NVIDIA's PRIME Helpers Are Ready For Linux 3.9
Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA on 15 February 2013 at 07:05 AM EST. 30 Comments
Aside from a lot of other exciting DRM driver happenings for the Linux 3.9 kernel, it looks like the DRM "PRIME Helpers" that were conceived by NVIDIA to help them support DMA_BUF in their binary driver will be merged.

NVIDIA can't directly utilize the Linux kernel's DMA_BUF buffer sharing mechanism -- a zero-copy way to share buffers between different kernel drivers whether it be DRM or other sub-systems -- due to GPL-only kernel symbols and bickering amongst kernel developers.

While their binary blob is off-limits from using DMA_BUF directly, Aaron Plattner came up with "PRIME Helper" to reduce re-implementing DMA_BUF functionality in every driver while also introducing new lower-level hooks for the DRM PRIME import/export functionality.

The patch by Aaron was merged into drm-next last week. This makes it part of the pull request that will go into the Linux 3.9 kernel and could eventually lead NVIDIA to properly playing with PRIME / NVIDIA Optimus support on Linux.

There's also related DMA_BUF improvements that will be coming to the Linux 3.9 kernel.

Other graphics-related work for Linux 3.9 includes KMS locking, the Intel no-reloc performance optimization, AMD Radeon HD 8000 series support for the unreleased hardware, Radeon DRM improvements, work on the open-source Tegra driver, and many other kernel changes.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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