Check out our Monthly Survey Page to see what our users are running.

Open source 'Panfrost' driver for Mali GPUs gets initial GLES 3.0 support

By - | Views: 24,292

Do you have a system laying around rocking a Mali GPU (perhaps in a Chromebook)? The good news is Mesa just got experimental support for OpenGL ES (GLES) 3.0 to give them more advanced graphics support.

Writing on the Collabora blog, graphics hacker Alyssa Rosenzweig noted about the initial GLES 3.0 support landing in upstream Mesa today. They've added tons of new features to the Panfrost driver including: instanced rendering, primitive restart, uniform buffer objects, 3D textures and multiple render targets (on Mali T760 and up).

All of this together means some more modern games can run on these Mali chips, they've tested the classic open source racing game SuperTuxKart and mentioned how "SuperTuxKart's ES 3.0 non-deferred renderer now works with Panfrost".

SuperTuxKart running with Open GL ES 3.0 on Panfrost

They're also ensuring that GLES 3.0 continues to run smoothly with the Panfrost driver, as they've included it in their continuous integration infrastructure—meaning all changes got verified to ensure there's no major breakage happening.

If you wish to try it out, it will work with a mainline Linux kernel and the latest Mesa git code with the "PAN_MESA_DEBUG=gles3" environmental variable, just keep in mind it's all still experimental but it's fun to see more chips get their open source driver support further along. From what Collabora told me over a quick email chat you can find the Mali chips across Chromebooks with RK3288 and RK3399 SoCs, TV Boxes with Amlogic S912, Allwinner H6, and others with "T720, T760, T820 and T860" GPUs and more but those are just a few quick examples.

Read more on the blog post.

Article taken from
7 Likes, Who?
We do often include affiliate links to earn us some pennies. We are currently affiliated with GOG, Humble Store and Paradox Interactive. See more here.
About the author -
author picture
I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
See more from me

drlamb 27 Feb
View PC info
  • Supporter
Cannot wait for this change to trickle down into Manjaro ARM on my pinebook pro, currently running KDE paired with OpenGL 2.0/mesa-git on panfrost.

Last edited by drlamb on 27 February 2020 at 4:59 pm UTC
aokami 27 Feb
drlambCannot wait for this change to trickle down into Manjaro ARM on my pinebook pro, currently running KDE paired with OpenGL 2.0/mesa-git on panfrost.

That's what I was gonna say.

Has anyone tried any vulkan related application (as the pinebook pro Mali GPU is meant to support Vulkan 1.0 implementations)?
I obviously don't expect much performance but might come in handy to optimise a few basic rendering stacks here and there.

Last edited by aokami on 27 February 2020 at 6:58 pm UTC
elmapul 28 Feb
so, if the chip suport gles3, why the game looks like crap?
i know this game isnt perfect in the graphic department, but on this level, it should be better
ShabbyX 28 Feb
Or they could have just used ANGLE to get gles up to 3.1 over Vulkan.
mirv 28 Feb
View PC info
  • Supporter Plus
ShabbyXOr they could have just used ANGLE to get gles up to 3.1 over Vulkan.

Although I don't follow Mali developments quite so closely, they will likely get better performance out of a more native driver, even if it might be more work, and there's always the chance of extensions being added that won't be available through ANGLE.

That's purely a guess, but it's just to highlight that there can be reasons why it's not so simple as wrapping everything over Vulkan.
While you're here, please consider supporting GamingOnLinux on Patreon, Liberapay or Paypal. We have no adverts, no paywalls, no timed exclusive articles. Just good, fresh content. Without your continued support, we simply could not continue!

You can find even more ways to support us on this dedicated page any time. If you already are, thank you!

You need to Register and Login to comment, submit articles and more.

Or login with...