[Arm-netbook] firefly 3399 all source software disclosed?

mike.valk at gmail.com mike.valk at gmail.com
Mon May 8 13:54:08 BST 2017

2017-05-08 11:02 GMT+02:00 Bill Kontos <vkontogpls at gmail.com>:

> I think arm has open source kernel drivers but there is no way they will
> get mainlined any time soon. The question is, how much does the userland
> blob do and how much work needs to be done to get libre 2d accel.
A display pipeline is a complex one which requires multiple drivers.
Especially on ARM devices where the display pipeline is a "mix and match"

So ARM has released a "driver". What type of driver? What functions does it

Is it one for their display encoder, a crtc driver? A framebuffer driver? A
clasic DRM driver, A KMS driver? A 2D Accelerator for X? A 3D accelator. A
shim to acces the hardware using a BLOB build for one specific version of X
relying  and kernel on a specific ARM Core design? Probably the last.

And ARM specific driver without sources is worthless. It's use once and
only for short time.

SoC with ARM desing are mix and match. Different ARM core designs.
Different and mixed GPU's MALI, Vivante, PowerVR, etc. Output (CRTC etc)
from all type of different vendors ARM, Designware, etc. Most of the time
the manufacture is not disclosed.

If you look at Allwinner. The community now has two display engine drivers.
The drivers only setup output and change video modes. GPU type is MALI.

Bealebone has TI SoC for which a KMS/DRM driver was written by Rob clark,
tilcdc, which has support for a NXP HDMI controller/encoder. It also has a
2d accelerator from vivante and a 3d accelatror from Imation(powerVR).

With the recent release of the etnaviv driver the BB community wrote a
patch to have 2d acceleration.

Etnaviv and Freedreno had a hard time being included into the Linux
projects because of their mix and match nature. A single driver was

I've once had bought an Atom mini laptop (Dell Mini 1010). Which I
explicitly bought because of the most powerful Intel ATOM GPU at the time.
Intel has a reasonable Opensource GPU track record. Poulsbo turned out to
be an Imation PowerVR licenced design. Boy was I misled: no opensource
drivers only blob's compatible with aging and broken kernels and X-servers.
So no upgrades for me or anyone else.

So a perfectly capable laptop to the trash.

Intel did release a Opensource driver. A KMS driver. So that means
modesetting and nothing more. No 2d acceleration no 3d acceleration nog
hardware video decoding. Intel could not build anything better because
Imation did not let them. The Intel engineer said that there was enough
code and documentation available to create decoder though. But he didn't
write it.

This is way closed source drivers a bad idea. They limit the use and
lifetime of your devices.

I guess the company's building those GPU are too scared that if they open
their drives their competitors see the copyright and/or patent infringement
their design has.

And ARM and Imation are scared the most.

Thankfully Imation is going to die soon. Apple has announced to create
their own GPU. and rob Imation from 60% of their income. Imation anounced a
patent war agains Apple. SCO Unix anyone?

> On May 8, 2017 7:47 AM, "Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton" <lkcl at lkcl.net>
> wrote:
>> ---
>> crowd-funded eco-conscious hardware: https://www.crowdsupply.com/eoma68
>> On Sun, May 7, 2017 at 10:10 PM, zap <zapper at openmailbox.org> wrote:
>> >
>> >
>> > On 05/07/2017 04:29 PM, ronwirring at Safe-mail.net wrote:
>> >> All software for the mali-t860 is open source?
>>  none.  MALI is proprietary.
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