#182 Free drivers for Mali GPUs (lima, Tamil, chai)

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opened 3 years ago by vimuser · 9 comments

libv was working on it, but abandoned the project and didn't release source code. this means that c201 and other rk3288 devices in libreboot don't have video acceleration and instead rely on software rendering

we might have to pay libv or someone else to develop libre video drivers for this device. but there is another project:

https://github.com/limadriver-ng/lima

this might be interesting

we need free video drivers on rk3288 devices, so that c201 and other chromebooks in libreboot can be useable for more people

libv was working on it, but abandoned the project and didn't release source code. this means that c201 and other rk3288 devices in libreboot don't have video acceleration and instead rely on software rendering we might have to pay libv or someone else to develop libre video drivers for this device. but there is another project: https://github.com/limadriver-ng/lima this might be interesting we need free video drivers on rk3288 devices, so that c201 and other chromebooks in libreboot can be useable for more people
Raphi111 commented 3 years ago

I know a lot of people have been waiting for this driver for years. As far as I know, libv stopped working on it because (among other things) of high pressures from ARM. IIRC, the limadriver-ng repo is the same as libv's repo, only with some code cleanups.

The case of this driver has been discussed multiple times on the arm-netbooks mailing list (one of the eoma-68 computer cards has a mali-400 gpu and can't use it either because of the lack of a free driver). Some followers even suggested doing a crowdfunding to fund the making of a driver.

A free driver would also greatly benefit the Replicant project, allowing the Samsung Galaxy S3 (and others) under Replicant to work much more smoothly.

I sincerely hope a free driver will be achieved some day, as mali GPUs are used in a lot of ARM devices. I just wanted to share what I know, so that you are aware that multiple other libre project would be interested by a free mali driver (I suppose you already were aware of that, but just to be sure). Also some of my saying might be wrong, and I can try to collect the sources of what I just said if it can be useful to anyone.

As a CS student, I personally am also so willing to help achieving a free mali driver, but unfortunately I have none of the required skills (and probably won't have for many years).

I know a lot of people have been waiting for this driver for years. As far as I know, libv stopped working on it because (among other things) of high pressures from ARM. IIRC, the limadriver-ng repo is the same as libv's repo, only with some code cleanups. The case of this driver has been discussed multiple times on the arm-netbooks mailing list (one of the eoma-68 computer cards has a mali-400 gpu and can't use it either because of the lack of a free driver). Some followers even suggested doing a crowdfunding to fund the making of a driver. A free driver would also greatly benefit the Replicant project, allowing the Samsung Galaxy S3 (and others) under Replicant to work much more smoothly. I sincerely hope a free driver will be achieved some day, as mali GPUs are used in a lot of ARM devices. I just wanted to share what I know, so that you are aware that multiple other libre project would be interested by a free mali driver (I suppose you already were aware of that, but just to be sure). Also some of my saying might be wrong, and I can try to collect the sources of what I just said if it can be useful to anyone. As a CS student, I personally am also so willing to help achieving a free mali driver, but unfortunately I have none of the required skills (and probably won't have for many years).
Swift Geek commented 3 years ago
Collaborator

Start from joining #libreboot and #linux-sunxi on freenode

Start from joining #libreboot and #linux-sunxi on freenode
Leah Rowe commented 3 years ago
Owner

How do you propose we go about the process?

Can you link me to those other discussions?

How do you propose we go about the process? Can you link me to those other discussions?
Raphi111 commented 3 years ago

@SwiftGeek: thanks for the advice, I will as soon as I have a small server to stay connected while I'm away.

@vimuser:

The most recent discussion about it starts here: http://lists.phcomp.co.uk/pipermail/arm-netbook/2017-May/013845.html. Nothing concrete came up however. I remember it was mentioned before, but I can't find the discussion yet (searching a mailing list isn't easy, I'll probably have to download the text versions to find it).

Replicant have a list of supported devices where the mali-400 is used: https://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/GraphicsResearch#ARM-Mali-and-Lima

The latest DIY laptop from Olimex also uses the same GPU: https://olimex.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/teres-i-do-it-yourself-open-source-hardware-and-software-hackers-friendly-laptop-is-complete/. As they are making "open source hardware" computers, they (or their customers) might be interested in helping fund a free mali driver.

As you already know, there are numerous other singel board computers that also uses the same mali-400 (Pine A64, banana pi pro, .....). It might be useful to also contact them all some time later.

The idea of a crowdfunding has also been mentioned in the comments of libv's own blog: http://libv.livejournal.com/27461.html

The first thing to do would be to roughly know what amount of resources is needed to complete the driver. If it's funded by the community, what kind of amount are we talking about ? 30.000$ ? 150.000$ ? I guess a good starting point would be to contact libv himself to know if:

  • he would be willing to complete the lima driver if gets paid for it.

or

  • he could offer his help for another team to complete the driver (thoroughly documenting what has been done, what is yet to do,...)

