Faster graphics, better browsing - Raspberry Pi

Faster graphics, better browsing

Helping the Raspberry Pi Foundation transform desktop performance

A lot of hardware, particularly in the media/embedded/mobile space, ships with powerful special-purpose graphics hardware, aside from the usual OpenGL ES. Up until now, this special-purpose hardware has been generally unused.

2D graphics composition

The work Collabora has done with the Weston open source and Raspberry Pi, using only its dedicated 2D compositing hardware, is a fantastic example of what we can do with the Open Source Wayland project and low-power platforms in general, without having to rely on specialized 3d hardware. To make Wayland on the Raspberry Pi actually usable, a desktop shell was needed. Lightweight desktop environments (like LXDE) do not support Wayland and normal desktops (like GNOME and KDE) are too demanding. This meant Collabora had to write a new desktop shell for the Raspberry Pi. Thus the Maynard open source project was born.


With graphics working properly on Raspberry Pi, the goal of the foundation was to provide the best web browsing experience possible, including responsive navigation and scrolling, multiple tabs support and smooth 720p videos (including YouTube). To allow for this we improved the support for hardware video decoding and scaling, optimized the memory footprint and the response to low memory conditions and optimized CPU usage.

These engagements with the Raspberry Pi Foundation illustrate Collabora's hardware enablement capabilties.

"We’ve made the decision to bypass X completely. We’ve been working with our friends at Collabora to implement the open-source Wayland composition protocol on top of the BCM2835 hardware video scaler (HVS)."Eben Upton - Director, Raspberry Pi Foundation
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