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ARM MPD Still Not Doing Open Drivers; ARM Vendors Hiding Behind Linaro

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  • ARM MPD Still Not Doing Open Drivers; ARM Vendors Hiding Behind Linaro

    Phoronix: ARM MPD Still Not Doing Open Drivers; ARM Vendors Hiding Behind Linaro

    Luc Verhaegen is out with another insightful blog post about ARM's "Midgard" architecture, ARM MPD still being rather closed-up, cites a recent Q/A about ARM's Jem Davies commenting on Linux drivers, and how ARM vendors hide behind Linaro...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTc0MjY

  • #2
    Okay, but what is MPD? In this context I'm assuming it's not the Music Player Daemon...

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Imroy View Post
      Okay, but what is MPD? In this context I'm assuming it's not the Music Player Daemon...
      From the blog post:
      ARM MPD, ARMs Media Processing Department, the part of ARM that develops the Mali and display and video engines

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Imroy View Post
        Okay, but what is MPD? In this context I'm assuming it's not the Music Player Daemon...
        In the blog post, first paragraph, libv says "Media Processing Department". I suppose it's their name for 'GPU team'.

        Comment


        • #5
          I think AMD has a big opportunity here to join the mobile market with their GPUs that already have open source drivers, and either x86 or ARM SoCs...

          IMO, as a non-dev, simple user, ARM itself is a big, closed mess, and it would be awesome to have open source (although non-free) GPU drivers (+ video decoding) in the smartphone/"mini-pc" world. I've wanted to do many things with these tiny SoCs, but the closedness makes it not worth. I also don't see how that is changing.

          And thanks to libv for calling them on their hypocrisy about their code being "open source"...

          Comment


          • #6
            This is really valuable information. Now I'm so happy that I didn't buy an A20 based board.
            So which ARM vendor is the most open about their GPU (and has the best FOSS graphics drivers) today?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rrohbeck View Post
              So which ARM vendor is the most open about their GPU (and has the best FOSS graphics drivers) today?
              I was about to ask something similar, but only the GPU isn't enough. The answer to the above is probably Qualcomm's Adreno due to Freedreno, but from what I've gathered Qualcomm uses an incredible amount of proprietary bits in the kernel, including things like modem that happens to have access to much of the entire system, that makes it unworkable. They also don't release any specs whatsoever, even the most basic ones. So while the GPU state is nice, everything else is a mess.

              So my question would be which ARM SoC is the most FOSS-friendly overall. Looking at the alternatives, I think it would probably be Samsung Exynos at this point, or NVIDIA Tegra (albeit I don't know how may proprietary bits besides the GPU that one uses). Broadcom open-sourced VideoCore code for the Raspberry Pi hardware, but that's a single device and already very old and weak. I haven't heard much either way about NovaThor, but they did use to use PowerVR graphics, so probably not that good either.

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              • #8
                Intel. But Intel do not have any ARM hardware right now.
                But if You can find Intel hw that ship intel iGPU then You are golden.

                After that Broadcom. They did release much stuff. BUT only for RPi generation of hardware.
                They have newer gen hw, which is completely closed.

                AMD when they finaly enter ARM/mobile market.

                After that?

                There are few OEMs who are ready to ship freedreno and other FLOSS drivers.

                And that is it.

                There is quite literary no big push from classic "embeded" for FLOSS drivers.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by GreatEmerald View Post
                  I was about to ask something similar, but only the GPU isn't enough. The answer to the above is probably Qualcomm's Adreno due to Freedreno, but from what I've gathered Qualcomm uses an incredible amount of proprietary bits in the kernel, including things like modem that happens to have access to much of the entire system, that makes it unworkable. They also don't release any specs whatsoever, even the most basic ones. So while the GPU state is nice, everything else is a mess.
                  Qcom is a bit difficult in some ways, but I'm not aware of any closed kernel part. There are some closed fw parts needed for bootloader. It isn't really that much different from, for example, omap HS device (ie. what you found in phones/tablets). Even stuff like video enc/dec has open src userspace. And I am starting to get patches from qcom for drm/msm. It's early days, but they seem to be trying to do the right thing.

                  I do wish they had an non-NDA TRM available. If you buy a dragonboard/ifc6410/etc, there are apparently docs available, but with EULA terms that scare me off. Maybe less of a problem for someone not writing an open src gl driver for their hw..

