Get Quake III running on Raspberry Pi using Broadcom's open-source GPU drivers, earn $10KFull code and documentation offered for mobile graphics chip
Broadcom has released open-source drivers and documentation for the graphics processor that's used in the Raspberry Pi microcomputer, among other devices.
"To date, there's been a dearth of documentation and vendor-developed open source drivers for the graphics subsystems of mobile systems-on-a-chip (SoC)," Eben Upton, a Broadcom technical director and Raspberry Pi Foundation cofounder, wrote in a blog post. "Binary drivers prevent users from fixing bugs or otherwise improving the graphics stack, and complicate the task of porting new operating systems to a device without vendor assistance."
Such drivers are, however, the norm, where graphics processor companies release open-source drivers for Linux that are essentially shells that load a proprietary binary "blob"* to do the heavy lifting.
On Friday, Broadcom joined the chip makers bucking that trend by releasing the full source code for the drivers for its VideoCore IV 3D graphics subsystem, which is part of the SoC that powers the Raspberry Pi, in addition to various components Broadcom makes for smartphones and other mobile devices.
Specifically, the source code release targets Broadcom's BCM21553 SoC for smartphones. The Raspberry Pi is based on a different component, the BCM2835 [PDF], so the code released on Friday won't work on it without modification.
Whoever makes those fixes, though, will earn a nice chunk of change.
"As an incentive to do this work, we will pay a bounty of $10,000 to the first person to demonstrate to us satisfactorily that they can successfully run Quake III
at a playable framerate on Raspberry Pi using these drivers," the Raspberry Pi Foundation said in a separate blog post.
Note that Quake III
already runs on the Raspberry Pi (see below). The point is to do the same using nothing but the open-source code released on Friday.
For purposes of the contest, "a playable framerate" means a minimum of 20 frames per second.
To aid the effort, Broadcom has published some 111 pages of documentation [PDF] detailing the VideoCore architecture. The source code itself, which Broadcom has made available under a BSD open-source license, is available here [Gzipped Tar archive]. ®
* Binary Large OBject is what it stands for, and it works just how it sounds. The open-source driver exists solely to load a big chunk of binary executable code for which no source code is publicly available.Raspberry Pi gets true open-source graphics drivers
The Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer that sells for as little as $25 and which can be used for everything from learning to code to surfing the web to operating as a cheap home media center.
Since launching 2 years ago, the Raspberry Pi has been popular with open source software enthusiasts, since the tiny, cheap and low power computer is designed to run Linux-based software. But unfortunately independent developers haven’t had access to all
of the source code.
Now Broadcom has released open source graphics drivers for the chip used in the Raspberry Pi, which should make it easier to enable hardware-accelerated graphics for Linux, Android, and other operating systems.
Broadcom released some basic drivers for the VideoCore IV graphics core in its BCM2835 chip in 2012, but there was still a proprietary, closed-source binary blob.
Now Broadcom is releasing the OpenGL ES 1.1 and ES 2.0 3D graphics stack under a BSD license.
To encourage people to put the newly released documentation to good use, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is promising a $10,000 reward for the first person to get Quake III to run at a decent framerate on a Raspberry Pi.
Even with the latest source code release, there are still some multimedia features of the BCM2835 chip that require using a proprietary blob. But the tools for developing software for the Raspberry Pi are a little more open today than they were yesterday.
Since the Raspberry Pi was launched in 2012 many other low-cost, low-power single-board computers, developer boards, and Android TV boxes have hit the market with significantly more powerful hardware. But this aging device with its ARM11 processor is still one of the most popular devices of its type — the Raspberry Pi Foundation says it’s sold about 2.5 million units so far.
It’ll probably be at least another year or two before the group launches updated hardware, since there’s still an awful lot that educators, hobbyists, and others can do with the existing Raspberry Pi device.