Freedreno: Google wants to Mainline Linux Support for Snapdragon 845

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The Adreno 630 Qualcomm gets Mainline support. (Image: Qualcomm)

Together with manufacturer of Qualcomm, Google wants to integrate an important part of the graphics driver for the Snapdragon 845 in the main branch of Linux. Reason for this could be better Android support, a Chromebook or just a change in thinking at Qualcomm.

The Top Smartphones of the year 2018 will use a Snapdragon 845 from Qualcomm. The Android drivers are based on the current long-term kernel 4.14, however, in a Downstream variant. That is to say, Qualcomm, Google and others maintain the driver itself and externally from the Rest of the Kernel Community, which has so far always have problems with Android Updates. That’s about to change, apparently, fundamentally.

Like Sean Paul on Google for the Chromium project, writes on the Mailing list of the Linux graphics driver developer, it is important to first Display Support for the Snapdragon 845 in the so-called Mainline Kernel, so in the main branch of the Linux-development. The developer, Paul is aware that the Code may not be included in his current state. The Team wants to bring the drivers but in the coming months “in shape”.

Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 845 integrated graphics unit Adreno 630 referred to as the Visual Processing Subsystem, has, in addition to the graphic computing works on a unit for video acceleration, as well as the output unit DPU, for the available drivers thought. The driver contains support for the Crtc, Connector, Encoder, and Plan (for Details, see the Kernel documentation), as well as other features including two DSI-driver, HDCP, Display Port Audio, USB-C Alternate Mode Displayport or USB Power Delivery, USB-C connector. The Work is comparable to the Display-Core for AMD GPUs, since Linux 4.15 in the Mainline Kernel is available.

Better Upstream Driver

The exact reasons why Qualcomm the Code with the help of Google and the Community is now in the Mainline Kernel wants to integrate, we can only speculate. You may want to benefit in the long term, the quality of Drivers in Android. Another likely reason is the Google desired, and in part, is strictly assumed Mainline could be support for its Chromebooks. At least one Board with the Snapdragon 845 can be found in the sources of the operating system of Google.

In addition, the Linux developer Rob Clark, who initiated the free Adreno driver, Freedreno has written, a few days ago, a lot of good things about Qualcomm. Together with the Linaro consortium, the company has invested in the past years, a great deal of work in the support. Clark describes this development as follows: “Without a lot of fuss Snapdragon of a hope has become a dead-end case (from the Upstream perspective) to one of the better supported platforms!”

In addition to the DPU-Code GPU driver has already been published-the Code for the Adreno-600-series. Yet Clark does not have the necessary Hardware to Test and to Create the corresponding user-space implementation, which is why the Patches not in the Mainline Kernel are available.