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A line in the sand for graphics drivers

Jul 15, 2010, 12:04 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jonathan Corbet)

"Support for certain classes of hardware has often been problematic for the Linux kernel, and 3D graphics chips have tended to be at the top of the list. Over the last few years, through a combination of openness at Intel and AMD/ATI and reverse engineering for NVIDIA, the graphics problem has mostly been solved - for desktop systems. The situation in the fast-growing mobile space is not so comforting, though. As can be seen in recent conversations, free support for mobile graphics looks like the next big problem to be solved.

"At a first glance, the announcement of a 2D/3D driver for Qualcomm "ES 3D" graphics cores (found in the Snapdragon processor which, in turn, is found in a number of high-end smartphones) seems like a good thing. Graphics support for this core is one of the binary blobs which is necessary to run Android on that processor, and it seemed like Qualcomm was saying the right things:

"I'm writing this email because we think it is high time that we get off the bench, into the game and push support for the Qualcomm graphics cores to the mainline kernel. We are looking for advice and comment from the community on the approach we have taken and what steps we might need to take, if any, to modify the driver so it can be accepted.

"Advice and comment is what he got."

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