Raspbian Now Ships With Experimental Support For The New VC4 OpenGL Driver
This Raspbian update now available has a number of application updates, a number of bugs have been fixed, and other small improvements made.
Exciting me the most out of this though is there is now the new OpenGL driver in experimental form! The experimental OpenGL driver can be enabled from the CLI version of raspi-config under advanced options. This OpenGL driver will only work with the Raspberry Pi 2 and not the Pi or Pi Zero (at least for now) due to memory requirements. This is the VC4 driver stack we've been talking about for quite a while.
VC4 is predominantly the work of Eric Anholt, the former open-source developer at Intel who joined Broadcom back in 2014 to start work on the driver. VC4 is completely open-source and consists of the DRM kernel driver and a proper Gallium3D driver living within Mesa. With the upcoming Linux 4.5 kernel, there are the needed kernel side bits for 3D while for Raspbian they backported the code to their kernel. Prior to Linux 4.5, the VC4 DRM driver just has kernel mode-setting support. Within Mesa, all of the code is being developed upstream in the VC4 Gallium3D driver.
While this open-source 3D driver is finally there for the Raspberry Pi, there still are other features to tackle and ensure the performance is as good as Broadcom's binary blob. Nevertheless, it's a big step forward and it's great to see Raspbian offering this OpenGL driver as an experimental option while all of the code still is landing upstream. Just last night I was writing about runtime power management and GPU reset being pushed for the VC4 driver.
I'll have some Raspberry Pi 2 OpenGL benchmarks on Phoronix shortly. You can read more about the Raspbian update via the Raspberry Pi blog.