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Arm Mali "Valhall" Reverse-Engineering Started

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  • Arm Mali "Valhall" Reverse-Engineering Started

    Phoronix: Arm Mali "Valhall" Reverse-Engineering Started

    The Panfrost open-source Linux graphics driver stack has matured nicely for Arm Mali Midgard and Bifrost generations but for the past two years now there has been Valhall as the latest-generation Arm Mali microarchitecture. There is now work underway on reverse-engineering Valhall for ultimately wiring up with open-source graphics driver support...

    https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pa...all-RE-Started

  • #2
    Typo:

    Originally posted by phoronix View Post
    Ultimately the existing Bifrost support within the Mesa OpenGL/Vulkan drivers will ultimately be adapted to work with Mali Vahlhall but will still take some time as well as for Linux-friendly (non-Android) devices to come to market with these newer graphics.

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    • #3
      I'm so impressed with Alyssa Rosenzweig's reverse engineering work. Her blog entry is extensive and well-written, yet it dazzles me how deep the material goes. If she and other talented developers like her can accomplish this much just through reverse-engineering, think of what high-quality drivers they could develop if Arm would just hire them to develop such drivers, or at the very least just provided them with the programming specs?

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      • #4
        SteamPunker

        Agree, very impressing.
        I'm also curious as to why Colabora,
        a for-profit company, are able to put all these resources into reverse-engineering this and constantly improving the Mesa driver for the ARM GPU family?
        Could it be Google that is sponsoring this work behind the scenes? Do they secretly plan to replace the binary blob driver for this GPU on Android with an open source one or what is going on? Or perhaps a future ChromeOS device having an ARM GPU. It's puzzling to say the least.
        Last edited by tomas; 20 July 2021, 04:24 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tomas View Post
          Agree, very impressing.
          I'm also curious as to why Colabora,
          a for-profit company, are able to put all these resources into reverse-engineering this and constantly improving the Mesa driver for the ARM GPU family?
          Could it be Google that is sponsoring this work behind the scenes? Do they secretly plan to replace the binary blob driver for this GPU on Android with an open source one or what is going on? Or perhaps a future ChromeOS device having an ARM GPU. It's puzzling to say the least.
          One reason is that they are no longer being threatened by ARM and deemed untouchable by ARM dependent companies like when Jem Davies was still running the show at ARM MPD.

          -- the guy who started all this and got to enjoy unemployment because of it.

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          • #6
            I have always wondered if there will come a day when reverse-engineering efforts will stop bothering to write OpenGL drivers and just write the hardware driver with Vulkan only, and then have Zink for OpenGL support.

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            • #7
              I'm very disappointed that arm is not providing the developers/collabora with documentation and suitable test boards. I think this will be seen as a mistake on the part of arm management in the future.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Space Heater View Post
                I'm very disappointed that arm is not providing the developers/collabora with documentation and suitable test boards. I think this will be seen as a mistake on the part of arm management in the future.
                They do: https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/09...r-development/

                But I wonder it's not the case for Valhall.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by RussianNeuroMancer View Post
                  But I wonder it's not the case for Valhall.
                  If arm had provided documentation and hardware I really doubt the developers would describe their work as "reverse-engineering" and they also wouldn't be needing to use samsung phones/tablets.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RussianNeuroMancer View Post

                    They do: https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/09...r-development/

                    But I wonder it's not the case for Valhall.
                    There's the small matter of nvidia having bought ARM now, and ARM MPD being an obvious candidate for cost reduction, and ARM MPD employees needing to clean up their resumes.

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