1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

Open-Source ARM Mali Graphics Driver Achieves...

Hardware

Published on 12 April 2012 10:48 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware
4 Comments

The open-source ARM Mali graphics driver, known as the the Lima project, has achieved a major milestone.

Since delivering the exclusive news of the Lima project as an open-source reverse-engineered ARM Mali graphics driver for Linux back in January, there hasn't been too much else to report on about this driver that's still early in its development life. This driver is called Lima since it doesn't have the official blessing of ARM Holdings and right now has been only running simple demos with Limare. The code is available and is running on the KDE Plasma Active Tablet as was talked about and shown at FOSDEM 2012.

Fortunately this morning I've heard some news from the Lima developers about hitting a major milestone. Joining Luc Verhaegen, the lead developer of the Lima project, have been Ben Brewer (another employee of Codethink) and Connor Abbot have been the latest developers joining the Belgian on this open-source driver project.

What these developers have now achieved is being able to decode the instruction set encoding for the fragment (pixel) shader unit of the ARM Mali graphics core. After reverse-engineering this, they've written tools to allow the code to be assembled and disassembled, including being able to pack the instruction data into ARM's shader binary format. With this, the assembled binaries can then be loaded in a clean manner by the official (closed-source) ARM Mali Linux graphics driver. The vertex shader unit is still being deciphered but is nearing a successful point too. It took about one month to decipher Mali's fragment shader.

Ben Brewer mentioned to me that when they have more of the command stream deciphered that they should then be able to implement OpenGL ES 2.0 and OpenCL drivers for this ARM chipset.

These new Lima driver tools can be found on Gitorious while they've also written documentation on the Lima assembler, Lima ISA (instruction set architecture), MBS format, and offline shader compiler.

Luc Verhaegen wrote to Phoronix, "When we started with lima a year ago, it was clear that we needed to split the job up in logical parts: the infrastructure and the shaders. Once the initial infrastructure was out, the work on the shaders could start in earnest. It was amazing to see Connor and Ben piece together everything from just the compiler output at such speed. Now we have the fragment assembler and they are working on the vertex shaders. I love it when a plan comes together. ;)"

Unrelated to this driver, coming up this week still is some really good open-source GPU driver news.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. Btrfs On 4 x Intel SSDs In RAID 0/1/5/6/10
  2. AMD Radeon R9 290 On Ubuntu 14.10: RadeonSI Gallium3D vs. Catalyst
  3. MSI X99S SLI PLUS On Linux
  4. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 Offers Great Linux Performance
Latest Linux Articles
  1. Windows 8.1 vs. Ubuntu 14.10 With Intel HD Graphics
  2. 6-Way Ubuntu 14.10 Radeon Gallium3D vs. Catalyst Driver Comparison
  3. NVIDIA vs. Nouveau Drivers On Ubuntu 14.10
  4. Ubuntu 14.10 Offers AMD Radeon Driver Performance Improvements
Latest Linux News
  1. SIMD For JavaScript Continues Coming Along
  2. GNOME 3.15.1 Released
  3. Red Hat Software Collections 1.2 Adds GCC 4.9, Nginx 1.6
  4. GLAMOR Acceleration Continues To Be Cleaned Up
  5. Russia's Yandex Web Browser Finally Released For Linux
  6. Linux Kernel Finally Being Optimized For SSHDs
  7. GPU Profiling Support Lands In Mozilla Firefox
  8. Kubuntu 15.04 Will Use KDE's Plasma 5 By Default
  9. KDBUS Submitted For Review To The Mainline Linux Kernel
  10. An Intel-Based Ubuntu Touch Tablet Is Planning To Launch Soon
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Is foolish currently develop in machine code, hexadecimal and assembly?
  2. How to get rid of Linux
  3. Reducing The CPU Usage In Mesa To Improve Performance
  4. Help diagnosing problems with a Readon HD 4670 on Mesa 10.3.2-1
  5. Advertisements On Phoronix
  6. nv and xorg.conf under Debian PPC
  7. Looking for a Open-Source AMD experienced Linux mentor
  8. Bad perfomance in gaming