Great news today! Broadcom has decided to release as open source the graphics portion (VideoCore IV) of their BCM21553 SoC.
This is part of the tech used in the Raspberry Pi, which currently needs a large closed-source binary blob loaded to make everything work. While it doesn’t cover all the functionality the chip provides, it’s a fantastic step forward and provides a great opportunity for improving the integration, transparency and performance of RPi systems in the future. Also, it means you no longer need to purchase a license separately to get access to various features and performance.
Here is the post from Broadcom on the source release. Here’s the post from Raspberry Pi on their “birthday present.”
RPi is also offering a bounty for the first person who can successfully complete a challenge of running Quake III at a reasonable frame rate using the open source driver. See their post for more details on that.
Personally, I’m more excited about the possibilities that may open up for faster video transcoding and playing with GPU-boosted computation.