Category Archives: Drivers

The state of open source Linux drivers for ARM SoC GPUs

Linux software glxgears runnning on ARM SoC GPUOne of the main hurdles in designing an embedded Linux computing solution based on one of the many available ARM System-on-Chip products is that of the (lack of) availability of a proper display device driver.

Indeed, there is still a lot left to be desired on the topic of Linux graphics support from the ARM SoC manufacturers. And while this might be acceptable for many “headless” embedded applications, it is definitely a big issue when there is a need for a responsive graphical user interface, particularly if the target application requires 3D accelerated graphics.

In order to address this problem, several open source projects have been initiated, each with the aim of providing an open source driver for a particular ARM SoC. Some of them are backed by their respective ARM SoC manufacturers, others are purely based on reverse engineering.

However, each of these projects is in some state of completeness, with different development roadmaps and priorities. As such, the answer to the question “which ARM SoC GPU is better supported in Linux right now?” is not not an easy one.

There is a very informative post over at Emmanuel Deloget’s Blog, regarding the state of open source linux drivers for SoC GPUs, such as those found within ARM SoCs. This topic is further discussed in an interesting follow-up interview with developers of various SoC GPU open source drivers.