The Open-Source Snapdragon Driver Wasn't Killed
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 30 May 2012 at 10:52 AM EDT. 4 Comments
Back in April I wrote about an open-source graphics driver for Qualcomm's Snapdragon. This reverse-engineered driver project was actually started by an employee of Texas Instruments -- a competitor to Qualcomm -- but was being done since it was some of the only ARM hardware out there where the developer wasn't tainted by NDAs. Since Phoronix delivered the announcement of this Snapdragon GPU driver, there hasn't been much news to report.

Did Texas Instruments tell the developer to halt work on this driver he was writing in his spare time? Did Linaro have issues with it? (Rob Clark is a TI employee that also contributes to Linaro.) Did Qualcomm try to pick him up?

The Freedreno Git repository (on Gitorious.org) is still alive and well. There's even been some Freedreno commits from time to time (this is the name of the project). The latest commit at the time of publishing was one done on 20 May and previous to that there were a few at the beginning of May, but not many.

The official response that Rob Clark provided me with about the state of the reverse-engineered open-source driver for TI's competitor was:
hey.. slowly but surely making progress.. mainly been looking at the 3d side of things. Have been travelling for last couple weeks (and in hong kong this week for linaro connect) so hasn't been as much progress. I have started a 'fdre' branch where I'm starting to write code along the lines of limare to drive the GPU, although it is still a ways from having something enough to make any announcement. But once I get back home I should start having some more time to spend on it.
So Freedreno appears to still be happening, just not at a blistering pace. Though the open-source ARM Mali driver is also moving slowly (an update from last weekend). I've heard from others that Texas Instruments apparently isn't too happy about the whole situation, but alas it appears he's still free to work on this code in his limited spare time.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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