Ubuntu 11.10 on GK802/Hi802 mini PC with 2D/3D and Video Hardware Acceleration

You may remember an Ubuntu 11.10 image was released via Geekbuying early January, but this image would not boot on my Hi802, lacked 2D/3D acceleration, and to my knowledge there hasn’t been any update since then. So hope of proper Linux support on the device was fading, until the community discovered Freescale released patches for i.mx6 HDMI dongles, developers setup the imx6-dongle community, and after a lot of work, mainly by three members: Jasbir, Dmitriy (rz2k) and James, there’s now GPU and VPU support on Ubuntu 11.10.

Here’s a summary of the current status:

  1. Wifi working.
  2. External SD working
  3. Matched IOMUX configuration to align with the Android image.
  4. Stripped out unnecessary device initialisation from the original HDMI dongle source.
  5. Enabled EGL and GLES HW Acceleration in Ubuntu.
  6. Unity desktop might be partially HW accelerated (TBC)

Jasbir uploaded a video to YouTube to show the progress, and it looks pretty good. Firefox loads within a decent period of time, and embedded YouTube videos play fine,  Totem Player can play 720p videos (apparently with HW acceleration), glmark2-es2 is indeed using the GPU, and the system looks reasonably responsive.

The changes have not been pushed to the kernel tree just yet, but this will probably be done later this week. Jasbir explains there’s still more work to handle power management due to the lack of PMIC on the device. Once further progress has been done an image will certainly be released on imx6-dongle mailing list, Jasbir’s blog and this blog.

The system does not appear to be quite as responsive as Ubuntu 12.10 on ODROID-X / Exynos 4412, but I ran the later from an eMMC module which makes the loading times amazingly fast compared to a microSD card, and AFAIK although ODROID boards support 2D/3D hardware acceleration, they still lack hardware video decoding in Linux.

Needless to say this is great progress, and this should open the way to the development of multimedia applications (e.g. XBMC) on i.MX6 mini PCs. If you want to contribute to the development, or just follow its progress, feel free to join imx6-dongle IRC channel.

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