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Thread: There Might Be An Open PowerVR Driver In Q3'11

  1. #11
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    This is no doubt being pushed from all angles against powervr.

    1) Intel GMA500 == powervr SGX535.
    (major hate on intel over this...)

    2) Samsung/Google Nexus S = powervr SGX535.
    (also a whole lot more mobile phones.... but this is the closest to open source thus far...)


    Imagine being powervr and licensing out your hardware to a whole bunch of organizations that mostly want open source. Not a lot they can do to hold it back.

    Aside from the GPU, the other remaining closed blobs on the nS are the RIL, GPS, and some stupid orientation sensors. The RIL is the only thing that will definitely never be opened.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by droidhacker View Post
    This is no doubt being pushed from all angles against powervr.

    1) Intel GMA500 == powervr SGX535.
    (major hate on intel over this...)

    2) Samsung/Google Nexus S = powervr SGX535.
    (also a whole lot more mobile phones.... but this is the closest to open source thus far...)


    Imagine being powervr and licensing out your hardware to a whole bunch of organizations that mostly want open source. Not a lot they can do to hold it back.

    Aside from the GPU, the other remaining closed blobs on the nS are the RIL, GPS, and some stupid orientation sensors. The RIL is the only thing that will definitely never be opened.
    Pretty much everything ARM shipping today, well, those SOCs with 3d graphics, except for snapdragons (remember AMD buying ATI, and selling off the imageon to qualcomm?), is pvr. This makes the numbers astronomical, especially compared to PC market. Luckily ARM is coming with the mali and nvidia is coming with something too (the latter will of course never be free).

  3. #13
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    I think the closest to open source is the N900, and it has a powervr SGC530. Those people would do a damn good thing if they released their driver under GPL.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xavier View Post
    I think the closest to open source is the N900, and it has a powervr SGC530. Those people would do a damn good thing if they released their driver under GPL.
    Sadly, currently, the owner of the powervr, imagination technologies, only GPLs the kernel part, in accordance with the GPL. This part is mostly a conduit for userspace, with some stream management and checking in place.

    I am sure that the userspace part (with not only a management part, but also, for instance, full opengles stacks), as it exists today, cannot be open sourced, even if imagination technologies would want to (which it currently doesn't).

    This situation has not changed much since the n900 was released, even though there are quite a few very good people at nokia working on X, display and graphics drivers for meego/maemo.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apopas View Post
    I don't understand the current relation betwwen PowerVR and Linux. I mean back at 2.4 kernel series they had a future rich and good Linux driver for their Kyro and KyroII chipsets. I had such a card myself and know first hand. So I mean if they had the motivation and especially the knowledge for such a driver, why now is worse even than VIA?
    They have a rich and capable driver right now. It's just that it's only really on the ARM SoC's that use MBX/SGX parts. Look at any Android that uses an OMAP3 (such as the Droid...)- it has the OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0 driver for the SGX on it. Look at the Pandora handheld...ditto.

    It's just that it's clumsy to integrate and it's got all sorts of silly restrictions on it's bundling and use that it's a pain beyond words for people to rely upon it. Imagination's been running this like they're used to previously- which has been a bunch of highly secretive OS and device vendors. (Not to mention that the Kyro driver was more STMicro's doing than ImgTecs... )

    If they were to Open their drivers, it'd be a Coup on our part- and maybe the start of an opening in the ARM arena where it needs to be. I'd like to see SGX, MALI, and whatever Qualcomm's calling the Imageon now show up with FOSS drivers. It'd make Atom and ARM stuff finally clean for Linux- and Linux is where these platforms are shining right now.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by libv View Post
    Sadly, currently, the owner of the powervr, imagination technologies, only GPLs the kernel part, in accordance with the GPL. This part is mostly a conduit for userspace, with some stream management and checking in place.

    I am sure that the userspace part (with not only a management part, but also, for instance, full opengles stacks), as it exists today, cannot be open sourced, even if imagination technologies would want to (which it currently doesn't).

