CHIP DESIGNER Nvidia now has an open source driver for the 3D graphics engine in its Tegra system on chip (SoC) processors.
Nvidia's Tegra SoCs are already capable of running Linux based operating systems such as Google's Android but now the firm's chips have received further support. Thierry Reding, a developer at Avionic Design released a series of patches that give developers access to the Tegra gr3d engine.
Previously Nvidia had already released an open source driver for the Tegra gr2d engine, but through the work of Reding's team developers now have access to the 3D engine too.
Reding said, "This small series of patches adds support for the 3D engine found on Nvidia Tegra SoCs. 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 is slowly moving towards open sourcing its drivers but it has been a slow and for developers, a painful journey. The firm has said it will invest over a third of its annual research and development budget on Tegra and it is widely seen as the company's big hope for future revenue growth.
Open source drivers for Nvidia's Tegra SoCs will become increasingly important as the firm moves the chips towards GPGPU applications. Nvidia has already said that future versions of the Tegra 5 'Logan' chip will run CUDA code, which could make it particularly interesting as an ARM based GPGPU accelerator in servers.
Although the work of Reding's team doesn't necessarily create a usable final driver for consumers, it will allow driver developers to quickly iterate the development cycle and get to operational drivers that one day might even end up in the mainline Linux kernel. µ