Fugio Friday: The Rabbit Hole

You may have noticed a slight break down in the regularity of these posts of late, which is due to too much work rather than a lack of it!

Those of you following Fugio’s progress will know that I’m working hard on supporting the Raspberry Pi as a primary platform.

Recently I got very excited due to the release of Raspbian Stretch, with it’s new experimental OpenGL driver that allows Fugio (and many other applications) to run accelerated graphics within the desktop windowed environment, which is how things work on Windows, Mac, and Linux.  This is what I was showing off at Ars Electronica a few weeks back.

The next stage was to add the code so Fugio could access the Raspberry Pi’s amazing media processing hardware for decoding and encoding H264 HD video, audio, and other tricks.  This is where things started to get tricky…

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks learning about how the new RPi driver, called VC4, plays with the existing systems, specifically the OpenMAX API’s for video decoding.  On the face of it, everything looked like it should play well together.

I won’t bore you by describing the interminable range of combinations I’ve tried, usually resulting in hour long compilations of Qt with different variations of OpenGL, but there were a lot!

Turns out that the new VC4 driver is incompatible with OpenMAX, and to further complicate things, the accelerated EGL/GLES libraries are now renamed to libbrcmEGL.so and libbrcmGLESv2.so, with the standard libEGL/libGLESv2 libraries being Mesa implementations with software rendering, so just disabling the VC4 driver doesn’t wholly fix the problem as Qt seems a bit hard coded to look for libEGL/libGLESv2.

So, now I’m a left a little confused as to what happens with OpenMAX under VC4.  Will it be replaced by something else or will it be made compatible?  If you know, please enlighten me 🙂

The current status for Fugio is that it’s working great under VC4, and is probably the best and easiest entry for users to get it running on a Pi.  While the OpenGL stuff works great, I can’t (yet) support accelerated media processing.  Therefore, I plan to do release Fugio on the Pi like this for now, which I plan to do in the next couple of weeks.

For my own projects where I need the acceleration, I’m planning to drop back to Raspbian Jessie and use the old drivers that are compatible with OpenMAX.

Anyway, that’s where we’re at.  I’m off to Birmingham, Dublin, and Paris next week…

PS: do please consider giving a bit of regular funding to help Fugio along via Patreon.  It really helps keep up the enthusiasm levels for working on open source software when hitting big roadblocks like this one.  Even 1$ a month is really appreciated, thanks!

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