Yesterday was a big day for embedded Linux and Open-Source. While I was reading what’s new via RSS feeds, I came across a slashdot article: “Raspberry Pi goes Open-Source”. As I have mentioned before, some of the Linux running on Raspberry Pi is closed source/proprietary. One of the big gripes in the open-source community is the secrecy about video hardware. Understandably, video chip manufactures want to protect their IP (Intellectual Property)—to the point of not describing what the registers in the chip do. Really, how much of it is novel? True, one could reverse engineer the GPU easier with this information. Consequently, most of the FOSS graphics drivers are reversed engineered anyway and considering that a new graphics core is released every year, is this really necessary? Okay, I’m sure you get my opinion at this point.
In short, Raspberry Pi has worked with Broadcom to Open Source ARM userland, which is a huge step because it is the first vendor to open their mobile GPU. Hopefully, other vendors will follow. Get the source for the VideoCore via GIT. Do you see anything novel in the source? If you believe in open-source, thank Broadcom for this contribution.