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Broadcom's Open-Source VC5 OpenGL & Vulkan Support Improving

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  • #11
    So it seems Broadcom cannot afford a second developer to speed up development of VC4 and VC5. VC4 dev has been going on for so long and still has many items in the to-do list. Now I guess VC4 development will fade as Eric focuses on VC5. Unfortunately, it probably means that by the time RPi 4 is launched the VC5 open source driver will not be in very good shape, which is a shame.
    Yet, Broadcom with its single developer is still ahead of the pack in open source support for its ARM GPU and that is why RPi will continue to be the #1 SBC for some time.

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    • #12
      Looks like someone at Broadcom made a mistake, or maybe recognized their past ways were evil.
      Usually Broadcom is hostile to open source and never open sources anything :P

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      • #13
        Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post
        Afaik chips of the same family of the ones with VC5 have an ethernet 100Mbit.

        Give its low cost and power budget I really doubt anything major. A better processor/GPU and more ram, a dedicated 100Mbit ethernet, and maybe more than 1 USB host controllers, (SDIO wifi/bluetooth chip and whatnot).

        What you describe is sold for like 100$ and has Marvell or NXP SoCs with Vivante GPUs, usually on SoMs too (to keep costs down).
        Maybe I'm missing something, but why do they invest in the GPU? I can imagine lots of nice little things they could do. More "hats", more GPIO pins, faster ethernet.. Agreed, a faster GPU might enable h.265 video and 4k, but it seems weird to use Raspberry as a HTPC when there are already tons of HTPC NUCs with S905 available. Why do so many buy RPi just to use Kodi or RetroPie emulators?

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        • #14
          Originally posted by caligula View Post
          What kind of hardware should we expect RPi 4 to have? Gigabit LAN, 2 to 4 GB of LPDDR3 or LPDDR4, 4 x USB3, mini PCIe, strong 12V power plug, OpenGL 4.6 / OpenCL 2.0 / Vulkan ?
          I'd expect whatever they can cram into $35 price point for a teaching computer. Not sure how RAM prices stack up now, but I doubt more than 2GB. I really hope they can cram the cost of a USB3 bus in there, gigabit would be secondary to built-in wifi. 12v might be tricker to engineer cost wise for the extra power circuitry.

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          • #15
            Originally posted by caligula View Post

            Maybe I'm missing something, but why do they invest in the GPU? I can imagine lots of nice little things they could do. More "hats", more GPIO pins, faster ethernet.. Agreed, a faster GPU might enable h.265 video and 4k, but it seems weird to use Raspberry as a HTPC when there are already tons of HTPC NUCs with S905 available. Why do so many buy RPi just to use Kodi or RetroPie emulators?
            Not speed, longevity. There are no other mobile video chipsets with vendor open source drivers. Without them you are beholden to the chip maker to put out updated drivers if say new major kernel version is released, or an open source group wants to port their OS over. It's not in the GPU chip makers interest to support drivers post sale as no one is PAYING them.

            The original Pi using VC4 chip is from 2012, and 5+ years later you can still drop in the latest OS because it's open. A S905 device will likely be forever stuck with the android version they ship with and cannot be re-purposed because that will be the only OS it will ever run. NUC's are better off driver wise but aren't even close to the same performance/price point as a Pi.

            There are many other graphical use cases besides HTPC's and game emulators such as digital signage, public computer kiosk, and touch screen interfaces for industrial machines, home automation, and automotive etc. None have to be particularly demanding, but they do need to work and updated.

            FYI: Last I checked the VC4 open source driver doesn't support the Raspi Official touch screen yet, but they are working toward it.

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            • #16
              Originally posted by mbello View Post
              So it seems Broadcom cannot afford a second developer to speed up development of VC4 and VC5. VC4 dev has been going on for so long and still has many items in the to-do list. Now I guess VC4 development will fade as Eric focuses on VC5. Unfortunately, it probably means that by the time RPi 4 is launched the VC5 open source driver will not be in very good shape, which is a shame.
              Yet, Broadcom with its single developer is still ahead of the pack in open source support for its ARM GPU and that is why RPi will continue to be the #1 SBC for some time.
              This is why I question Broadcom's intent for making it the main driver for the device. It might just be for RPi efforts and not for other clients. Why they don't jump in with 3-4 developers and save costs is beyond me.

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              • #17
                Originally posted by caligula View Post

                So it would still have everything connected to a single USB2 bus?
                I don't know; the Pi Foundation is famous for not leaking information, which is a really good policy (for them).

                I have tempered my expectations, and will be over the moon if it has 2GB RAM, which seems possible since Odroid is already doing this.

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                • #18
                  Originally posted by tweak42 View Post
                  The original Pi using VC4 chip is from 2012, and 5+ years later you can still drop in the latest OS because it's open. A S905 device will likely be forever stuck with the android version they ship with and cannot be re-purposed because that will be the only OS it will ever run. NUC's are better off driver wise but aren't even close to the same performance/price point as a Pi.
                  Doesn't S905 have one of the best Linux support among ARM boards? http://linux-meson.com/doku.php#mainline_support_matrix

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                  • #19
                    Originally posted by caligula View Post
                    Doesn't S905 have one of the best Linux support among ARM boards? http://linux-meson.com/doku.php#mainline_support_matrix
                    I'm not 100% sure on "best" support, but what matters is mainline kernel support which the S905 lacks. That and S905 are built with Mali GPUs which are notorious for using close source blobs to function, which effectively restricts to older kernel versions until updated by the manufacture.

                    https://www.cnx-software.com/2018/01...status-update/

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                    • #20
                      Originally posted by tweak42 View Post

                      I'm not 100% sure on "best" support, but what matters is mainline kernel support which the S905 lacks. That and S905 are built with Mali GPUs which are notorious for using close source blobs to function, which effectively restricts to older kernel versions until updated by the manufacture.

                      https://www.cnx-software.com/2018/01...status-update/
                      WTF man, do you realize the link I posted describes the mainline kernel support of S905? Are you blind or something? How many ARM SoCs are better supported? Also I said "one of the best", not "best".

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