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NVIDIA GeForce 8 Kernel Mode-Setting

Nouveau

Published on 22 June 2008 11:49 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau
3 Comments

Earlier this week we shared that work on Nouveau Companion has been halted until at least the end of August and the project has been in a state of disarray due to the project's leader, Stephane Marchesin, evaluating future job opportunities -- therefore putting his non-paid Nouveau work on the back burner. Some readers have expressed concern whether Nouveau will be able to continue full-speed ahead, but today there is some good news coming out of this reverse-engineered NVIDIA camp.

Nouveau's Maarten Maathuis has announced on the dri-devel mailing list that he has imported his initial kernel mode-setting code for the (NV50/G80) GeForce 8 series. This kernel mode-setting code isn't using RandR 1.2 cloning and lacks support for LVDS panels with no DDC, no FBCON, no output/connector properties.

Next on Maarten's kernel mode-setting road-map is cleaning up the Nouveau DRI locking code and some other minor fixes. This KMS support has been committed to master and here is the patch that adds the support to the xf86-video-nouveau driver. Kernel mode-setting is not yet used by default but must be setup manually.

For those not up to speed on kernel mode-setting, it's one of the exciting up-and-coming technologies occurring in the X.Org / kernel spectrum. Moving the video mode-setting code into the kernel allows for a flicker-free boot process, the possibility of a Linux "BSOD" (graphical error message) support, clean switching between virtual terminals, and many other advantages. For more information, read our Preview of Kernel Mode-Setting.

The Intel driver has been the driver with the best level of kernel mode-setting support so far and it even ships with Fedora 9. There is also some Radeon kernel mode-setting code written by Jerome Glisse and was first published last December. However, the kernel mode-setting code for ATI Radeon cards has yet to hit the master development branch.

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