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
MESA --
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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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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