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Graphics: Open-Source Qualcomm Graphics Support, Advances in Mesa Continuous Integration and Status Update for Virgl

  • Open-Source Qualcomm Graphics Support Continues Flourishing With Freedreno
    When it comes to open-source ARM graphics drivers, the Raspberry Pi / VC4 effort and Freedreno continue to be the two best examples of fully open-source graphics driver coverage including 3D support. Freedreno has been attracting contributions from Qualcomm / CodeAurora in what started out as solely a community reverse-engineered effort and with the latest-generation Adreno 600 series hardware the open-source support is in great shape.
  • Advances in Mesa continuous integration
    Continuous integration (CI) has become increasingly prevalent in open-source projects over the last few years. Intel has been active in building CI systems for graphics, both for the kernel side and for the Mesa-based user-space side of the equation. Mark Janes and Clayton Craft gave a presentation on Intel's Mesa CI system at the 2018 X.Org Developers Conference (XDC), which was held in A Coruña, Spain in late September. The Mesa CI system is one of the earliest successful CI initiatives in open source that he knows of, Janes said. It is a core component of Mesa development, especially at Intel. Like many companies, Intel is a large organization with an "old school development model". He likened it to a Roman army, where there are legions that are made up of smaller groups, each of which has procedures for all of its activities; tents are set up and arranged the same way each time. When Intel first encountered Mesa development, it was something of a shock. There were no architects in the group, but the Mesa developers were simply running right through the Intel army.
  • A status update for virgl
    At the 2018 X.Org Developers Conference, Elie Tournier gave an update on the state of the Virgil (or virgl) virtual 3D GPU for QEMU. He looked at the project's history along with what has happened with it over the last year or so. As is usual in a status update talk, he finished with some thoughts about future plans for virgl. For the last year, Tournier has been working on virgl for Collabora. Virgil began as a Dave Airlie side project four or five years ago. Tournier recommended a YouTube video of a 2014 linux.conf.au talk that Airlie gave as a good starting point. It is meant to be a way for guests running in a virtual machine (VM) to access the host GPU using OpenGL and other APIs. It is based on Gallium3D, because Airlie was familiar with that architecture, Tournier said. It has reached the stage where it is ready for use in products. A company is currently building a project using it; in addition, QEMU is using virgl to allow Windows guests to access the GPU. Overall, virgl is in pretty good shape, he said.

Raspbian Linux distribution updated, but with one unexpected omission

Those last two are the ones that really produced some excitement in the Raspberry Pi community. Just look at that next to last one... so innocent looking... but then go and look at the discussion in the Pi Forums about it. For those who might not be familiar with it, Mathematica (and the Wolfram language) is a technical computing system that is very widely used in both education and industry. It has been included on the Raspberry Pi since the beginning, and when you consider that a normal "desktop" license costs €160 for a "student", or €345 for "home and hobby", it's an exceptionally good deal to get it for free with a $35 Raspberry Pi. That makes it a bit easier to understand why some users would be upset about it being removed. Read more

Games: Kingdom Rush Origins, Jackbox Games, Gaming on the Latest Ubuntu

2nd New MakuluLinux Release Offers Flash and Substance

The MakuluLinux Flash distro is splashy and fast with a spiffy new look and new features. MakuluLinux developer Jacque Montague Raymer on Thursday announced the second of this year's three major releases in the Series 15 distro family. The Flash edition follows last month's LinDoz edition release. The much-awaited innovative Core edition will debut between the end of November and mid-December. MakuluLinux is a relatively new Linux OS. Its positive reputation has been developing since 2015. The three-year growth spurt involved a variety of desktop environments. Its small developer team has delivered a surprisingly efficient and productive desktop distribution in a relatively short time period. It is unusual to see a startup rise so quickly to offer an innovative and highly competitive computing platform. Series 15 is not an update of last year's editions. This latest release introduces some radical changes that were under development for the last two years. The Series 15 releases of LinDoz and Flash include a complete rip-and-replace rebuild on top of an in-house developed computing base. LinDoz and Flash have been reworked completely from the ground up. Read more