Vulkan Driver Is Coming To Raspberry Pi
Written by David Conrad   
Monday, 03 February 2020

If you are not a graphics expert then the headline might not make much sense, but Vulkan is the next generation replacement for OpenGL and work has started on a driver for the Pi.

As an OpenGL user I was more excited by the news that the Pi 4 has a driver that is OpenGL ES 3.1 conformant - as proved by the Khronos test suit. The latest version of OpenGL ES is 3.2, but it is still good.

For me Vulkan is partly a mystery and partly a promise for the future. I know OpenGL and I can see that Vulkan fills the same need and does somethings better, but I would prefer something more abstracted from the hardware. Still Vulkan is all over Android and it would be good to have an implementation on the Pi if only for experimentation.

Recently Eben Upton announced the the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Broadcom have hired open-source consultancy Igalla to work on a Vulkan driver for the Pi 4. It is early days, but they already have implemented enough to create an RGB triangle:

vulkan

There isn't any chance of implementing Vulkan on earlier versions of the Pi because the GPU doesn't support all of the features needed.

It is a start but:

"Before you get too excited, remember that this is just the start of the development process for Vulkan on Raspberry Pi. While there have been community efforts in the direction of Vulkan support (originally on VideoCore IV) as far back as 2018, Igalia has only been working on this new driver for a few weeks, and we still have a very long development roadmap ahead of us before we can put an actual driver in the hands of our users. So don’t hold your breath, and instead look forward to more news from us and Igalia as they make further development progress."

Currently there is no access to the code, but there is a promise that it will be made available later. If you are eager to try it out then you will have to hang on for six months or so:

"We’ll run a public beta once we can run a useful subset of programs. Probably in the second half of this year."

More Information

Vulkan is coming to Raspberry Pi: first triangle

Related Articles

Vulkan 1.0 3D Graphics API Now Available

Vulkan For Android 

The New OpenGL - Vulkan and SPIR-V 

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Last Updated ( Monday, 03 February 2020 )