The Raspberrry Pi Foundation announced some big news today. They've released full source code for the Broadcom BCM2835 SoC used on the Raspberry Pi board under a GPL-compatible BSD style license, meeting the guidelines of both Open Source Initiative and Free Software Foundation. This includes code for the VideoCore GPU and is the first time ever that a vendor has provided a full set of open source drivers for an ARM-based multimedia SoC. Access to the GPU should provide robot builders with much needed additional processing power for neural networks, vision, and other applications. Read on for a block level view of the software stack and more details.
This code will not only benefit Raspberry Pi users but will make its way back upstream into the Linux kernel and will eventually improve things for a wide range of GNU/Linux systems including Android. This is a big win for software freedom. Alex Bradbury from the Raspberry Pi Foundation news release:
Aside from being exciting to FOSS enthusiasts for philosophical reasons, it’s also going to make it much easier for third party developers to (for instance) implement Wayland EGL client and EGL server support, or to provide better integration of GLES/VG with X.Org. We look forward to working with the relevant communities on this. It should also now be easier, with appropriate cleanup, to get the vchiq messaging system integrated in to the upstream Linux kernel, which is another goal we are keen to work with the community on achieving.
We look forward to reporting on open source robot-specific applications that build on the Raspberry Pi's new GPU code. So if you develop something interesting, send a report!
CC-licensed Raspberry Pi photo by flickr user GijsbertPeijs