There are a number of small, low-power computing devices powered by Allwinner processors, including single-board computers from CHIP, Pine64, Orange Pi, and others.

But whenever I write about one of these products, someone invariably points out that while they can technically run both Android and Linux, you only get hardware-accelerated graphics if you use Android.

Now a team of developers is working on an open source VPU driver that will enable support for hardware-accelerated video playback on devices with Allwinner processors. Some of the work is already done, but the folks at Bootlin want to raise about $22,000 through a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for additional development, with the goal of releasing a functional driver by June, 2018.

That initial goal would bring a driver that lets the mainline Linux kernel leverage Allwinner’s video processing unit (VPU) for hardware-accelerated decoding of MPEG2 and H.264 video without overtaxing the CPU.

At launch, the idea is to support a bunch of older processors, including the Allwinner A10, A13, A20, A33, R8, and R16.

But if the campaign has a few stretch goals that the team would hope to deliver by December if it raises extra money, including:

  • Support Allwinner’s newer H3, H5, and A64 chips
  • H.265 decoding support
  • H.264 encoding support

Note that this is all about the VPU, and not the GPU (graphics processing unit), so don’t expect Bootlin’s “sunxi-cedrus” development to result in hardware-accelerated 3D graphics for gaming and other applications. We’re just talking about video here. But it’d still make those inexpensive single-board computers with Allwinner chips a bit more usable as Linux-based media centers or general-purpose Linux machines.

via CNX-Software

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6 replies on “Bootlin working on hardware-accelerated video for Allwinner devices running Linux (crowdfunding)”

  1. Hello anyone know how possible in A64 allwinner active open GL or GPU Driver .Now we have A64 very crazy use CPU even show display ?Display run through HDMI consuming alot of CPU .I really appreciate if anyone give us an idea

  2. Scam alert? I find it hard to believe good graphics drivers can be made without access to the secret sauce that goes into the manufacturer’s proprietary binary blobs. And you’ll never get access to those secrets because the manufacturer fears patent infringement law suits.

  3. OpenGL on mali or good graphics, nothing more is not necessary.Small computers are not for set top box

  4. Seeing how the GPL licence makes it mandatory to release the source code and Android runs on top of the GPL licenced linux kernel doesn’t Allwinner (and others) violate the GPL by not releasing the drivers in the first place?

    1. No more so than when Nvidia releases closed-source drivers. I believe the Free Software Foundation still takes the view that binary-only kernel modules are a GPL violation, but generally speaking, if your driver is self-contained code that loads as a module, it’s not covered by the GPL.

  5. Shame this sort of effort isn’t a) funded by AllWinner themselves; b) applicable to more SBC Mali chips.

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