Panfrost Mali Driver In Primitive Form Under Review For Mesa
Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 30 January 2019 at 06:14 AM EST. 9 Comments
MESA --
The open-source, reverse-engineered Panfrost Gallium3D driver is now under review in an early form for potentially merging into mainline Mesa in the near future. Panfrost is the current open-source driver community effort around Arm's Midgard and Bifrost graphics units.

There is just under ten thousand lines of Panfrost code up now for review to see integration in Mesa potentially for next quarter's Mesa 19.1 release. This initial patch series contains the initial driver side but for command stream support is only a stub and basic Winsys integration. The full Panfrost driver will not yet work on the mainline Linux kernel until some kernel changes are in place. This initial patch series does include the complete Midgard toolchain support.

With not being the full driver and kernel changes still needed, the current 9,625 lines of code for Mesa is still several thousand lines short of their complete driver effort. The developers want to make clear that this driver is not yet ready for general use by Midgard/Bifrost GPU users.


In Arm's product spectrum, Midgard spans from the Mali T604 through T880. Bifrost is the successor to Midgard and spans from the G31 to current G76. The Panfrost driver effort does not cover the older Mali 200 through 400 "Utgard" series hardware. At this stage Panfrost is just an OpenGL driver and not yet targeting any open-source OpenCL or Vulkan support that is capable by the newer Mali graphics hardware.

The code for those interested in this experimental driver state can be found on the Mesa mailing list.

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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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