Etnaviv Developer Working On "EIR" Compiler Backend - Hopes For Vulkan Future

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 14 May 2019 at 12:01 AM EDT. 2 Comments
Christian Gmeiner, one of the leading contributors to the Etnaviv Gallium3D code for providing open-source OpenGL driver coverage for Vivante graphics IP, has posted a series of patches for "EIR" as a new back-end IR based on NIR and other modern open-source driver graphics compiler back-ends.

After studying the other Mesa compiler back-ends and NIR itself, Christian began work on EIR to provide "the best parts" of these different projects, including features like legalization, optimizations, a register allocator, and unit tests. He resisted from wiring NIR support into Etnaviv itself on the basis of NIR being a fast moving target and concerns about how well it will map to future hardware/drivers.

Like the other efforts around NIR and open-source graphics drivers in general, Christian notes, "This opens the door for easier testing of the different components and - if somebody dreams loud - Vulkan." But given the lack of manpower around the Etnaviv driver and they still tackling the GL/GLES scene, it's unlikely we would see any full-fledged Etnaviv Vulkan driver anytime soon. Though this driver could be quite interesting and relevant if the Librem 5 smartphone were to take off, which plans to use the Etnaviv code, among other hardware with Vivante GC graphics.

Those wanting to learn more about this latest Etnaviv/EIR work can see this Mesa mailing list post for additional details.
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