Nouveau Companion 43
Written by KoalaBR in Display Drivers on 19 March 2009. Page 1 of 4. 10 Comments

In this edition of the Nouveau Companion, covered is the status of this open-source NVIDIA display driver and what went on at FOSDEM with the Nouveau project status and combining LLVM with Gallium3D. Recently the Nouveau developers have been successful in using EXA acceleration on newer GeForce 9 graphics cards, backlight controls working on more NVIDIA graphics cards, and a port of the Nouveau driver to FreeBSD. Work on kernel mode-setting and proper kernel memory management is also underway.

OK, I did not make it to FOSDEM this year, still trying to work out health issues, sigh.

Well, we have some feedback from Marcheu later on and did take some videos from several presentations. Unfortunately, the sound is broken sometimes.

If everything goes well, we will have a short interview / status report on the FreeBSD port in the next issue. So if you have FreeBSD related question, post them in the Phoronix Forums and we may pick up some good ones ;)

So let us start with the second longest TiNDC ever (BTW: PQ's TiNDC 41 ranks third).

The Current Status

OK, no more very old backlogs to read, back to our normal coverage.

Darktama did DRM-less work for Nouveau, which means that you can use Nouveau without the need of a DRM module in the Kernel. However, this will mean that Nouveau won't be able to do any acceleration, be prepared for very slow GFX operations then :) g2g591 did confirm that a GeForce 6150M was working without DRM module, slow(!) but fine.

Additionally Darktama reorganized our EXA code, killed some related bugs along the way, and added support for newer GeForce 9 cards.

Nouveau will be default for 2D in Fedora 11, so the question whether and when we should do a release was decided outside of our project. However, with Darktama in charge of the Fedora effort (as we mentioned in the last issue, Darktama was hired by Red Hat), the release is in very capable hands. For more information about that topic, see the Fedora Wiki.

hax0r1337 came into our channel and complained that his 260GTX card did not work with Nouveau, it only showed a blank screen and locked up the computer with a CPU usage of 100%. After obtaining some logs and traces, Darktama was able to produce a patch adding voodoo support for that card. Unfortunately, that proved to be not enough to get the card going.

pmdata and ymanton worked on a MipMap implementation, which got broken after the swizzle update we mentioned last time. After some work and later fixes by ymanton Xmoto started to look like the real thing. See these IRC log entries here and here.

After much work mjg59 finally got his backlight code working. As we mentioned in earlier issues, several NVidia-based systems do not support backlight control via the standard ACPI control mechanisms. Instead, the driver needs to modify the backlight control registers directly.

After checking with malc0 and Darktama, mjg59 added some code to Nouveau (here). After some configuration and kernel symbol problems, which were fixed by pq and mjg59. Moondrake tested the patch on PPC and it did mostly work.

His patch added support for determining whether the registers are used, and if so registers a kernel backlight device to control them. The backlight can then be controlled via existing user space tools.

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