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

Why Canonical Is Using Android Drivers For Ubuntu Mir

X.Org

Published on 08 April 2013 09:33 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org
33 Comments

With Canonical's Mir Display Server for future releases of Ubuntu Linux, they are supporting Android's graphics layer and drivers rather than inventing their own solution, trying to push X.Org drivers, or demanding mobile graphics drivers modelled after the desktop Linux graphics stack. Why did they do this? Here's an explanation.

Kevin DuBois of Canonical, one of the developers working on Mir, has written about Mir and Android GPUs. In his post he covers the Android graphics driver components and their level of openness. For those not up to speed on the Android display stack, it's a bit similar to Linux in coming down to a kernel driver, a kernel-to-user-space library / HAL, and the user-space OpenGL ES / EGL library. These generally aren't DRM, libdrm, and Mesa components, respectively. The drivers on Android generally aren't open-source but the important areas are covered by liberally-licensed header files.

The reasons they are piggy-backing on top of Android GPU drivers is reportedly for stability, performance, and power. With all of these hardware drivers already being out there and working on Android and in compliance with an industry API, they don't need to come up with their own HAL or have all of the mobile hardware vendors support a new API.

DuBois writes, "With this, we pick up a lot of the goodness that comes with out-of-the box Android drivers, like great power management, performance, and stability. Mir can use android drivers as they come from the driver vendor, and we’re using them in a well-known way. Drivers and hardware support are the foundation of a well performing, amazing computing experience. With Mir and Ubuntu Next, we’re not building our house upon sand, we’re building it upon rock!"

Last week on Phoronix I posted a video of Unity Next running on Mir from a Google Nexus 4, also highlighted by Kevin's post today.

Aside from Mir supporting the Android GPU drivers, on the desktop side it will also work with the standard open-source Linux graphics drivers with EGL and Mesa. The Mesa support for Mir, however, has yet to be merged. NVIDIA and AMD are also working in the direction of supporting Mir by their proprietary Linux graphics drivers, but there's nothing new on that front to report at this time.

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. Trying The Configurable 45 Watt TDP With AMD's A10-7800 / A6-7400K
  2. Sumo's Omni Gets Reloaded
  3. AMD A10-7800 & A6-7400K APUs Run Great On Linux
  4. Radeon Gallium3D Is Running Increasingly Well Against AMD's Catalyst Driver
Latest Linux Articles
  1. Intel Sandy Bridge Gets A Surprise Boost From Linux 3.17
  2. Open-Source Radeon Graphics Have Some Improvements On Linux 3.17
  3. CPUFreq Scaling Tests With AMD's Kaveri On Linux 3.16
  4. Enabling HyperZ Is Still An Easy Way For Faster RadeonSI Performance
Latest Linux News
  1. NVIDIA Releases CUDA 6.5 As A Huge Update
  2. GNOME 3.14 Beta Makes GLSL Optional, Supports Wayland Gesture/Touch Events
  3. KDE Software Compilation 4.14 Released
  4. The Many Things You Can Build With A Raspberry Pi
  5. AMD's Catalyst Linux Driver Preparing For A World Without An X Server?
  6. Khronos Publishes Its Slides About OpenGL-Next
  7. Proposed: A Tainted Performance State For The Linux Kernel
  8. Systemd 216 Piles On More Features, Aims For New User-Space VT
  9. LXQt 0.8 Is Being Released Soon
  10. Linux 3.17 Lands Memfd, A KDBUS Prerequisite
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Remote gui not accessible in Phoronix Test Suite 5.2
  2. The dangers of Linux kernel development
  3. Dead Island for Linux (?)
  4. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  5. AMD Offers Mantle For OpenGL-Next, Pushes Mantle To Workstations
  6. Next-Gen OpenGL To Be Announced Next Month
  7. OpenGL 4.5 Released With New Features
  8. Updated graphics drivers for Ubuntu 12.04 Precise LTS