ODROID-N2+ SBC gets Ubuntu 21.10, Chromium OS with Panfrost open-source GPU driver

Panfrost open-source driver for Arm Mali Bifrost and Midgard GPUs has come a long way, and Hardkernel’s ODROID-N2+ board now supports Ubuntu 21.10 and Chromium OS with 3D graphics acceleration through the Panfrost driver.

As a reminder, ODROID-N2+ is a single board computer powered by an Amlogic S922X Rev.C processor clocked at 2.4GHz with an Arm Mali-G52 GPU, with up to 4GB RAM, and which comes with HDMI 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, four USB 3.0 ports, plus a GPIO header.

ODROID-N2+ with Ubuntu 21.10 + Panfrost

ODROID-N2+ running Ubuntu 21.10 with Panfrost

Ubuntu 21.10 Impish Indiri is supposed to be released on October 14, 2021 together with Gnome 40, but Hardkernel released a development version as early as August, with Linux 5.14 and Panfrost GPU acceleration as you can see from the screenshot above.

The Ubuntu 21.10 image for ODROID-N2+ and the earlier ODROID-N2 SBC cannot be found in the Wiki just yet, but should be there by October 14 or shortly after. A screenshot shows Ubuntu Impish Indri (development branch) or Ubuntu 21.10 booting from  Petitboot, but I could not find the image itself at this time.

ODROID N2 Plus Petitboot

Ubuntu 21.10 desktop OS with Panfrost should be well supported, as the open-source GPU driver has been officially part of the recent Mesa 20.3 and Debian 11 releases. I should also get an ODROID-N2+ board by the end of October to hopefully confirm that.

Chromium OS + Panfrost on ODROID N2+

Chromium OS on ODROID N2 + Panfrost

Besides the Ubuntu 21.10 image officially supported by Hardkernel, forum member “AreaScout” also prepared a Chromium OS image with the Panfrost driver running on ODROID-N2(+) SBC.

He explains he has successfully built and patched the Chromium browser to run Ozone-gbm abstraction layer with the Aura window system with Panfrost GPU drivers. Ozone is a platform abstraction layer beneath the Aura window system that is used for low-level input and graphics, and that supports the new X11-alternative window systems on Linux such as Wayland or Mir.

WebGL Aquarium 32 fps
WebGL aquarium demo rendering 32 fps with 500 fish

There’s no Chromium OS image yet perse, but you’ll find the instructions in the forum, which involves installing Debian 11 from Armbian website, the latest Mesa driver, and pre-compiled Chromium OS package, before starting Chromium in the command line. It feels more like Debian with Chromium browser, but as you’ll see from the video below, the Chromium OS interface is indeed running.

In the discussion, you’ll find some issues with getting the mouse cursor to work (now fixed), and the Google Play store does not work. I’m not sure the latter is really feasible on a non-official Chrome OS device.

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