Over the course of the past few months we have seen several NVIDIA Linux drivers that have all been marked as beta with the last official release appearing in April. Today though NVIDIA has released the 177.80 Linux driver, which is an official update and christens the changes made with the 177.67, 177.68, 170.70, 177.76, and 177.78 beta drivers. Among the changes are RENDER extension improvements, finally officially supporting the GeForce GTX series, text rendering fixes, and there are 25 official changes in total.
The products to now be officially supported on Linux include the GeForce GTX 260, GTX 280, 9800GTX+, 900GT, 9700M GTS, 9500GT, 8100P, nForce 780a SLI, nForce 750a SLI, Quadro FX 770M, Quadro NVS 160M, and Quadro NVS 150M. The GeForce GTX series was introduced back in June but it has taken nearly four months for this official support to arrive. This support was, however, present in the earlier beta releases. This binary-only Linux driver also now supports graphics cards with DisplayPort interfaces.
Also, present from earlier beta releases have been improvements to the X RENDER extension. Newer NVIDIA GPUs now have faster RENDER acceleration along with support for convolution filters and other operations. Most notably, these improvements fix the 2D performance problems that have been plaguing newer GeForce series and commonly with the KDE 4.x desktop environment.
While also a repeat from earlier betas, the NVIDIA 177.80 driver also has improved GPU memory management with better coordination between the X driver and OpenGL implementation, which improves performance with the KDE OpenGL compositing manager. Various regression fixes are also present when it comes to text rendering, the SLI Auto mode not functioning, system hangs, monitor workarounds, and more. There is also experimental PCI-E MSI support, X.Org 7.4 / X Server 1.5 support, and is compatible with newer versions of the Linux kernel.
For those using NVIDIA graphics on Linux, Solaris, or FreeBSD operating systems, head on over to the NVIDIA UNIX Portal to download the latest driver release. The FreeBSD and Solaris drivers ship with a similar set of changes. NVIDIA's two legacy drivers -- the 1.0-71xx and 1.0-9xx series -- have yet to be updated with support for X.Org 7.4, Linux 2.6.27, or any of these new bug-fixes.