about time the kernel went to 2.7

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            • #7
              Originally posted by cb88 View Post
              Even if a driver release didn't document older hardware it would probably give some insite into thier workings as older ideas were probably carried forward in newer designs.
              Well, the Dreamcast PVR has been almost completely figured out over the years. KallistiOS has a fully functional homebrew driver for it. But there are still no Linux drivers as far as I know.

              Originally posted by cb88 View Post
              Its not like micheal is doing the code release anyway LOL.
              That's true...

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              • #8
                Well, I believe this when I see it. I talked with a lot of people on exhibitions, developers as well as marketing clowns (sorry but they are clowns) and they had high soaring plans for everything but in the end there was nothing.
                We'll see. If it happens fine, if not then I am at least not disappointed.

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                • #9
                  They are aware that their clients aren't happy with the closed-source situation (especially big players such as found at Linaro), and are afraid of loosing them. So they promise something for 2012 (that's what a marketing droid means by "third quarter of 2011").
                  Rest assured that they won't do it unless really pressured by big clients (end-users don't count), like Broadcom has been.

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                  • #10
                    I don't understand the current relation betwwen PowerVR and Linux. I mean back at 2.4 kernel series they had a future rich and good Linux driver for their Kyro and KyroII chipsets. I had such a card myself and know first hand. So I mean if they had the motivation and especially the knowledge for such a driver, why now is worse even than VIA?

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                    • #11
                      This is no doubt being pushed from all angles against powervr.

                      1) Intel GMA500 == powervr SGX535.
                      (major hate on intel over this...)

                      2) Samsung/Google Nexus S = powervr SGX535.
                      (also a whole lot more mobile phones.... but this is the closest to open source thus far...)


                      Imagine being powervr and licensing out your hardware to a whole bunch of organizations that mostly want open source. Not a lot they can do to hold it back.

                      Aside from the GPU, the other remaining closed blobs on the nS are the RIL, GPS, and some stupid orientation sensors. The RIL is the only thing that will definitely never be opened.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
                        This is no doubt being pushed from all angles against powervr.

                        1) Intel GMA500 == powervr SGX535.
                        (major hate on intel over this...)

                        2) Samsung/Google Nexus S = powervr SGX535.
                        (also a whole lot more mobile phones.... but this is the closest to open source thus far...)


                        Imagine being powervr and licensing out your hardware to a whole bunch of organizations that mostly want open source. Not a lot they can do to hold it back.

                        Aside from the GPU, the other remaining closed blobs on the nS are the RIL, GPS, and some stupid orientation sensors. The RIL is the only thing that will definitely never be opened.
                        Pretty much everything ARM shipping today, well, those SOCs with 3d graphics, except for snapdragons (remember AMD buying ATI, and selling off the imageon to qualcomm?), is pvr. This makes the numbers astronomical, especially compared to PC market. Luckily ARM is coming with the mali and nvidia is coming with something too (the latter will of course never be free).

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                        • #13
                          I think the closest to open source is the N900, and it has a powervr SGC530. Those people would do a damn good thing if they released their driver under GPL.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Xavier View Post
                            I think the closest to open source is the N900, and it has a powervr SGC530. Those people would do a damn good thing if they released their driver under GPL.
                            Sadly, currently, the owner of the powervr, imagination technologies, only GPLs the kernel part, in accordance with the GPL. This part is mostly a conduit for userspace, with some stream management and checking in place.

                            I am sure that the userspace part (with not only a management part, but also, for instance, full opengles stacks), as it exists today, cannot be open sourced, even if imagination technologies would want to (which it currently doesn't).

                            This situation has not changed much since the n900 was released, even though there are quite a few very good people at nokia working on X, display and graphics drivers for meego/maemo.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Apopas View Post
                              I don't understand the current relation betwwen PowerVR and Linux. I mean back at 2.4 kernel series they had a future rich and good Linux driver for their Kyro and KyroII chipsets. I had such a card myself and know first hand. So I mean if they had the motivation and especially the knowledge for such a driver, why now is worse even than VIA?
                              They have a rich and capable driver right now. It's just that it's only really on the ARM SoC's that use MBX/SGX parts. Look at any Android that uses an OMAP3 (such as the Droid...)- it has the OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0 driver for the SGX on it. Look at the Pandora handheld...ditto.

                              It's just that it's clumsy to integrate and it's got all sorts of silly restrictions on it's bundling and use that it's a pain beyond words for people to rely upon it. Imagination's been running this like they're used to previously- which has been a bunch of highly secretive OS and device vendors. (Not to mention that the Kyro driver was more STMicro's doing than ImgTecs... )

                              If they were to Open their drivers, it'd be a Coup on our part- and maybe the start of an opening in the ARM arena where it needs to be. I'd like to see SGX, MALI, and whatever Qualcomm's calling the Imageon now show up with FOSS drivers. It'd make Atom and ARM stuff finally clean for Linux- and Linux is where these platforms are shining right now.

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