The changes delivered this year were extensive with support for GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap, same-day GeForce 8800GTX support, nvidia-settings improvement, X11R71 support, and much more. When it came to the performance of the NVIDIA proprietary display drivers this year the results were really all over the board. There were no definitive long-term performance gains made in our selected gaming benchmarks with the six display drivers tested. In only the most demanding runs of Quake 4 was there a noticeable boost in the end. If anything, the NVIDIA Linux performance has dropped marginally over the year. It is important to note that in some of the NVIDIA driver versions, users have reported memory leaks. Even without the noticeable performance gains made this year, the NVIDIA Linux display drivers continue to perform on roughly the same level as the Windows Forceware counterpart.
With the Forceware 90.XX series coming to a close, NVIDIA is expected to shortly announce their new series (reportedly named X), which should support DirectX 10 on the G80, a new control panel interface, and much more. At this time we are uncertain on what new features this will mean for the Linux display drivers. Hopefully we will see a new NVIDIA Linux installer, which has long been overdue for a major overhaul. We hope to see new NVIDIA Linux display drivers in January of 2007, and would not anticipate any new drivers between now and the end of the year (pardoning yesterday's 1.0-9631 driver release).
With ATI/AMD continuing to improve the quality of their display drivers in the monthly releases, next year may very well be the hardest year yet for NVIDIA. The community-driven Nouveau open-source 2D/3D NVIDIA driver project is also finally beginning to take shape. If you are interested in our NVIDIA AYiR 2005 findings, they can be found here. As always, feel free to discuss this article and your thoughts on NVIDIA Linux over at the Phoronix Forums.
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