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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ROCK 5 ITX RK3588 mini-ITX motherboard

27 Replies to “Rock Pi 4 SBC Runs GNOME & KDE Plasma using Panfrost Open Source GPU Driver & Wayland”

    1. Give it another decade or so it’ll work as well as generic cheap “gamer” hardware has worked for ages.

      1. Not sure I follow. We’re discussing this new GLES stack here. The hw already works ‘as well as generic cheap gamer hw has worked for ages’ via vendor blobs.

        1. >We’re discussing this new GLES stack here.

          Yes exactly. If you’re lucky in a decade or so this stuff will work well enough outside of Android for it not to crash when you decide to draw a line at an angle in some CAD package. Just in time for Linux on the desktop to happen.

          >via vendor blobs.

          Does that come with a kernel that’s been dropped from LTS for free too?

          1. It depends: out of my 5 chromebooks & SBCs doing GPU via vendor blobs, one chromebook has dropped LTS support. I paid $200 for it 2 years ago, but google will update it for 3 more years, which is great, as it’s still my daily ride, doing absolutely everything I throw at it. Does that meet your criteria?

          2. >Does that meet your criteria?

            Dunno mate. Fire up steam and run a few native games or some proton supported ones and tell me how well that goes.

          3. But do I need to fire up steam, mate? Can I fire up GooglePlay Store? Since you know, last game I spent a year worth of play time is on GPS, and not on steam.

          4. >The hw already works ‘as well as generic cheap gamer hw has worked for ages
            >Can I fire up GooglePlay Store?


  1. Question, just how much per GPU royalty or licence would arm have to add to just release generic drives. Just like Nvidia and AMD do for their GPU?

    1. >Question, just how much per GPU royalty or licence would arm have to add to just release generic drives.

      I can’t find the page anymore but ARM said they don’t/didn’t do opensource drivers because there isn’t market demand for it. Google should have enforced open drivers around Android 4 or 5 to bait ARM into releasing drivers and chip vendors into not randomly changing stuff/breaking random stuff. But they didn’t so now alongside maintaining old shit kernel’s they have to maintain qualcomms awful wifi driver and hope they can continue to get GPU drivers for all of the old junk they pretend to support.

  2. Where can I buy it? Last time I checked there was no way getting it anywhere near the advertised price???

        1. The problem is that if you buy in Europe you can VAT and all taxes included. Maybe a better option is to go with AllNetChina in China, where prices are the same as advertised, but depending where you live you may be hit with customs duties and/or VAT.

          1. Hi Jean-Luc

            Unfortunately allnet china doesn’t seem to deliver to europe unless this changed recently. Tax is not my primary concern, as thats less than 10%, postal fees for customs clearing are near about another 20$, but that’s ok, also shipping costs. That you all face from aliexpress as well as from any german reseller. But if theres a markup already of around 35 $ before import or an artificial limitation on shipping countries then I feel radxa doesn’t want to sell truely worldwide, and I have to let my money with other suppliers. Even though I doubt it will hurt them too much 😉

            Have a nice weekend guys!

          2. Please have a look at, or Price-span from 50 € (1 GB) to 110 € (4GB, SET).

        2. If you have a look at, then you will find RockPI 4’s from about 50 € (1 GB) to nearly 110 € (4 GB, Set), distributed by or as the cheapest.

          1. Voelkner is €103.50 for a unit advertised as $75
            I liked this statement: Wir liefern ausschließlich nach Deutschland – so no use for me

  3. Has anyone been able to run the pre-built image? I’ve copied the img.xz file on a SD card with Etcher but it doesn’t boot…

    1. Doesn’t boot mate going to try a compile now on ubuntu as was more interested in the V4L2 they have done as can get the rockpi4 running via a mainline install.

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Khadas VIM4 SBC
Khadas VIM4 SBC