Passing the reins on Panfrost

10 Apr 2023

Today is my last day at Collabora and my last day leading the Panfrost driver.

It’s been a wild ride.

In 2017, I began work on the chai driver for Mali T (Midgard). chai would later be merged into Lyude Paul’s and Connor Abbott’s BiOpenly project for Mali G (Bifrost) to form Panfrost.

In 2019, I joined Collabora to accelerate work on the driver stack. The initial goal was to run GNOME on a Mali-T860 Chromebook.

Huge success.

GNOME running on Panfrost in 2019

Today, Panfrost supports a broad spectrum of Mali GPUs, conformant to the OpenGL ES 3.1 specification on Mali-G52 and Mali-G57. It’s hard to overstate how far we’ve come. I’ve had the thrills of architecting several backend shader compilers as well as the Gallium-based OpenGL driver, while my dear colleague Boris Brezillon has put together a proof-of-concept Vulkan driver which I think you’ll hear more about soon.

Lately, my focus has been ensuring the project can stand on its own four legs. I have every confidence in other Collaborans hacking on Panfrost, including Boris and Italo Nicola. The project has a bright future. It’s time for me to pass the reins.

I’m still alive. I plan to continue working on Mesa drivers for a long time, including the common infrastructure upon which Panfrost relies. And I’ll still send the odd Panfrost patch now and then. That said, my focus will shift.

I’m not ready to announce what’s in store yet… but maybe you can read between the lines!

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