Panfrost DRM Driver Being Added To Linux 5.2 For Midgard / Bifrost Graphics

ARM --

Not only is the longtime Lima DRM driver for Arm Mali 400/450 graphics set to finally premiere with the Linux 5.2 kernel, but the Panfrost DRM driver is also being mainlined for the newer Mali graphics hardware.

The Panfrost DRM driver is set to be added to the Linux 5.2 kernel. Panfrost is the open-source, reverse-engineered DRM/KMS driver for Arm Mali Midgard and Bifrost graphics processors where as the Lima driver focuses on the 400/450 series.

Since earlier this year Mesa has had the Panfrost Gallium3D driver, which provides basic OpenGL functionality and can pair with this DRM/KMS kernel driver for a fully-open and functioning driver stack for Bifrost/Midgard. Though before getting too excited, at this stage Panfrost is just running some basic games and the Kodi HTPC software.

Panfrost Gallium3D is getting closer to offering OpenGL ES 3.0 support, but still more work is ahead before it can offer similar GL functionality to Arm’s proprietary driver. Also, Panfrost doesn’t yet have any OpenCL or Vulkan API support, unlike the proprietary driver.

Nevertheless, for those looking forward to open-source Midgard/Bifrost support, this new driver has been added to drm-misc-next for queuing in DRM-Next until the Linux 5.2 kernel merge window opens in May.