The Raspberry Pi foundation has announced the open sourcing of its VideoCore driver code which runs on the ARM chips. The foundation has chose a more permissive 3-Clause BSD licence for the driver code. The source is available from the foundation’s new userland repository on GitHub.
… The BCM2835 used in the Raspberry Pi is the first ARM-based multimedia SoC with fully-functional, vendor-provided (as opposed to partial, reverse engineered) fully open-source drivers, and that Broadcom is the first vendor to open their mobile GPU drivers up in this way. We at the Raspberry Pi Foundation hope to see others follow.
That’s fine for developers but how does it matter to an average Raspberry Pi user? It does. The Raspberry Pi post explains:
..it is going to make it much easier for third party developers to (for instance) implement Wayland EGL client and EGL server support, or to provide better integration of GLES/VG with X.Org.
We look forward to working with the relevant communities on this. It should also now be easier, with appropriate cleanup, to get the vchiq messaging system integrated in to the upstream Linux kernel, which is another goal we are keen to work with the community on achieving.
It also matters a lot for BSD and other platforms. Now projectss like FreeBSD, NetBSD, Plan9, RISC OS, Haiku and others could “potentially port these libraries and make use of the full hardware accelerated graphics facilities of the Raspberry Pi.”