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Raspberry Pi display drivers go fully open source

Foundation touts first full, vendor-provided, open source ARM multimedia SoC

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The Raspberry Pi Foundation announced yesterday that the Broadcom display hardware used in its flagship Raspberry Pi system board is now the first ARM-based system-on-a-chip to use open source drivers provided entirely by the vendor.

What this means, as a matter of practicality, is that developers will have an easier time translating popular open-source software into versions for the Raspberry Pi. The source code is now available at a new GitHub repository.

"We've been excitedly following the progress of FreeBSD, NetBSD, Plan9, RISC OS, Haiku and others. All these projects could now potentially port these libraries and make use of the full hardware accelerated graphics facilities of the Raspberry Pi," said the foundation's lead Linux developer, Alex Bradbury.

Bradbury also thanked Broadcom "for being the first vendor to take this step forward," characterising the move as an important one for embedded Linux as a community.

Even some of the most notable open source projects contain some proprietary code. One example is Google's Android mobile OS - while the operating system itself is open, some of Google's own apps are proprietary, as are the hardware drivers used on stock devices.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation was also recently in the news for upping the amount of RAM included on the credit-card sized system board from 256GB to 512GB, while keeping the price tag the same. With open architecture and more memory, the group seems to be intent on continually evolving the product.



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