Collabora’s Panfrost Open-Source Driver Gets OpenGL 3.1 Support on Mali GPUs

Panfrost OpenGL ES 3.0

Collabora’s Mark Filion informs 9to5Linux today about their latest work on the Panfrost open-source graphics driver for Mali embedded GPUs, which received desktop OpenGL 3.1 support.

The big news Collabora wants to share with us is the fact that they’ve added desktop OpenGL 3.1 support in the open source Panfrost graphics driver for Midgard (Mali T760 and newer) and Bifrost GPUs, which will be available for most GNU/Linux distribution as part of the upcoming Mesa 21.0 open source graphics stack.

This work follows on the footsteps of the initial OpenGL ES 3.0 support on Midgard GPUs added last year to the Panfrost driver as part of the Mesa 20.0 graphics stack series. This implemented new features like 3D textures, uniform buffer objects, instanced rendering, as well as multiple render targets on Mali T760 GPUs and higher.

On the other hand, desktop OpenGL 3.1 support leverages common infrastructure in the Mesa graphics stack to provide users of Mali GPUs with native support, reduced CPU overhead, as well as support for 3D apps to use some of the hidden features of the hardware, such as alpha testing, explicit primitive restart indices, and quadrilaterals.

“Mesa’s shared code also extends to OpenCL support via Clover,” said Collabora in their blog post. “Once a driver supports compute shaders and sufficient compiler features, baseline OpenCL is just a few patches and a bug-fixing spree away.”

For those not in the known, the open source Panfrost graphics driver currently supports Mali Midgard and Bifrost GPUs that can be found in various popular ARM boards. However, Collabora says that both desktop OpenGL 3.1 and OpenGL ES 3.0 support is not provided in conformity with Mesa’s standards as it doesn’t pass all tests yet.

If you want to test OpenGL 3.1 support on your Mali GPU, you’ll have to download and compile the first Release Candidate (RC) of the upcoming Mesa 21.0 graphics stack from this mailing list announcement. The production-ready Mesa 21.0 series will be available sometime in early February according to the proposed release schedule.

Image credits: Collabora

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