Mesa's Panfrost Gallium3D Driver Can Now Work With Its New DRM Driver

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 10 March 2019 at 06:33 PM EDT. 1 Comment
The Panfrost Gallium3D driver has been quick to take form since it was merged to the Mesa 19.1 development code a month ago providing open-source 3D support for Arm Mali Midgard and Bifrost graphics hardware. The latest achievement for this Gallium3D driver in Mesa Git is being able to run with the yet-to-be-merged DRM kernel driver.

Up to now the Panfrost driver has been pushed along with Arm's non-DRM kernel driver while recently Collabora and other developers have been creating a new open-source "Panfrost" DRM/KMS kernel driver with their eyes on eventually getting it into the mainline kernel. That DRM kernel driver is still under active development and hopefully later in the year will be in a state for merging into the mainline kernel once its user-space ABI has been deemed stable. But already the Mesa 19.1-devel Git code has added support for using this new kernel driver.

Merged today is back-end targeting support for the Panfrost driver to allow it to use this DRM driver with Midgard GPUs while retaining compatibility with their non-DRM Arm driver too. With this the functionality is "roughly on-par" with between these competing Mali kernel options.

Overall it's quite interesting to watch how quickly developing this open-source, reverse-engineered Arm Mali driver is taking shape in Mesa and the Linux kernel DRM.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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