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Texas Instruments Has New Open-Source Driver

Hardware

Published on 03 September 2011 09:13 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware
9 Comments

While Texas Instruments released an open-source driver last year for the Linux kernel within the DRM area (the TILER driver), it didn't make it into the mainline tree for the lack of open-source user-space applications/drivers that could take advantage of it, i.e. the usual ARM graphics mess. Yesterday, however, Texas Instruments released a new open-source DRM driver for their OMAP platforms.

This DRM display driver for the Texas Instruments OMAP platform uses the DSS2 driver to access the display hardware and provides support for HDMI, DVI, and various LCD panels. This TI driver implements GEM management support for buffer allocations as well as kernel mode-setting. There's also a plug-in mechanism that allows integration with external kernel modules, so that other areas such as for 3D support can be easily tacked on. However, the driver without any external modules is fully functional and there's an accompanying xf86-video-omap open-source 2D driver for X.Org. There's no support for command submission to IP blocks with closed-source kernel or user-space components.

In other words, this OMAP driver stands a chance of making it into the mainline Linux kernel tree. It's coming at a time when it looks like Samsung will also have a mainline DRM driver for their Exynos 4210 SoC.

This OMAP DRM driver would initially be pushed to the Linux kernel staging area, if it's approved for integration. It's too bad there's no open-source 3D acceleration, but at least it can be tacked on and this is hopefully a step in the right direction.

See this mailing list message for the driver code itself (as a patch) or the GitHub URL for checking out the OMAP X.Org driver.

Much of this OMAP driver work was done by Rob Clark at Texas Instruments. Rob is the same developer that's proposed extending DRI2 for video support. That effort is ongoing and just earlier this week he put out a new patch.

Update: David Airlie has replied to say he would rather not merge the plug-in portion of the driver unless there is an open-source module to take avantage of the plug-in API. Rob Clark has responded that he expects an open user within a month or so. This may put the OMAP driver out of reach for merging in the Linux 3.2 kernel, but would then become a target for integration in the Linux 3.3 kernel.

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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