    This situation has not changed much since the n900 was released, even though there are quite a few very good people at nokia working on X, display and graphics drivers for meego/maemo.
    What I would not mind seeing would be the tech data like AMD has provided, more than anything else. Yes, I know that this would be a long, time consuming process like it's been with the AMD parts, but we're now beginning to see the fruits thereof. If they can Open their drivers or portions thereof to kick-start the process, great. If not, don't put other impediments in the way like they've done in the past.

    All it's going to take in this space is ONE player doing like AMD has done to change the landscape. There's a couple on the 1.1 ES end of the market that're toying with the idea right now. It's their choice.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by libv View Post
    Pretty much everything ARM shipping today, well, those SOCs with 3d graphics, except for snapdragons (remember AMD buying ATI, and selling off the imageon to qualcomm?), is pvr. This makes the numbers astronomical, especially compared to PC market. Luckily ARM is coming with the mali and nvidia is coming with something too (the latter will of course never be free).
    ARM's indicated that there's no plans in the foreseeable future to open up any details of MALI or an opened up driver. I asked.

    Now, that doesn't mean they've not changed their minds. I wouldn't mind that one bit.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Svartalf View Post
    What I would not mind seeing would be the tech data like AMD has provided, more than anything else. Yes, I know that this would be a long, time consuming process like it's been with the AMD parts, but we're now beginning to see the fruits thereof. If they can Open their drivers or portions thereof to kick-start the process, great. If not, don't put other impediments in the way like they've done in the past.

    All it's going to take in this space is ONE player doing like AMD has done to change the landscape. There's a couple on the 1.1 ES end of the market that're toying with the idea right now. It's their choice.
    There is a lot of high quality documentation available to partners of imgtec. Heavily NDAed. And not all partners get to see everything either. I am sure that Nokia is not allowed to see as much as Apple (partial owner of imgtec) is able to see.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by libv View Post
    There is a lot of high quality documentation available to partners of imgtec. Heavily NDAed. And not all partners get to see everything either. I am sure that Nokia is not allowed to see as much as Apple (partial owner of imgtec) is able to see.
    I would surmise this.

    However, I'd almost think that Intel would have been in a better position with Poulsbo and possible FOSS drivers for the same, owing to their ownership of the company (It owns slightly over 16% of the traded shares at this point, in comparison to Apple's 9%...)- but that's not the case, now is it?

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Svartalf View Post
    They have a rich and capable driver right now. It's just that it's only really on the ARM SoC's that use MBX/SGX parts. Look at any Android that uses an OMAP3 (such as the Droid...)- it has the OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0 driver for the SGX on it. Look at the Pandora handheld...ditto.

    It's just that it's clumsy to integrate and it's got all sorts of silly restrictions on it's bundling and use that it's a pain beyond words for people to rely upon it. Imagination's been running this like they're used to previously- which has been a bunch of highly secretive OS and device vendors. (Not to mention that the Kyro driver was more STMicro's doing than ImgTecs... )

    If they were to Open their drivers, it'd be a Coup on our part- and maybe the start of an opening in the ARM arena where it needs to be. I'd like to see SGX, MALI, and whatever Qualcomm's calling the Imageon now show up with FOSS drivers. It'd make Atom and ARM stuff finally clean for Linux- and Linux is where these platforms are shining right now.
    Is there any hope that this new driver might support the Kyro\Kyro 2 cards?? Cause I still use a Kyro 2 64MB card for my PC at the office and the driver they provide is only compatible for 2.4 kernels and XFree 4.3.
    I remember back at those days I used to have a Mandrake 9.2 and the card was working almost full featured. But Kernel 2.6 released at the time ST micro was abandoning its Kyro graphic chips although there where a lot of rumors at that time that they were preparing a big hit for nvidia with the never released Kyro 3 cards. And because of that story we see since then the grande dipole or the race of 2 competitors which certainly is not as good for us as if there was the PowerVR side in the game with ST and Imtec not just make cellphone tiny graphic cards but fullfledged 3D graphics cards like they used to do.
    It would be ideal for me to install a modern linux distro at my office PC and I cannot understand how difficult is to make the old 2.4 Kyro driver work for 2.6 Kernels?? I mean there is already the code, it just needs the modifications, or am I wrong here and needs to be rewritten from scratch with ST's licence and all of these legal stuff??

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