Open-Source Qualcomm Graphics Support Continues Flourishing With Freedreno

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 18 October 2018 at 05:11 AM EDT. 3 Comments
When it comes to open-source ARM graphics drivers, the Raspberry Pi / VC4 effort and Freedreno continue to be the two best examples of fully open-source graphics driver coverage including 3D support. Freedreno has been attracting contributions from Qualcomm / CodeAurora in what started out as solely a community reverse-engineered effort and with the latest-generation Adreno 600 series hardware the open-source support is in great shape.

The Freedreno driver stack with its OpenGL Gallium3D driver as well as MSM DRM kernel driver continue advancing at great speed especially in their Adreno 6xx series bring-up. With Linux 4.19 there is the initial kernel bits and the Mesa side has been coming along nicely too.

Some of the recent Freedreno work to point out in this space includes:

- A6xx blitter support. It's worth noting that Google developers also continue contributing heavily to the Freedreno stack in an official capacity at Google...

- A shader variant cache was just added.

- There is now a single command stream for drawing and binning passes. This in turn should "significantly lower" the draw overhead in CPU bound benchmarks/applications.

- Many other recent Freedreno commits.

- CodeAurora developers have also already begun staging MSM DRM drivers for what would be the Linux 4.21~5.1 kernel cycle. Feature work there already includes GPU state capture and per-submit statistics and trace events.

All in all, the Freedreno open-source driver stack continues advancing with great speed even though it may not receive as much publicity as say the open-source AMD graphics efforts. This will be great for Linux users should the long talked about ARM/Qualcomm-powered laptops materialize into interesting devices.
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Michael Larabel

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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