Developers have been working on an open source graphics driver for ARM’s Mali GPUs for the past few years, and now the Panfrost lead developer Alyssa Rosenzweig says the project has managed to bring support for OpenGL ES 2.0 to GPUs based on ARM’s Bifrost architecture (as well as some OpenGL ES 2.1 features).

In other words, it’s possible to get hardware-accelerated graphics for some 3D games and other applications without relying on any proprietary, closed-source software.

For example, Rosenzwieg says you can do the following things on a device with ARM Mali-G31 graphics, using nothing but free software:

  • Play 3D games like Neverball.
  • Run hardware-accelerated video players including Kodi and mpv.
  • Run Wayland compositors with zero-copy graphics.
  • Run every scene in the glmark2-es2 benchmark.

Those capabilities have been incorporated into the upstream Mesa graphics library.

If you’re wondering what kind of devices use Mali-G31 graphics, here are some recent Liliputing articles about media streamers, handheld game consoles, and single-board computers with the GPU:

This could make life a little easier for folks who want to use those devices without relying on closed source software.

via Hacker News

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2 replies on “Panfrost is an open source graphics driver for ARM Mali graphics”

    1. Same, but recently changed my mind: I’ll hardly ever use it.

      For those interested, out of all the Retro Handhelds, the Odroid Go Advance 2/Black is the best option. It’s one of the most affordable at $59, yet one of the most powerful/capable. Not to mention being built by a reputable company with good community support. There is a scummy knock-off/clone of it called the RK2020 which might be worth considering if the stocks from Hardkernel run out.

      I suspect that an Android 9 Pie port will come on it sooner or later. So you can probably play some Android Games; though there’s no touchscreen, no gyro, no right joystick, and also no TV-out. If they added these, it would’ve been worth it for $99.

      But for now, here’s what it can emulate:
      (most graphical to least)
      PSP, DreamCast, PS1, NDS, N64, MS DOS box, MAME Arcade, GBA, Super NES, Mega Sega, NES, and the Atari.

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