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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 11:17 am

There's some info about WebGL capabilities of the in-progress Mesa VC4 driver from my testing here -- https://github.com/gohai/vc4-buildbot/issues/3

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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 11:19 am

A long time ago I wrote [see converted] an X driver for an graphics card [It had 4MB of RAM]

x drivers are hard , bad , strange , complicated , a RRPITA and then very very inefficient. :(
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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 11:25 am

LOL, that doesn't surprise me one bit RaTTuS. I've not done it myself but I'm aware of what a mess X is, Wayland is definitely the future; unfortunately it is just that at the moment, the future, I wish it were closer :(

It will be interesting to see how Mir does as well. Canonical are moving along hard and fast due to their push for desktop/phone convergence but I get the impression it's not quite as open as Wayland at the moment due to its early stages. Also unsurprisingly Canonical are the only people using it at the moment.

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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 11:48 am

I would certainly say that X is very aged, hailing from the time when many of us were still using Sinclair Spectrums in the mid 1980's ... and there are a number of architectural decisions made then which are not ideal now, plus some aspects of the X protocol which are ultimately just an overhead that have to be supported but are not actually used by anyone.

It does of course mean that we can all still run Xbattle from the early 1990's on our modern i7 systems....

As for the future, since the display server itself is almost exclusively accessed via a small number of libraries such as QT, GTK, SDL etc. there is room for some competition in that space, and while many people are upset about Canonical electing to produce their own display server, (I have been using it every day since the end of 2013 on an Ubuntu phone), the fact that we still don't really have Wayland does rather vindicate that decision by Canonical, and this decision by the Foundation is basically for the same reason... so I would say that certainly Wayland, Mir or another next generation display server are "the future", but probably Wayland /and/ Mir are "the future"... just no one is entirely sure when.

I'm really an Ubuntu guy (disclaimer), and what I will say about timing is that there is a big push for the next LTS release currently, and so the new Mir/Unity8 desktop will not feature prominently until after the 16.04 release, but then it will be a priority... I don't know much about Wayland's schedule.

I think there were two open questions (or there were when I started typing)...

1. What about XBMC, why does it work well when other software does not.
XBMC has an Android port, so all the work to make it use OpenGLES was already in place, so it was trivial to make a version for the RPi calling the separate/custom RPi OpenGLES library.

2. Will WebGL work when the standard X / OpenGL drivers are ready...
I'll have to say "probably", or "mostly" to that one... the RPi GPU is quite old and I don't know what the OpenGL feature set is like... there may still be a few features that are only partially accelerated due to hardware limitations, but WebGL isn't too demanding so it should work. The only caveat is that some browser makers blacklist unknown GPU's or GPU's which aren't working well with their code, so it might take a while to get full acceleration enabled in the browsers, even when the hardware and drivers are working.

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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:13 pm

Dragging this back to the original question, and ignoring all the serious answers that were given... Mali was a French colony. You can't expect a British group to use something *French* as a major component of their work, now can you?

(With apologies to William S. Gilbert and Richard Dauntless.)

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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:22 pm

So how did the Concord ever happen?
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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:27 pm

Heater wrote:So how did the Concord ever happen?
no extra e on the British version
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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:44 pm

It's worth noting that while Mali does now have drivers, because it is relatively open and well documented... that was not the case when the RPi was initially created, so the rather obvious benefit of using a more generic ARM chip was not so clear at that time.

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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 3:41 pm

Thats interesting I didn't know that blueadept. Was the Mali open at the time or is that something recent as well?

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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 3:44 pm

DanielBull wrote:Thats interesting I didn't know that blueadept. Was the Mali open at the time or is that something recent as well?
If u read previous posts, mali is actually mostly closed but some people reverse engineered a kernel driver.
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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 3:59 pm

Mali is not closed (at least its not currently, I don't know if that was always the case):
http://malideveloper.arm.com/

On there you will find documentation, SDK's, sample code, and pretty much everything else you could ask for including GPL licensed open source drivers:
http://malideveloper.arm.com/resources/drivers/

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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 4:16 pm

DanielBull wrote:Mali is not closed (at least its not currently, I don't know if that was always the case):
http://malideveloper.arm.com/

On there you will find documentation, SDK's, sample code, and pretty much everything else you could ask for including GPL licensed open source drivers:
http://malideveloper.arm.com/resources/drivers/
Hmmm.. Maybe I didn't check properly, i was in the same notion that mali is open source.
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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 4:20 pm

It is true that the Lima drivers are reverse engineered though, so I'm guessing it either wasn't always the case or perhaps some bits are still closed?

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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 5:15 pm

ARM is quite responsive, so it's possible the status of the Mali chip has changed over the period, but it's always been my understanding that it as open/documented, but ARM were not contributing to the driver, so it took some time to produce.

