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Mesa/Gallium3D Gets Its First ARM SoC GPU Driver

Mesa

Published on 12 March 2013 01:02 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa
5 Comments

The first working ARM System-on-Chip (SoC) GPU graphics driver built for Gallium3D has been merged into mainline Mesa!

The driver that was merged into mainline Mesa is the Gallium3D Freedreno for Qualcomm Snapdragon/Adreno graphics hardware. This Freedreno Gallium3D driver initially supports the A220, which is the GPU that Qualcomm uses with its Snapdragon S3 SoC.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon with the APQ8060, MSM8260, and MSM8660 parts is found in devices like the HP TouchPad, Samsung Galaxy S II, Samasung Galaxy S Blaze 4G, ASUS Eee Pad Memo, HTC Sensation, Samsung Galaxy Note, and LG Optimus LTE. The Freedreno Gallium3D driver will eventually be expanded to fully support other non-A220 Adreno hardware, with Rob Clark recently beginning to play with other devices. The A3xx support may come via an extension to this current driver with a different compiler or as a new Freedreno Gallium3D driver.

The Freedreno driver was started last year as a personal pet project by Rob Clark when he decided to write an open-source, reverse-engineered Qualcomm GPU driver. At the time he was working for Texas Instruments and the Adreno GPU was one of the few ARM SoC GPU designs that didn't taint him or put him in a questionable legal state due to having worked on PowerVR IP and other projects at TI.

The Freedreno libdrm support was already merged for the DRM library. The Freedreno DRM component is needed for this Gallium3D driver as well as his xf86-video-freedreno 2D/DDX driver.

Just last week this ARM Gallium3D driver hit the milestone of being able to run the GNOME Shell.

This new driver will appear in Mesa 9.2/Mesa 10.0 and is the first merged driver for an ARM SoC. Other Gallium3D drivers in Mesa right now that concern end-users are Intel i915, LLVMpipe, Nouveau (NV30/NV50/NVC0), R300, R3600, RadeonSI, Softpipe, and VMware SVGA.

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 .
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