Brussels / 2 & 3 February 2013


Open ARM GPU drivers

Where are we today, one year after the unveiling of the Lima driver.

Open source 3D drivers for the ARM space are finally happening. This talk will cover the projects tackling the arduous, but highly pressing, tasks of creating these drivers, the current status of those projects, and the handful of highly dedicated and determined individuals behind them.

When the Lima driver was presented at last years FOSDEM, it was a game changing moment. Before this reverse engineering project for the highly popular ARM Mali 200/400 GPUs was announced, the open source graphics driver world was fully focused on the three x86 market leaders only, and the huge ARM market was being completely ignored (from a graphics driver point of view). The Lima driver fundamentally changed this, and now open ARM graphics drivers are a hot topic, and several people have taken it upon themselves to follow the Lima example. While individual projects are of course in different stages of completeness, and few are directly useful at this point, they have made this goal attainable. They will be enabling proper open source operating system on what is now ubiquitous hardware, and they have already changed the perception and attitude of graphics vendors for ARM towards their main markets.

This talk will cover several open source graphics driver projects for several ARM GPUs:

  • ARM's own Mali with the Lima driver, and some of its developers: Luc Verhaegen, Connor Abbott (present), and Ben Brewer.
  • The Qualcomm Adreno with the freedreno driver, and its main developer Rob Clark (present).
  • The Nvidia Tegra, and its principal developer of the open source 3D driver for it; Erik Faye-Lund (present).
  • Vivante GC range: Wladimir J. Van Der Laan.
  • Broadcoms Videocore.
  • Imaginations PowerVR.

This talk will finish with a demo round of the current capabilities of the Lima driver on a proper GNU/Linux system. Some time has been reserved in the DevRoom for further demos and talks by the other open ARM GPU developers.


Luc Verhaegen