In my opinion, convincing libv to get back to the lima driver will not be an easy thing to do, but it would probably be the best approach. He already worked on it, and finding someone else with the skills, the time, and the motivation to do the same will be much harder.

Once we have something more concrete (about the requirements) to present to the community, we could ask in every mentioned place and see how much of interest there is for the driver, and see if it could match the estimated requirements.

Even bigger organizations like the FSF could later get involved, be it to only do advertisement (as free firmware is on their high-prioriy list: https://www.fsf.org/campaigns/priority-projects/hardware-firmware-drivers).

@SwiftGeek: thanks for the advice, I will as soon as I have a small server to stay connected while I'm away. @vimuser: The most recent discussion about it starts here: http://lists.phcomp.co.uk/pipermail/arm-netbook/2017-May/013845.html. Nothing concrete came up however. I remember it was mentioned before, but I can't find the discussion yet (searching a mailing list isn't easy, I'll probably have to download the text versions to find it). Replicant have a list of supported devices where the mali-400 is used: https://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/GraphicsResearch#ARM-Mali-and-Lima The latest DIY laptop from Olimex also uses the same GPU: https://olimex.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/teres-i-do-it-yourself-open-source-hardware-and-software-hackers-friendly-laptop-is-complete/. As they are making "open source hardware" computers, they (or their customers) might be interested in helping fund a free mali driver. As you already know, there are numerous other singel board computers that also uses the same mali-400 (Pine A64, banana pi pro, .....). It might be useful to also contact them all some time later. The idea of a crowdfunding has also been mentioned in the comments of libv's own blog: http://libv.livejournal.com/27461.html The first thing to do would be to roughly know what amount of resources is needed to complete the driver. If it's funded by the community, what kind of amount are we talking about ? 30.000$ ? 150.000$ ? I guess a good starting point would be to contact libv himself to know if: - he would be willing to complete the lima driver if gets paid for it. or - he could offer his help for another team to complete the driver (thoroughly documenting what has been done, what is yet to do,...) In my opinion, convincing libv to get back to the lima driver will not be an easy thing to do, but it would probably be the best approach. He already worked on it, and finding someone else with the skills, the time, and the motivation to do the same will be much harder. Once we have something more concrete (about the requirements) to present to the community, we could ask in every mentioned place and see how much of interest there is for the driver, and see if it could match the estimated requirements. Even bigger organizations like the FSF could later get involved, be it to only do advertisement (as free firmware is on their high-prioriy list: https://www.fsf.org/campaigns/priority-projects/hardware-firmware-drivers).
zapper commented 3 years ago

Raphi111

Agreed, If you can contact him it is an absolutely awesome idea.

Please by all means contact libv see if he is willing for any amount of pay. I will donate too if he accepts this idea.

Raphi111 Agreed, If you can contact him it is an absolutely awesome idea. Please by all means contact libv see if he is willing for any amount of pay. I will donate too if he accepts this idea.

Hi all,

I passed the past few days playing with the hardware. There's not yet much concrete. But, if you're interested, my notes are on https://notabug.org/cafe/chai

With some luck (and effort), maybe I'll reverse enough of the hardware for someone to write a driver.

Thanks, cafe

Hi all, I passed the past few days playing with the hardware. There's not yet much concrete. But, if you're interested, my notes are on https://notabug.org/cafe/chai With some luck (and effort), maybe I'll reverse enough of the hardware for someone to write a driver. Thanks, cafe

RK3288's GPU was supported under Tamil (unreleased), not lima (partially released). I don't believe we support any lima devices (although many have free boot firmware in u-boot). For the RK3288 driver, see #264. Closing.

RK3288's GPU was supported under Tamil (unreleased), not lima (partially released). I don't believe we support any lima devices (although many have free boot firmware in u-boot). For the RK3288 driver, see #264. Closing.
Leah Rowe commented 3 years ago
Owner

Please suggest modification to title and description on issue report.

There are people working on replacing libv's work from scratch.

Please suggest modification to title and description on issue report. There are people working on replacing libv's work from scratch.

(Merged from #264 as per Leah's request)

Leah Rowe commented on 2017-07-16:

for c201 video chip (also other rockchip laptops)

see info added in https://notabug.org/libreboot/libreboot/pulls/261

it seems that someone else is now working on a free video driver for that laptop. we should keep an eye out on this.

(Merged from #264 as per Leah's request) Leah Rowe commented on 2017-07-16: > for c201 video chip (also other rockchip laptops) > > see info added in https://notabug.org/libreboot/libreboot/pulls/261 > > it seems that someone else is now working on a free video driver for that laptop. we should keep an eye out on this.
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