Rock Pi 4 SBC Runs GNOME & KDE Plasma using Panfrost Open Source GPU Driver & Wayland

One of the highlights of Linux 5.2 release was support for two new Arm Mali GPU open-source drivers, namely Lima for Mali-4xx GPU, and Panfrost for the Midgard Mali-T6xx/7xx/8xx series, and the more recent Bifrost Mali-Gxx GPUs.

Collabora worked on the release and was donated a few Rock Pi 4 boards from Radxa directly to work on the project. For those who are not familiar, Rock Pi 4 board is powered by a Rockchip RK3399 processor with a Mali-T860MP4 GPU that is supported by Panfrost open source GPU driver.

Rock Pi 4 KDE Plasma Panfrost
KDE Plasma on Rock Pi 4 – Click to Enlarge

The company managed to have Debian 10 Buster running on Rock Pi 4 using 3D graphics acceleration thanks to Panfrost drivers on both GNOME and KDE Plasma desktop environment, as well as Weston Wayland compositer.

The good news is that you can build Rock Pi 4 images by yourself using Debos with the following commands:

Alternatively, you could directly download pre-built images directly with Weston and Panfrost. You can login with Debian as username and password to a Weston session from which you should install KDE Plasma 5 or GNOME depending on your preference.

RK3399 Panfrost GNOME
GNOME with Panfrost on RK3399 SBC – Click to Enlarge

The good news does not stop here, as Collabora also worked a V4L2 driver for the Hantro G1 video codec used in RK3288 and RK3399 SoC’s, which will also hardware-accelerated video playback in mainline Linux. More details about the V4L2 drivers will be shared in a future post on Collabora.

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