                  Originally posted by GreatEmerald View Post
                  So my question would be which ARM SoC is the most FOSS-friendly overall. Looking at the alternatives, I think it would probably be Samsung Exynos at this point, or NVIDIA Tegra (albeit I don't know how may proprietary bits besides the GPU that one uses). Broadcom open-sourced VideoCore code for the Raspberry Pi hardware, but that's a single device and already very old and weak. I haven't heard much either way about NovaThor, but they did use to use PowerVR graphics, so probably not that good either.
                  If you care about gpu, then cross exynos off the list. Although feel free to write a letter to whoever you would have bought an exynos board from explaining that you are purchasing a different board so you can have open graphics drivers. Some indirect pressure on arm via samsung would be useful.

                  The new nvidia stuff benefits from nouveau, and on the mobile side of things nvidia seems to be playing nicely with the community. Broadcom still has some parts (at least for what is in the current r-pi) which are abnoxiously closed.. but hopefully if they move to a more sane system architecture in future devices, those bits will kinda go away. Etnaviv is pretty far along, so I think anything with (for example) freescale iMX6 would be a good choice.

                  I do wish more folks in the community would vote with their wallets, at least when it comes to community boards. Today, I think that list would be (in no particular order): bcom (r-pi), qcom (ifc6410, etc), tegra (jetson), and anything with vivante (iMX6 can run upstream kernel.. so utilite or cubox-i).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by robclark View Post
                    Qcom is a bit difficult in some ways, but I'm not aware of any closed kernel part. There are some closed fw parts needed for bootloader. It isn't really that much different from, for example, omap HS device (ie. what you found in phones/tablets). Even stuff like video enc/dec has open src userspace. And I am starting to get patches from qcom for drm/msm. It's early days, but they seem to be trying to do the right thing.

                    I do wish they had an non-NDA TRM available. If you buy a dragonboard/ifc6410/etc, there are apparently docs available, but with EULA terms that scare me off. Maybe less of a problem for someone not writing an open src gl driver for their hw..
                    Replicant folks are quite clear on why Qualcomm is bad: http://redmine.replicant.us/projects...ndroid-devices (see Nexus 4 entry)

                    As for Exynos, they used to use PowerVR graphics, but they are now largely using ARMali. As mentioned by libv, it's not the best thing ever, but at least Lima exists and they don't have quite as many proprietary blobs for the other parts.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by GreatEmerald View Post
                      Replicant folks are quite clear on why Qualcomm is bad: http://redmine.replicant.us/projects...ndroid-devices (see Nexus 4 entry)
                      well, considering that apq8064 is a variant that does not have an integrated modem, that page is mistaken.

                      I can state that I have several apq8064 devices, including a nexus4, all of which work fine with a linux userspace with no closed src kernel or userspace parts.

                      Originally posted by GreatEmerald View Post
                      As for Exynos, they used to use PowerVR graphics, but they are now largely using ARMali. As mentioned by libv, it's not the best thing ever, but at least Lima exists and they don't have quite as many proprietary blobs for the other parts.
                      true, when lima actually becomes a GL driver, I would recommend exynos devices with mali (but not ones with powervr). Until then, it is not terribly much use to anyone who isn't working on a FOSS GL driver.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by robclark View Post
                        well, considering that apq8064 is a variant that does not have an integrated modem, that page is mistaken.

                        I can state that I have several apq8064 devices, including a nexus4, all of which work fine with a linux userspace with no closed src kernel or userspace parts.



                        true, when lima actually becomes a GL driver, I would recommend exynos devices with mali (but not ones with powervr). Until then, it is not terribly much use to anyone who isn't working on a FOSS GL driver.
                        Rob have you checked if the jolla phone can work without closed bits??

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 89c51 View Post
                          Rob have you checked if the jolla phone can work without closed bits??
                          I haven't.. although I expect it can..

                          making a phone call might be another matter.. no idea what modem it has. Although I thought people tended to hook up modems w/ something like AT over some sort of serial connection.. maybe it is just a matter of sending some AT commands to it, like in the old days of dial-up internet? But I am really not a modem/telephony person so I could be way off.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by robclark View Post
                            I haven't.. although I expect it can..

                            making a phone call might be another matter.. no idea what modem it has. Although I thought people tended to hook up modems w/ something like AT over some sort of serial connection.. maybe it is just a matter of sending some AT commands to it, like in the old days of dial-up internet? But I am really not a modem/telephony person so I could be way off.
                            The specs: http://reviewjolla.blogspot.gr/2013/...periences.html

                            The GPU is Adreno 305.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 89c51 View Post
                              I don't expect gpu should be a problem.. from what I've seen so far, all that really matters for userspace gl driver (of all the a3xx variants) is just the patchlevel. Ie. a320.0 is same as a330.0 but slight differences (basically, certain workarounds no longer needed) compared to a320.2.

                              I expect all that would be needed in mesa is a one line patch to add it to the whitelist. I just need someone with a305 hw who can test and confirm that, since I don't have anything w/ a305.

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