Also, Mali has evolved over time, there are now a range of GPU's with different capabilities like Nvidia, Intel etc.

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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:46 pm

RaTTuS wrote:
Heater wrote:So how did the Concord ever happen?
no extra e on the British version
Eh?

I spell the name of the World's second* best aircraft as "Concorde". It's something I'm very fond of as the first UK flight was on my 6th birthday.


*Best being a small piston engined fighter developed by Supermarine at Hursley House in Hampshire.
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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:17 pm

DougieLawson wrote:
RaTTuS wrote:
Heater wrote:So how did the Concord ever happen?
no extra e on the British version
Eh?

I spell the name of the World's second* best aircraft as "Concorde". It's something I'm very fond of as the first UK flight was on my 6th birthday.


*Best being a small piston engined fighter developed by Supermarine at Hursley House in Hampshire.
I'm kind of fond of a light bomber/night fighter/photo recon/torpedo recon/fighter-bomber developed by deHaviland.

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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:25 pm

Just wondering, what would it have cast the RPF to license a closed source vc4 driver from broadcom?
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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:44 am

ric96 wrote:Just wondering, what would it have cast the RPF to license a closed source vc4 driver from broadcom?
Well...exactly what they paid. (Just how do you think Pis work?)

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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:31 am

W. H. Heydt wrote:
DougieLawson wrote:
RaTTuS wrote: no extra e on the British version
Eh?

I spell the name of the World's second* best aircraft as "Concorde". It's something I'm very fond of as the first UK flight was on my 6th birthday.


*Best being a small piston engined fighter developed by Supermarine at Hursley House in Hampshire.
I'm kind of fond of a light bomber/night fighter/photo recon/torpedo recon/fighter-bomber developed by deHaviland.
I suspect that is my favourite as well - best looking plane EVER.
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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:32 am

ric96 wrote:Just wondering, what would it have cast the RPF to license a closed source vc4 driver from broadcom?
The Foundation has access to the GPU firmware, which they are constantly upgrading as necessary.
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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 2:21 pm

jamesh wrote:
ric96 wrote:Just wondering, what would it have cast the RPF to license a closed source vc4 driver from broadcom?
The Foundation has access to the GPU firmware, which they are constantly upgrading as necessary.
Do the RPF changes get pushed back to Broadcom or is the firmware now effectively forked?

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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:31 pm

We have a software licence to change and adapt the proprietary firmware that runs on the VPU as we see fit, subject to patent and licensing requirements.

With the shutdown of the MPS division of Broadcom, there is now no "centralised" software control for Videocore firmware. Other companies using the family of chips under similar software licences may maintain their own repositories, but there's no obligation to return downstream changes "upstream".
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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Fri Sep 25, 2015 2:00 pm

Just chipping in on Wayland. It is the very near future. The protocol has been "finalised" for quite some time now. The compositors just needed to be written.

For Fedora 23, Gnome on Wayland will be a usable option. The plan is to make that the default on Fedora 24. (Originally planned for F23.) The XDG_SHELL specification is nearly finalised and Weston is reworked into a library, so others can easily use it as a base for their own Wayland compositor infrastructure.

So it is not going to be years.

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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Fri Sep 25, 2015 2:45 pm

r_a_trip wrote:Just chipping in on Wayland. It is the very near future. The protocol has been "finalised" for quite some time now. The compositors just needed to be written.

For Fedora 23, Gnome on Wayland will be a usable option. The plan is to make that the default on Fedora 24. (Originally planned for F23.) The XDG_SHELL specification is nearly finalised and Weston is reworked into a library, so others can easily use it as a base for their own Wayland compositor infrastructure.

So it is not going to be years.
Agreed, although one could argue that this has been said before with lower version numbers... I'm not going to dwell on that tho, because other projects have also given unrealistic timelines it's almost a default situation in software development... however I think there's a good chance that Canonical can deliver a Mir driven Ubuntu desktop on a similar timescale..

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Re: Why didn't we go with Mali?

Mon Nov 09, 2015 5:23 pm

DanielBull wrote:Mali is not closed (at least its not currently, I don't know if that was always the case):
http://malideveloper.arm.com/

On there you will find documentation, SDK's, sample code, and pretty much everything else you could ask for including GPL licensed open source drivers:
http://malideveloper.arm.com/resources/drivers/
No you won't, If you follow the link to the next page you find:

"Note that these components are not a complete driver stack. To build a functional OpenGL ES you need access to the full source code of the Mali GPU DDK, which is provided under the standard ARM commercial licence to all Mali GPU customers."

So if it is "open source", it is an Orwellian definition of open source. Big on the labeling, low on substance.

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