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NVIDIA Still Working On PRIME/DMA-BUF Contribution

NVIDIA

Published on 15 January 2013 05:04 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA
10 Comments

Aaron Plattner at NVIDIA is still working on the open-source "PRIME Helpers" patches for the Linux kernel. This is work towards ultimately better handling PRIME/DMA-BUF for NVIDIA Optimus Technology on Linux.

In early December I wrote about the original PRIME Helper patches courtesy of Plattner at NVIDIA. As written in that earlier article:
NVIDIA still isn't permitted to properly use DMA-BUF for buffer sharing between their binary driver and the open-source graphics drivers for being able to properly support the NVIDIA Optimus technology. GPL-only kernel symbols are blocking NVIDIA from tapping DMA-BUF and there's a few kernel developers who don't want these symbols to be used by NVIDIA's blob.

As the latest on this front concerning proper multi-GPU support under Linux and the drivers being able to cooperate with each other, NVIDIA's Aaron Plattner has put out a set of four patches for PRIME helpers. The patches courtesy of the veteran Linux developer at NVIDIA provide helper functions to abstract core parts of the GEM PRIME import and export functions for video memory management.
Basically these patches allow for replacing GEM PRIME import/export functions -- the functions are common and shared amongst the Nouveau and Radeon DRM drivers -- with a driver's own custom functionality. For now this just leads to eliminating duplicated code between Radeon/Nouveau, but could theoretically allow for NVIDIA's binary driver to implement its own import/export hooks that don't directly rely upon the GPL-only DMA-BUF.

These PRIME Helper patches are currently dependent upon new DMA-BUF code landing for the Linux 3.9 kernel. This latest revision to the patches address some technical comments and concerns that Aaron received from the open-source graphics driver developers. The v3 helper patches can be found on the dri-devel list.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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