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Raspberry Pi SoC drivers now fully open source

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The Raspberry Pi is now host to the “first ARM-based multimedia SoC with fully-functional, vendor-provided fully open-source drivers”, the organisation behind the credit-card sized computer said today.

The little PC uses the Broadcom BCM2835 SoC and the RaspberryPi Foundation’s lead Linux developer, Alex Bradbury, praised the chip maker’s decision to open its mobile GPU drivers. This is, he said, really big news and something many Pi programmers have been asking for from day one, and which the Foundation has been nagging for almost as long, if not longer.

“As of right now, all of the VideoCore driver code which runs on the ARM is available under a FOSS licence,” he said. To be completely accurate, he said, it’s a three-clause BSD licence.

One upshot: it will be a lot easier for fans of operating systems other than the Pi’s implementation of Linux to port their preferred OSes to the micro computer and take full advantage of the graphics core.

The source code is now available for download, too.

Within the Pi software architecture, the VCHIQ kernel driver is issued under BSD and GPL terms. Its EGL, OpenMAX, OpenGL ES and OpenVG drivers are BSD licensed. The Pi’s GPU firmware remains available only in binary form. ®

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