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Graphics Open Source Linux

Open-Source Qualcomm GPU Driver Published 79

An anonymous reader writes "Not being content with the state of open source graphics drivers for Linux, a developer working for Texas Instruments has reverse-engineered his competitor's (Qualcomm) driver and written an open-source Snapdragon driver. With being tainted by legal documents at Texas Instruments, the developer, who is also involved with Linaro, had no other choice but to work on an open source graphics driver for his competitor in his free time. The open source Qualcomm Snapdragon/Adreno driver is called Freedreno."
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Open-Source Qualcomm GPU Driver Published

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  • a clarification (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2012 @07:10PM (#39689255)

    fyi, this was done on my own time.. this is not sponsored/endorsed by TI.. please ready my blog post for my motivation:


    • Re:a clarification (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kurthr ( 30155 ) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @07:16PM (#39689295)

      Since Slashdot previously reported that Qualcom has promised to "Kill all proprietary drivers for good", this seems like the right start :) []

      • Re:a clarification (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2012 @07:32PM (#39689407)

        Alas, that was Qualcomm atheros. I suspect the main baseband and app processor group wouldn't be as enthusiastic about open sourcing their drivers. Which is unfortunate as their drivers are pretty bad compared to their competition in terms of ALU utilization and therefore, performance.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Fascinating. Posts like that are why I read slashdot.

    • The first useful first post!

    • Re:a clarification (Score:4, Insightful)

      by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @11:41PM (#39690637)
      Now put it under GPL3, so that nobody would be able to incorporate it and withold any enhancements from others, particularly since it doesn't belong to the hardware owners. This is one of those rare cases where GPL3 is the right solution
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Or he could be a nice guy and BSDL it so everyone can use it. Freedom is not freedom. Deal with it.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Screw you and the GPLv3 horse you rode in on; those of us on other operating systems or in use cases where GPL is verboten would like our BSD driver now thank you very much.

        • Thank you. Actually, I don't happen to be a GPL fanatic. I normally agree that other licenses are more suitable, and laud companies that use those.

          In this case, however, you have an employee of TI working to create an open source driver for a competitor's product - Qualcomm. In no way does that benefit TI, even though he's working on his own time. Now, in the event that Qualcomm takes that driver that he wrote and made it a part of their firmwhere - be it modified or not - they essentially would have

    • Thank you for this bro. Now I am one step closer to having linux working on my HTC Sensation. Android is such garbage....

    • by rdnetto ( 955205 )

      Your work is honestly quite inspiring; I would never have imagined that a single person could reverse engineer the graphics driver like that. Thank you so much for your contribution to the FOSS community. :)

  • correction: (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2012 @07:11PM (#39689259)
    former TI Developer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I think my company is going to hire if he is fired or decides to leave. He is exactly the kind of individual we are after being a very open company.

    • by nurb432 ( 527695 )

      which will be unfortunate, but i also predict this. But im sure he will find a place to land, now that he is well known.

  • I misread the headline as "Open-Source Quantum CPU Driver Published", and got very excited - quantum computing is here! - and then very confused as to how drivers could be written for hardware that doesn't exist yet.

    I guess if Ada Lovelace could write a program for Babbage's Difference Engine without the hardware, maybe the open-source hardware folks could write quantum drivers.

    • ...maybe the open-source hardware folks could write quantum drivers.

      Is this a Schrodinger's cat type thing?

      • Well, we certainly can't disprove that the putative drivers are or are not drivers until AFTER the quantum computer exists. Therefore, any old bag of bits _could_ be functional quantum computer drivers, and we won't know until we try to use said bits as drivers. I guess one interpretation of that is that all possible bit sequences simultaneously are and are not drivers for this hypothetical hardware, and they don't become definitely-drivers or definitely-not-drivers until we "open the box" and try to use

      • Yep. You cant tell if the drivers work or not, till after you run them!
  • Awesome! I really need to find time to work on TouchPad Ubuntu again! If this works, it will make Ubuntu a ton more useful!

    • Looks promising, I managed to compile the userspace driver and attempt loading it, it fails to load DRM though. Found out that DRM wasn't enabled in my kernel, so hopefully I can recompile my kernel to work correctly.

  • Just wondering, since the Adreno was originally developed by ATI might there be any architectural simularities to the Radeon?

    If so, any chance of sharing code with the Radeon driver?

    • by Smask ( 665604 )
      It was originally developed by a bunch of former demo scene blokes from Finland. ATI renamed it Adreno when they bought Bitboys OY. There might be some Radeon parts incorporated in Adreno, and vice versa.
      • The GPU has very little (if anything) to do with the Bitboys tech (oh, to be in 1999 again).

        The 2D core, is somewhat related to the Bitboy tech if I remember correctly.

  • Sounds like this is a 2D only driver. Is the driver actually hitting the 3D GPU, or is it just hitting the 2D core? The 2D core will be much simpler then te 3D core.

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