Eben Upton Announces Official Raspberry Pi 4 VideoCore VI Open Source Vulkan Graphics Driver Effort

Currently at the "first triangle" stage of development, the Vulkan driver could unlock new performance from the VideoCore VI GPU.

The first step in a Vulkan driver: a triangle. (📷: Eben Upton)

Eben Upton, co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, has announced the first step along the path to an open source Vulkan graphics driver for the Raspberry Pi 4 family.

Following on from the announcement that the Raspberry Pi 4 range, which is the first device to make use of Broadcom's VideoCore VI graphics processor, is now officially OpenGL ES 3.1 conformant, Upton has announced that work has begun on producing an open source driver to support the Khronos Group's Vulkan graphics application programming interface (API) — created to offer lower-level control and increased efficiency over OpenGL.

"The 'first triangle' image is something of a VideoCore graphics tradition: while I arrived at Broadcom too late to witness the VideoCore III version, I still remember the first time James and Gary were able to get a flawless, single-tile, RGB triangle out of VideoCore IV in simulation," explains Upton.

"Before you get too excited, remember that this is just the start of the development process for Vulkan on Raspberry Pi. While there have been community efforts in the direction of Vulkan support (originally on VideoCore IV) as far back as 2018, Igalia has only been working on this new driver for a few weeks, and we still have a very long development roadmap ahead of us before we can put an actual driver in the hands of our users. So don’t hold your breath, and instead look forward to more news from us and Igalia as they make further development progress."

No timescale has been provided for a public driver release.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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