Samsung Chromebook Plus

This is for ARMv8 based devices

Samsung Chromebook Plus

Postby Furyo » Tue May 09, 2017 9:55 pm

I'm a gizmologist. Which is a tongue in cheek way of describing an artist who went to school to study robots (gizmos). Not a full-fledged roboticist, which would probably be some subset of electrical engineering, but not artsy enough to paint a chapel either. Just knowledgeable enough to get a C in C++, but not quite able to pass calculus. The majority of us artsy types become a jack-of-all-trade welder, machinist, maker, hacker, animator, architect, video editor, tv repair types. We often find ourselves way over our heads technically, but somehow seem to stumble along in the correct direction. Which brings me to arch Linux on the Samsung Chromebook Plus. The perfect device to put Gimp on.... or so I had thought, with it's Samsung pen, touch screen, and super-efficient ARM processor, it would be the perfect device for a designer/artist/maker. As soon as I could get a distro of Linux on it.... and Ubuntu had a version for ARM processor in like 2011 right? This should be easy peasy.... [buys chromebook]... [gets chromebook]... 12 hours of research later... Arch seems to be the only distro that has most of the drivers working except for the all so important graphics driver. It runs great on the Chomebook as long as I don't put a GUI like Gnome on it. Though Gnome works, it's pretty laggy, likely due to no graphics driver. Which leads me to....

How long would it take a focused novice to write a graphics driver? I'm starting to look at the development tools on ARMs website: ... s-debugger
Should I run screaming for the hills? or is this something that the people of this forum know how to break down into small manageable chunks so that code monkeys like me can smash my keyboard enough till it works? Does anyone know of an online course where I could learn about graphics card drivers? Any help would be appreciated. :mrgreen:
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Re: Samsung Chromebook Plus

Postby summers » Wed May 10, 2017 11:55 am

Chromebook plus uses the RockChip RK3399 cpu, that for graphics uses Mali T860 MP4.

Main effort in developing graphics drivers for Mali was Luc Verhaegen (, but he lost will to keep developing it. Think it just supported the mali 200 and 400 series. Still may gives some ideas.

Rob Clark ( work on freedreno was quite inspirational, and written in a modern way, so may be a better place to start - but you'll see he now suggests modesetting + glamor, so software solution. Rob is a full on professional btw, he worked in graphics for a living - so he's ahead of the field, even when working on graphics chips he knows nothing about.

I assume you still have chrome os on the machine? I'd dig about in that and see what graphic drivers you can find, may be easiest to use those.

So probably short answer would be, to write a graphics driver you need to be committed, but don't let that stop you ...

Note added later, I think to do modesetting + glamor, that you need a DRM/KMS driver - I'm not sure if that exists, but that would be an easier direction ... I'd also aim to make it a gallium driver, to keep it modern
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