a500 2d/3d video drivers variants

Linux development for the Acer A500/A501

a500 2d/3d video drivers variants

Postby opittri » 18 Oct 2017, 08:09

Hi,
Is there guide how to install the proprietary nvidia drivers, and where to find them. I tried installing them from the a500 tegraowners repo but on debian 9 rootfs it complains for missing dependency xorg-video-abi13, which I can not find too.
Also I noticed that the contrib/nonfree debian armhf has nvidia drivers but they look very much like the desktop ones at least they are named similarly. I did not tried them yet but they probably won't work.
And finally are there build instructions for the grate drivers, even if this includes GIT merge and recompiling the kernel?
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Re: a500 2d/3d video drivers variants

Postby digetx » 31 Oct 2017, 23:37

The original proprietary driver can be found here https://developer.nvidia.com/linux-tegra-rel-16

There is an instruction for the grate driver here https://gist.github.com/digetx/99d62b96 ... bd372a65e6 Although it's yet in progress..
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Re: a500 2d/3d video drivers variants

Postby opittri » 19 Nov 2017, 15:02

Tanks a lot !
I compiled and I am using the grate xorg, grate libdrm and the grate mesa variant. I am very happy with how they work. The overal 2d experience on the system is much fater after using them. I'm running inkscape and gimp and these also work much better with the grate drivers, great work !!
3d looks promising, so far I have run only glxgears but it will probably improve soon.

Some more info that can be helpful to other people that want to install (or build) these drivers on their linux on a500:

--without nvidia or grate draivers

My a500 is working in 2d mode on both ubuntu and debian 9 with some generic fbdev xorg driver (probably using vesa mode, not sure how it works).
Still the performace is much slower on all 2d drawing.

--nvidia proprietary drivers (my experience)

I have tried to install the nvidia proprietary drivers first, but it did not support my debian's xorg video ABI version. Because I am using latest stable debian 9 (If someone is interested I can write how I have installed debian 9 on a500), and because it uses latest xorg video ABI 23, nvidia'a proprietary drivers were no option. The maximum xorg abi supported is 14 which coresponds to xorg version 1.14.
For debian only the old old stable release 'wheezy' has old enough xorg version.
It is important to check your linux xorg version when you choose between the proprietary and grate drivers.
Another note is that for proprietary nvidia drivers you should build either the very old nvidia kernel port or install (you can also build it) the digitx's backport video kernel which is merged with the recent linux kernels.

--my experience with the grate driver.

First it is important to note that for grate you should install upstream linux kernel with the open source DRM tegra.
You should NOT install the backports video linux kernel or nvidia's port of the linux kernel (I did not tried this because it is very old linux version, but from my understanding it is what is backported in the backports video kernel variant.)

To summarize there are two options for accelerated video (otherwise you can still have working vesa video on a500):
--Nvidia proprietary drivers:
- pros - good 3d support
- cons - can not be installed on the modern linux distros and xorg (correct me if I am wrong), proprietary closed source
- dependencies - backport video kernel

--Open source grate driver:
- pros - good 2d acceleration support, minimal 3d acceleration, open source, works on modern linux distros and potentially on every new xorg version that will be released
- cons - still does not have full opengl 2.0 support, I can not find other cons :)
- dependenices - upstream video kernel (must be build with the tegra staging drm module)
Last edited by opittri on 20 Nov 2017, 22:46, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: a500 2d/3d video drivers variants

Postby digetx » 20 Nov 2017, 17:00

We haven't updated mesa in the grate's github for some time, currently it doesn't have working 3d. Right now you may take a look at Erik's https://github.com/kusma/mesa/tree/hacky-drawing-v13 and meanwhile I'm working on the missing DRM driver features which are holding us back. Thank you for trying out the drivers and for the detailed report ;)
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Re: a500 2d/3d video drivers variants

Postby opittri » 21 Nov 2017, 13:03

Thanks, I builded exactly this branch in his repo because, I noticed that it has the latest git commits. With it I get 3d accelerated graphics for at least glxgears. It is working very smooth even full screen, which is really cool.
Still I did not succeeded running other apps with it yet but it will be awesome if I manage to run the blender app on the a500. It throws error that opengl 2.1 is required.

BTW, I am very enthusiastic in helping you with development (even I have very limited amount of free time)
Do you have some developers forum or issue tracking system, for new developers wanting to help/contribute in the project?
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Re: a500 2d/3d video drivers variants

Postby digetx » 22 Nov 2017, 23:19

Currently only a very simple 3d workloads would work and we aren't doing any texturing yet.

Everything (code, wiki doc) is on github. We don't have any special forum and we aren't organized well, occasionally we are chatting on IRC. If you'd want to contribute some code, just open a pull request on github. If you'd want to ask something, contact us by any means. You may have noticed that development isn't going super fast, we don't have any time limits ;)
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