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Press release: Collabora Brings Wayland...

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Guy Lunardi
May 23, 2013

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Collabora Brings Wayland and X11 Graphics Performance to Raspberry Pi

Ability to run X11 and Wayland clients on Raspberry Pi effectively with low CPU and memory consumption.

CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND - (May 23, 2013) - The Raspberry Pi Foundation and Collabora today announce that they have been working together in order to improve the graphics software capabilities of the Raspberry Pi. The collaboration between the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Collabora enables graphically intensive applications to run with low CPU and memory consumption.

The Raspberry Pi has powerful special-purpose graphics hardware components capable of overlaying and compositing independently of the CPU. Aligned with the ongoing developments in the open source community, The Raspberry Pi Foundation and Collabora are pleased to announce the publication of a set of updates to Wayland and the Weston compositor showcasing the capabilities of the Raspberry Pi.

"It's great to be working with Collabora to bring the hardware composition capabilities of BCM2835 to bear on both native Wayland and legacy X applications" said Eben Upton, a founder and trustee of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. "The resulting platform will form the centerpiece of the new Raspberry Pi user experience from the second half of 2013."

The changes submitted to the Weston compositor make full use of the VideoCore's functionality. It offloads the majority of the graphical operations to the VideoCore so to keep both the CPU and the memory as lightly loaded as possible.

While collaborating with the Raspberry Pi foundation, improvements to the VideoCore firmware were made by the foundation to further the performance and stability of the Raspberry Pi. Despite the full-featured drivers for X11, it wasn't previously possible to meet the requirements of certain use cases such as advanced multimedia playback, complex digital signage or set-top boxes.

"Collabora is very proud to be part of Raspberry Pi's efforts to promote computer science in schools worldwide" said Philippe Kalaf, CEO of Collabora "We are also excited to be showcasing the advanced graphic capabilities of Wayland and hope to replicate these efforts on other hardware platforms".

In order to showcase the new features, Collabora introduced window management effects in the compositor. For demonstration purposes, it includes fade-in and zoom animations. Collabora worked with the Wayland community to also improve XWayland so that X11 applications would run on Wayland faster than they would run under X on the Raspberry Pi.

"It's exciting to see Collabora and the Raspberry Pi foundation work together on improving the Raspberry Pi user interface using Wayland and Weston." said Kristian Høgsberg Kristensen, Wayland project lead. "The result provides a great demonstration of how the Wayland architecture and the Weston implementation lets you mix rendering techniques and take advantage of special purpose 2D compositing hardware."

The source code is available publicly in the main Weston repositories and on Collabora's git repositories. Debian binary packages are also available on raspberrypi.collabora.com. They are compatible and install on top of the current Raspbian.

About The Raspberry Pi Foundation

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a UK registered charity. The foundation develops and builds the Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It's a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming.

About Collabora

Collabora Ltd. is a global software consultancy specializing in delivering the benefits of open source to the commercial world. Collabora combines years of open source software expertise with hard-won experience from working in the mobile and consumer electronics industries. They help clients effectively take open source technologies from the community to real-world consumers, re-using existing components to reduce time to market and focus on product differentiation.

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