Open-Source GPU Drivers For Embedded Have Been Improving But RE'ing Take A While

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 25 August 2019 at 12:01 AM EDT. 8 Comments
Robert Foss of Collabora was back at the Linux Foundation's Open-Source Summit this week to present the latest state of open-source graphics drivers in the embedded space.

As all of you should know who follow Phoronix regularly, the embedded open-source graphics drivers have been improving a lot with especially Broadcom VC4/V3D, Freedreno for Qualcomm Adreno, and more recently the likes of Panfrost for newer Arm Mali hardware along with other reverse-engineered driver options like Etnaviv for Vivante graphics IP.

Progress has been made this year on new hardware support and all of these different open-source driver projects have been making good progress though generally not at feature or performance parity to their proprietary, official drivers from the different hardware vendors.

During the San Diego presentation, Robert Foss covered the matter of increasing importance with much of OpenGL getting squared away by the prominent drivers and that is OpenCL support. There isn't yet any notable OpenCL implementations in good shape from these embedded drivers, but progress is being made along with the Mesa stack with Clover, NIR support, etc, that it should become more interesting as we hit 2020.

Robert's presentation on embedded open-source graphics drivers as they stand today can be viewed here (PDF).

The Collabora developer also presented separately on the state of Panfrost for modern open-source Arm graphics. On the Panfrost front with Collabora sponsoring a lot of the work, they are pursuing greater OpenGL support, more GPU enablement, better performance, and eventually OpenCL and Vulkan.
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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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