VideocoreIV Glamor on your Raspberry Pi
Running an X (Xorg) server on your Raspberry Pi is frustrating. You can either use the fbdev or fbturbo driver which will give an un-accelerated 2D environment with swrast 3D (OpenGL) all beating your poor RPi’s CPU. Overclocking it will only help you so much which is a pity considering that there is another layer on the SoC that would be perfect for that but is now unused.
Enter the VideocoreIV (VC4) and Eric Anholt (formally of Intel, now of Broadcom), who are going to breath new life into the RPi. The idea is to offload the 2D rendering, via Glamor, to the VC4 with OpenGL calls. Since a OpenGL stack needs to exist, that means there will be a Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) Linux kernel module and Gallium/DRI module in Mesa.
This is happening now, here is the current status of support via the Piglit test-suite: skip 19102, fail 3866, pass 3146, crash 153, total 26267
Development on the Raspberry Pi
Now that I’m a proud owner of a Raspberry Pi, I’ve being really stressing the little guy. There is only but so much a ARMv6 processor, on an microSD with only 512MiB of ram can do, which means that compiling on such a machine is going to take a really long time.
Take for example OpenMW, currently it takes about 4 minutes on a quad-core i7 to compile. You’re in for a treat on the Pi, it will take you at least a day, two days if you realize that half-way through the OOM Killer came through and killed your cc process. This is about the time you start wondering about various ways to improve the situation, such as a larger swap file or using zram.
At this point, I was wondering about other ways compiling binaries and packages for the Pi. There was cross-compiling, but then I would have to set up a full toolchain and recompile all the packages from scratch. That will have to be for another post though as it is another world. Another option is to try virtualizing the Pi and apparently QEMU gets us pretty darn close.
Introducing WildMIDI version 0.3.2
After several years of silence, There is now a new version of WildMIDI! Chris “Wildcode” Ison seems to have fallen off the planet around February of 2012 and the bug reports and patches have been accumulating on his SourceForge page. I decided to dump his SVN repository to github and continue hacking where he left off. We are still very much 100% API/ABI compatible and new versions can be considered drop-in replacements. We will continue to be open to developers that wish to improve WildMIDI but keep in mind that our goal is to be small and fast. We also wish Chris the very best and want very much for him to rejoin the project.
There have been a lot of changes since WildMIDI 0.2.3.5, mostly involving our new build system.
Debian Package Maintenance
I’ve been there before with Gentoo, as a developer, but times and situations have changed. Over the years I’ve been deeply involved with Ubuntu for my work and at its heart, Debian. I’ve become a Debian Developer to help get closer to the development process, package management and maintenance to do my share of the heavy lifting.
The first thing I did was sign up at Alioth, a software ‘forge’ used by Debian for collaboration. Create a ‘New Account’ and just be aware that whatever login name you use, it will be appended with ‘-guest’. This will go away once you’ve officially joined Debian. At this point, it is also a good idea join a Debian mailing list and/or join IRC at irc.debian.org and have a nice chat with the folks in #Debian or their various sub-channels where you would like to help. It is important to have a sponsor/mentor that can help you out if you a problem. You will need them when getting accepted into the Debian community in order to start working.
Wireless BCM4312 with the 3.10, 3.11, 3.12 and 3.13 kernels
The hybrid driver from Broadcom was updated again in September (2013) with all the previous patches and a few other fixes as well. This brings them up to support linux kernel 3.9, which is very much welcome.
Sadly it breaks again with >= 3.10 with many warnings and errors which isn’t good considering that Ubuntu (13.10) Saucy Salamander is about to be released.
We do have a patch for you though that gets us working again up to the 3.11 kernel.
Chipsets supported by “Broadcom’s IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n hybrid Linux® device driver” are: BCM4311, BCM4312, BCM4313, BCM4321, BCM4322, BCM43224, BCM43225, BCM43227 and BCM43228.