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10 February 2012, 13:01

Open source driver for ARM's Mali graphics appears

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Lima driver logo

Lima is an open source driver for ARM's own Mali-200 and Mali-400 graphics chips as used in various systems-on-a-chip (SoC) containing Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9 ARM processors. SoCs of this type are found in a number of recent Android tablets and smartphones. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone has a Mali-400 present in its Exynos SoC.

By providing an open source driver for ARM GPUs, the developers are hoping to solve the problems caused by having only proprietary drivers available when developing Linux and Android for ARM systems. The GPLv2-licensed Lima driver is currently at an early stage of development and only has "some preliminary and highly experimental support". Eventually though, the project should be able to deliver a completely free software route to rendering 3D graphics on ARM hardware.

The developers of the driver are planning to add support for the latest Mali-T604 and Mali-T658 GPUs for Cortex-A15 SoCs as soon as devices containing these chips become available. The code is available from the project's gitorious site; a guide to acquiring hardware suitable for developing the Lima driver on is also available. Lima's development is sponsored by Codethink, a UK-based mobile and embedded device specialist.


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