The Khronos Group has officially certified the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B family of single-board computers as conforming to the full OpenGL for Embedded Systems (OpenGL ES) 3.1 specification — though the updated software required has yet to make it to the Raspbian operating system.
The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, launched last year, brought with it the first new graphics processor in the single-board computer family’s history: a Broadcom VideoCore-VI, a considerable upgrade from the VideoCore-IV that had been powering every model through to the very first Raspberry Pi Model B. The new GPU included the ability to run dual 4k displays via a pair of micro-HDMI connectors, but some of its functionality was locked behind missing drivers; late last year outgoing graphics driver developer Eric Anholt and incoming maintainer Igalia announced the unlocking of OpenGL ES 3.1 Compute and Geometry Shader support, filling in two of the big gaps.
At the time, Igalia confirmed it was working on a fully-standard-compliant OpenGL ES 3.1 implementation. “We are currently hard at work squashing the last few bugs exposed by the Khronos Conformance Test Suite,” Igalia developer Iago Toral claimed at the time, “and we hope to be ready to merge this functionality in the next major Mesa release, so look forward to it!”
Now, the Khronos Group behind the OpenGL family of standards has confirmed that the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is officially conformant to the standard. “Thanks to all our friends at the Khronos Group and Igalia for their help in getting this done,” Raspberry Pi Foundation co-founder Eben Upton writes via Twitter.
That the Raspberry Pi 4 and its VideoCore-VI GPU have passed conformance testing is only part of the story, however: The changes required for conformance have been submitted as part of the Mesa project, and are at the time of writing available only to those using the very latest upstream Mesa. Upton has confirmed that the plan is to bring that version of Mesa to Raspbian, the Foundation’s official Linux distribution, but that availability will require that “Mesa and its dependency set does not diverge excessively from the [Raspbian] Buster baseline.”
Upton also confirms that work on certifying conformance to OpenGL ES 3.2 is ongoing, though paused: “We have an implementation of [geometry shading],” he writes, “but have paused [tessellation] while we look at other things.”