Nouveau's Status Update For Early 2014
Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 5 February 2014 at 01:55 PM EST. 1 Comment
The Nouveau developers provided a status update this past weekend at FOSDEM concerning this open-source, reverse-engineered NVIDIA Linux graphics driver. Much progress has been made, but there's still a few glaring issues they're facing and hoping to overcome.

Martin Peres and other Nouveau developers shared a status update on Sunday for Nouveau. Most of the information is known to frequent Phoronix readers with our many articles each month exclusively covering this NVIDIA Linux driver and its performance. To recap and for those not staying up to date with Phoronix articles, here's an overview:

- Nouveau has been successful in supporting NVIDIA's GeForce 600/700 series Kepler hardware. There's been 3D support from the beginning. Support is still experimental, and there's no re-clocking, but generally the support is decent considering the situation.

- PRIME offloading support has been mainline since the Linux 3.9 kernel and improved since.

- Automatic fan management for NVIDIA graphics cards is now enabled by default with Nouveau in the Linux 3.13 kernel but this feature doesn't yet work for all Kepler hardware.

- Power management / re-clocking is a work in progress. This feature lowers power use, reduces heat output, and substantially boosts performance. Martin says this "should be released soon for Fermi/Kepler." Through the Linux 3.14 kernel we have only seen early, non-end-user support.

- There's also i2c-based power sensors on some Kepler GPUs that Nouveau will look to "be exposed ASAP."

- Performance counters is done for Fermi/Kepler and exposed through the Gallium HUD. Performance counters for other hardware is still being worked on.

- Video decoding for Fermi hardware and newer is possible but relies on user-provided, extracted-from-the-blob firmware files. There's NV50 VP2/VP3/VP4 video decoding added recently along with PMPEG support on older hardware.

- OpenGL 3.3 is now possible with the next Mesa release.

- A Direct3D 9 state tracker is still being played with that can provide up to 2x performance improvements over Wine's D3D layer.

Those interested in the full scoop on the Nouveau open-source NVIDIA driver, which is starting to be supported by NVIDIA Corp, can view the PDF slides.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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