PowerVR is other way to say headless

Yesterday Acer announced convertible Chromebook R13, first MediaTek powered Chromebook. With AArch64 cpu cores. And PowerVR GPU.

As it was in the evening I did not notice PowerVR part and got excited. Finally some AArch64 Chromebook which people will be able to buy and do some development on. Specs were nice: 4GB of memory, 16/32/64GB of emmc storage, 13.3″ FullHD touchscreen display. But why they use that GPU :((

There are few graphics processing units in ARM/AArch64 world. Some of them have FOSS drivers (Ardeno, Tegra, Vivante), some are used with 2D units (Mali) and some just sucks (PowerVR).

Mali is kind of lost case as no one works on free driver for it (so-called “lima” looks like ARM Ltd secret task to get people from trying to do anything) but as it is paired with 2D unit users have working display. And there are binary blobs from ARM Ltd to get 3D acceleration working.

But PowerVR? I never heard about anyone working on free driver for it. I remember that it was used in Texas Instruments OMAP line. And that after few kernel releases it just stopped working when TI fired whole OMAP4 team so no one worked on getting it working with binary blobs.

So now MediaTek used it to make cpu for Chromebook… Sure it will work under ChromeOS as Google is good at keeping one kernel version for ages (my 2012 Samsung Chromebook still runs 3.8.11 one) so blobs will work. But good luck with it under other distributions and mainline kernel.

Heh, even Raspberry/Pi has working free driver nowadays…