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. ROCCAT LUA: A Linux-Friendly Gaming Mouse
  2. Cheetah Mounts: The Affordable Way To Put Your TV On The Wall
  3. Scythe Mugen MAX
  4. Intel Core i7 5960X Haswell-E On Linux
Latest Linux Articles
  1. Preview: Radeon Gallium3D Performance For CS:GO On Linux
  2. XWayland Linux Gaming Performance With GNOME Wayland On Fedora 21
  3. EXT4/Btrfs/XFS/F2FS Benchmarks On Linux 3.17
  4. Fedora 21 Alpha First Impressions: It's Great
Latest Linux News
  1. Fedora Might Try A New Scheduling Strategy For Its Releases
  2. AMD's Catalyst Working On A GLSL Shader Cache
  3. OpenMP 4.0 Offloading Is Closer For GCC 5
  4. Wayland Presentation Extension Added To Weston
  5. Intel Skylake Support Rolls Out To Mesa's DRM
  6. VA-API's Libva 1.4.0 Brings VP8 Encoding Support
  7. Operating System U Fails To Live Up To Its Goals
  8. AMD Catalyst 14.9 Officially Released For Linux
  9. Nouveau Memory Re-Clocking Comes For More NVIDIA GPUs
  10. NVIDIA Suggests Explicit Synchronization For Nouveau
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. New AMD Catalyst drivers out today
  2. NVIDIA Alerts Nouveau: They're Starting To Sign/Validate GPU Firmware Images
  3. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  4. Take the Steam Survey results with a grain of salt. It is flawed.
  5. FSF Issues Statement On Shellshock Bash Vulnerability
  6. AMD Wants To Know What's Wrong With Catalyst
  7. New Group Calls For Boycotting Systemd
  8. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive NVIDIA/AMD Benchmarks On Linux