Open-source Linux drivers for Tegra chips unlock 3D capability

Open-source Linux drivers for Tegra chips unlock 3D capability

Summary: Think Tegra is only for smartphones and tablets? Think again! New third-party drivers — which have been developed both with Nvidia's blessing and assistance — will help to give the platform a foot in the server room door.

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TOPICS: Hardware, Linux, Servers
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Third-party open-source drivers that unlock the 3D capability of Nvidia's Tegra processors have been released.

(Image: Nvidia)

The drivers, developed by a team from Avionic Design led by Thierry Reding, build upon an earlier driver project that gave developers access to the Tegra's gr2d engine. This project has had both the blessing of and backing from Nvidia.

"This small series of patches adds support for the 3D engine found on Nvidia Tegra SoCs," wrote Reding. "It builds on top of Terje's and Arto's host1x and gr2d patches. A couple of things still need to be done before this can be merged, though."

Nvidia has promised to open source its drivers, but progress has been slow and glacially slow thus far.

While these drivers are far from finished, they do provide a foundation on which other developers can build upon.

Open-source Linux drivers for Tegra silicon pave the way for the hardware to be leveraged in low-power server environments. This is good for Nvidia, since the company is betting on Tegra hardware as being the driver for significant revenue growth over the coming years. Getting this hardware supported by Linux is a step in the right direction and should help give it a foot in the server room door.

It is likely that 3D Tegra support will be rolled into the Linux 3.10 kernel.

Topics: Hardware, Linux, Servers

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8 comments
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  • I love Linux and probably always will, BUT

    Do you have it in writing that it will happen as you suggest?

    "It is likely that 3D Tegra support will be rolled into the Linux 3.10 kernel"

    I think as time passes it becomes even harder for any Linux to keep up. Their is just to MUCH fragmentation in the whole IT industry for all aspects to stay on top of everything as a whole.

    Just look at the problem W-8 has faced since launch.......IT as a whole is becoming a jack of all trades and a MASTER of none in my view.
    Over and Out
    • fragmentation

      Linux kernel is not that fragmented (Android and upstream will hopefully merge back together soon) , it's multiply rather versioned.
      Lock-in is the real problem to fear...
      eulampius
  • About time.

    Maybe, I'll actually buy a Nvidia video board next time.

    We will just have to see if they live up to it.
    jessepollard
  • Confused . . .

    I'm a bit confused . . . were they not doing 3D before? Seems odd that a 3D chip manufacturer wouldn't make 3D drivers for a 3D chipset :/.
    CobraA1
    • These are drivers for the Tegra chips

      Which are SoC mobile chipsets They are very different from the desktop graphics cards. Yes, 3D drivers for Nvidia and AMD video cards have been available for Linux on the x86 (32 and 64 bit) platform for years and years, but Tegra is not a x86 architecture, it is an ARM based architecture.

      These drivers will make it possible to do 3D graphics with virtually any flavour of Linux on virtually any ARM based device. We can already run Linux on virtually any ARM based device, but high speed 3D graphics needs these drivers.

      Linux is ahead of the curve here, as there is no version of Windows for ARM, with or without 3D, except the built-in version on Surface RT, which cannot be separated from, or acquired without, the Surface RT hardware.
      anothercanuck
      • Windows RT is not just for the Surface . . .

        "as there is no version of Windows for ARM, with or without 3D, except the built-in version on Surface RT, which cannot be separated from, or acquired without, the Surface RT hardware."

        Lenovo, Samsung, Dell, and Asus also have RT devices.

        "Linux is ahead of the curve here, as there is no version of Windows for ARM, with or without 3D . . ."

        You forgot Windows CE. Not quite as exciting as other OSes, but it does mean there's been a version of Windows for ARM since 1997. A small, embedded version that few people know about, but it's labelled "Windows" nonetheless. And it's had 3D support since 2004 (Direct3D Mobile; OpenGL ES support added in 2011).

        Anyhoo - I really do think that nVidia should be doing at least basic 3D from the beginning if they're to make Linux drivers.

        And I'm a *really* big fan of hardware manufacturers opening up their devices to third parties. Heck, that's why the x86 became so popular to begin with. Intel made (and still makes) their instruction set open for everybody to see. You could theoretically write a new OS for any x86 device even today if you wanted. It would be like creating the Great Wall of China all over again, but theoretically you can still do it.

        So yeah - I really think nVidia needs to be more open and make drivers from the beginning with 3D support.
        CobraA1
    • nVidia in the Manger

      nVidia's usual overly proprietary tactics very often deserves this
      http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/06/torvalds-nvidia-linux/.

      I'll explain it for you: when you have a proprietary driver with many issues you don't really bother fixing. Plus you won't open the specs of potentially good hardware for those who can, you'd get as a result that no one really knows if the hardware is any good at all. " A dog in the Manger" is a nice description of this, except that this dog should be interested to sell you their hay...
      So I prefer AMD and Intel.
      eulampius
  • Info here is so wrong...

    This driver is for Tegra2 only. Current Tegra3 is not supported.

    Nvidia back 2D development only. (No help for 3D)

    Nvidia ALREADY have drivers for Linux for thier Tegra offerings...............


    So Nvidia gain nothing but small improvement to its image in the eyes of kernel/graphic Linunx developers.
    przemoli