Feeds

Get Quake III running on Raspberry Pi using Broadcom's open-source GPU drivers, earn $10K

Full code and documentation offered for mobile graphics chip

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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 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 powered by 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.

Youtube Video

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]. ®

* The Raspberry Pi's processor package is really a VideoCore GPU with an ARM core conveniently bolted on the side. Thus, as things stand right now, a closed-source binary blob of GPU firmware provided via the Foundation is still needed to bring the board up and initialize the ARM core to run Linux or whichever OS you prefer. Once the ARM kernel is running, software can start poking registers in the VideoCore directly using the released source, it's understood. The closed blob also provides hardware-accelerated MPEG video decoding.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Ubuntu 14.10 tries pulling a Steve Ballmer on cloudy offerings
Oi, Windows, centOS and openSUSE – behave, we're all friends here
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.