Back in 2005, Simon Wilson – already well known for releasing driver software for a PCI TV card for use on the Iyonix, and responsible for Soundblaster drivers – released a 3D graphics driver for the computer, called IyonixMesa. With this installed, it became possible to make use of the 3D facilities provided by the graphics card used in the Iyonix, providing an OpenGL API.
Stefan Fröhling has been in touch to say that Simon has agreed to work with RISC OS Cloverleaf (whose Kickstarter has now reached £7,421 or €8,622) to create a modern equivalent for the RockChip RK3399 – a platform that Cloverleaf has in its sights, with work already well underway to get RISC OS itself working on it. The RK3399 features a Mali-T860 GPU, and the goal is to create a ‘Mesa 3D GPU’ driver for it, based on the Panfrost Mesa driver.
Simon has extensive experience in this type of work – as well as the RISC OS software already mentioned, he has worked for Qualcomm to port Android GPU drivers for the Snapdragon System-on-Chip devices, and Stefan notes that Simon’s commitment to this project is a perfect example of what they are trying to achieve; one of their goals is to motivate programmers to help further the development of RISC OS, encouraging them to make a welcome return to the platform if necessary.
The resulting software will be open source, according to Stefan, released under the MIT licence, and one aspiration of the project is to make the software available – with or without GPU support – for all RISC OS systems. The plan is to create a RISC OS module that will make the API available to any and all programming languages on the platform by way of SWI calls.
There are plans by Cloverleaf to produce an integrated development environment (IDE) for RISC OS, which they intend to call CodeCube – with some discussion on the RISC OS Open forums – and Stefan adds that support for the APIs will be included in that.
Anyone else with an interest in computer graphics and who may also be able to help is welcome to contact Cloverleaf to offer assistance, as their may be supporting tasks where additional help may prove useful.