NVIDIA Linux Update Status
Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA on 22 March 2006 at 01:00 AM EST. Add A Comment

Up to this point there has been very little official information from NVIDIA in regards to their upcoming Linux/Solaris/FreeBSD drivers. Luckily, we have had the privilege from NVIDIA to share our acquired information a bit early in regards to these upcoming drivers, and a few NVIDIA Linux developers frequently post some information on the NvNews forums. We have also had the luxury of handling the Beta 1.0-8751 drivers and deliver its results on multiple occasions. We continually post new information at Phoronix as it is discovered from our in-house investigations with these drivers, as well as tapping additional information from our various sources. For the most part, there has largely been two discussed release dates for these drivers as stated by Phoronix -- March 09, 2006 and March 22, 2006. Prior to NVIDIA's CeBIT GeForce 7600/7900 launch event, we had thought they would provide same-day support for their Linux users when handling this newer hardware. However, this wasn't the case unlike the 7800GTX 256MB launch last year and the 1.0-7667 drivers. The other largely contemplated release date was today, March 22. With that said, today NVIDIA is expected to release a minor Windows ForceWare update (v84.25). These Windows 2000/XP drivers are expected to contain enhancements for the recently released Oblivion game. However, we have been finally notified by NVIDIA that the Linux drivers will not coincide with the ForceWare launch that is expected to occur today. Rather, we have been told by NVIDIA's Sean Cleveland that they are anticipating an early April release. With that said, the public can expect to see these new Linux (and likely Solaris/FreeBSD) drivers appearing sometime during the first or second week of April. The NVIDIA drivers will likely strike in advance of ATI's monthly Windows/Linux CATALYST driver updates. If NVIDIA continues in their roughly 4 month/3 week Linux release cycle, we will also likely see yet another driver set coming in late April or early May. However, much of this planning is still likely up in the air.

For those pondering over the Fedora Core 5 support with NVIDIA's drivers, the next NVIDIA Linux driver release should produce the same level of support that can be found with Fedora Core 4. Using the private NVIDIA 1.0-8751 drivers, we had no strongholds preventing the module from operating. As Fedora Core 5 had mistakenly shipped with a kernel which doesn't allow non-GPL modules to load, we had first upgraded to the Linux 2.6.16-1.2064_FC5 (x86_64) unofficial kernel from Dave Jone's Fedora server. We also had to attain xorg-x11-server-sdk (v1.0.1-9.x86_64) for proper NVIDIA compatibility. With the updated kernel and the sever SDK, we dropped to run-level 3 and proceeded with the traditional NVIDIA installer. With no signs of errors during the installation, the X configuration needs to be modified, or simply run nvidia-xconfig. Restarting the system, the NVIDIA GeForce card was accelerated by NVIDIA's proprietary drivers under Fedora Core 5 Linux (2.6.16 kernel) with no apparent signs of problems. The installation process should be similar to the public drivers upon their release. All of these procedures were carried out on a fresh Fedora Core 5 DVD installation. This new process is quite contrary to the 1.0-8178 drivers that require patches or using the drivers available from the Livna repository.

More information to come...

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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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