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This glossary describes some of the terms used in ARM manuals. Where terms can have several meanings, the meaning presented here is intended.


See ARM Embedded Linux.


See Application Programming Interface.

Application Programming Interface (API)

A specification for a set of procedures, functions, data structures, and constants that are used to interface two or more software components together. For example, an API between an operating system and the application programs that use it might specify exactly how to read data from a file.

ARM Embedded Linux (AEL)

A version of Linux ported to the ARM architecture.

COLLAborative Design Activity (COLLADA) files

Open-standard XML files that describe digital assets. COLLADA files are compatible with many graphics applications.


See COLLAborative Design Activity (COLLADA) files.


Frames per second. The number of individual frames that are rendered every second, to create an animation. Typical games and GUI applications run at 20-30 fps.

Fragment shader

A program running on the pixel processor that calculates the color and other characteristics of each fragment.


See Graphics Processor Unit.

Graphics Processor Unit (GPU)

A hardware accelerator for graphics systems using OpenGL ES and OpenVG. The hardware accelerator comprises of an optional geometry processor and a pixel processor together with memory management. Mali programmable GPUs, such as the Mali-200 and Mali-400 MP GPUs, consist of a geometry processor and at least one pixel processor. Mali fixed-function GPUs, such as the Mali-55 GPU consist of a pixel processor only.

Instrumented drivers

Alternative graphics drivers that are used with the Mali GPU. The Instrumented drivers include additional functionality such as error logging and recording performance data files for use by the Performance Analysis Tool.

See Also Performance Analysis Tool.


A name given to graphics software and hardware products from ARM that aid 2D and 3D acceleration.

Mali Binary Asset

The Mali Binary Asset file format provides an optimized binary representation of a 3D scene for loading into the Mali User Interface Engine Library.

Mali User Interface Engine

The Mali User Interface Engine is a component of the Mali Developer Tools. The Mali User Interface Engine library enables you to develop 3D graphics applications more easily than using OpenGL ES alone.

Mali User Interface Engine Library

A C++ class framework for developing OpenGL ES 2.0 applications for the Mali GPU. The Mali User Interface Engine Library is a component of the Mali Developer Tools.

Mali Developer Tools

A set of development programs that enables software developers to create graphic applications.


In graphics, a 3-dimensional arrangement of vertices and triangles, representing an object.

Performance Analysis Tool

A fully-customizable GUI tool that displays and analyzes performance data files produced by the Instrumented drivers, together with framebuffer information.

See Also Instrumented drivers, Performance data file.

Performance data file

Files that contain a description of the performance counters, together with the performance counter data in the form of a series of values and images. Performance data files are saved in .ds2 format and can be loaded directly into the Performance Analysis Tool.


A pixel is a discrete element that forms part of an image on a display. The word pixel is derived from the term Picture Element.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)

A version of desktop Linux operating systems.


See Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

Performance variable

Data produced by the instrumented OpenGL ES 2.0 Emulator, that can be displayed and analyzed as statistical information in the Performance Analysis Tool.


A program, usually an application program, running on the GPU, that calculates some aspect of the graphical output. See fragment shader and vertex shader.

Shader Library

A set of shader examples, tutorials, and other information, designed to assist with developing shader programs for the Mali GPU. The Shader Library is a component of Mali Developer Tools.

Vertex shader

A program running on the geometry processor, that calculates the position and other characteristics, such as color and texture coordinates, for each vertex.