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Android AOSP Leader Quits Over Binary GPU Drivers

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  • Android AOSP Leader Quits Over Binary GPU Drivers

    Phoronix: Android AOSP Leader Quits Over Binary GPU Drivers

    Google's maintainer of the Android Open-Source Project (AOSP), has quit the project out of being frustrated with the lack of open-source ARM GPU drivers. In particular, Google's flagship devices not working with the Android open-source project over no vendor-backed open-source graphics drivers...

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

  • #2
    Somebody's going to have to explain this one to me...

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    • #3
      I'm not a developer so I may be wrong here, but I though the worst thing about android is that it requires a custom kernel to support every single device. It must be frustrating to maintain an entire stack that talks to hundreds or thousends of shitty vendor hacked and buggy kernels. Google will surely have to sort this mess some time right? Maybe with ARMv8?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Figueiredo View Post
        I'm not a developer so I may be wrong here, but I though the worst thing about android is that it requires a custom kernel to support every single device. It must be frustrating to maintain an entire stack that talks to hundreds or thousends of shitty vendor hacked and buggy kernels. Google will surely have to sort this mess some time right? Maybe with ARMv8?
        This is not an Android problem, it is a general problem with ARM platforms. There is little to no standardization of low-level peripherals, for hardware discovery, booting, and so on. Which means that every device must use specific kernels with exactly the right drivers and right board configuration baked in.

        I'm pretty sure that Microsoft is only using Qualcomm SoCs on Windows Phones for that reason, too.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by johnc View Post
          Somebody's going to have to explain this one to me...
          Lack of open source drivers on ARM means the idea of the "Android Open Source Project" (AOSP) is basically worthless because you cant do ANYTHING with the AOSP because the Systems-On-A-Chip (SoC) require closed-source-only drivers. The project maintainer finally got so fed up with it that he said "SCREW IT!" and quit.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ericg View Post
            Lack of open source drivers on ARM means the idea of the "Android Open Source Project" (AOSP) is basically worthless because you cant do ANYTHING with the AOSP because the Systems-On-A-Chip (SoC) require closed-source-only drivers. The project maintainer finally got so fed up with it that he said "SCREW IT!" and quit.
            Is the purpose of the AOSP to have every line of executing code open source, or is it just about the Android-specific code? Because I don't know of there ever being any GPU drivers that are open source... so to throw one's hands in the air now would seem to indicate that something has changed.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by brent View Post
              This is not an Android problem, it is a general problem with ARM platforms. There is little to no standardization of low-level peripherals, for hardware discovery, booting, and so on. Which means that every device must use specific kernels with exactly the right drivers and right board configuration baked in.

              I'm pretty sure that Microsoft is only using Qualcomm SoCs on Windows Phones for that reason, too.
              Microsoft is using intel too is it not?

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              • #8
                Article gets it wrong

                Apparently, Qualcomm didn't allow Google to release *the binaries* for their Adreno GPU used in the 2013 N7 on AOSP. All the other venders do. Every Nexus device uses proprietary firmware. When the N4 was new Qualcomm also made problems. They were resolved and JBQ posted the firmware files for the N4. Now he worked for 6 months to ensure that the new N7 gets the same treatment but Qualcomm again made problems. That's the issue. It hasn't really anything to do with open source drivers. Those would certainly violate Qualcomms rights in some way so they could block it either way.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by phoronix View Post
                  Phoronix: Android AOSP Leader Quits Over Binary GPU Drivers

                  Google's maintainer of the Android Open-Source Project (AOSP), has quit the project out of being frustrated with the lack of open-source ARM GPU drivers. In particular, Google's flagship devices not working with the Android open-source project over no vendor-backed open-source graphics drivers...

                  http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTQzMDc
                  He didn't quit because Qualcomm wouldn't open up its drivers. He quitted because Qualcomm wouldn't allow Google to publish factory images and binaries for the new nexus 7. He said there's no point of being the maintainer of an OS that can't boot a device for lack of a GPU driver (I'm paraphrasing). I guess he would love to have open source code for GPUs in AOSP (who wouldn't) but it seems to me he is frustrated because he is unable to test AOSP builds in a Nexus device.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tech05 View Post
                    Apparently, Qualcomm didn't allow Google to release *the binaries* for their Adreno GPU used in the 2013 N7 on AOSP. All the other venders do. Every Nexus device uses proprietary firmware. When the N4 was new Qualcomm also made problems. They were resolved and JBQ posted the firmware files for the N4. Now he worked for 6 months to ensure that the new N7 gets the same treatment but Qualcomm again made problems. That's the issue. It hasn't really anything to do with open source drivers. Those would certainly violate Qualcomms rights in some way so they could block it either way.
                    That makes more sense. Can't he log into the device and copy the drivers out? It's pretty sad Qualcomm won't let the binaries be posted in the tree. Qualcomm seems pretty chum with Microsoft though.

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