1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

Testing Out The Nouveau Driver On Fedora 11

Nouveau

Published on 29 March 2009 10:56 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau
32 Comments

With the forthcoming release of Fedora 11, Red Hat has made the bold (but wise) decision of replacing xf86-video-nv as the default open-source NVIDIA driver with the Nouveau driver instead. The xf86-video-nv driver is officially maintained by NVIDIA, but it's their half-assed attempt at being open-source friendly. The X.Org driver's code is obfuscated, its 2D support is limited, there is no 3D acceleration at all, and it barely receives new features and support these days. Meanwhile, a group of open-source developers have been reverse-engineering NVIDIA's binary Linux driver to write the Nouveau driver that will offer 2D, 3D, and video acceleration and aims to be feature-complete. The Nouveau project has been around for a few years, but their code is starting to come to maturation with kernel mode-setting and a Gallium3D driver hopefully being stable by year's end.

In Fedora 11 there is the normal DDX xf86-video-nouveau driver along with kernel mode-setting support and all of the latest bits that are prerequisites (such as kernel memory management). The Gallium3D support for providing OpenGL acceleration on the Nouveau stack is still very experimental, so it will likely not be enabled by default in Fedora 11. This past week though Red Hat had hosted a Nouveau testing day to see how well this open-source NVIDIA driver is working for different users. Many Fedora users participating in this Nouveau testing day and overall the results seem to be positive. We decided to also test out Nouveau in Fedora 11 using the LiveCD they spun for this testing session.

Did kernel mode-setting work for us using a GeForce 8600GT?


Oh yes, it works! Nouveau kernel mode-setting should work in Fedora 11 for those using the GeForce 8 series hardware or newer. KMS support for the older NVIDIA hardware should come later on. One problem we ran into though was with the GeForce 8600GT and using a 30" Samsung SyncMaster 305T LCD, the Fedora LiveCD had mode-set to 1280 x 800 instead of the 2560 x 1600 for this dual-link DVI monitor. We ran into this problem with and without kernel mode-setting.


Besides a clean, beautiful boot experience with Plymouth when using kernel mode-setting, VT switching is dramatically faster and runs at the same resolution as the running X Server.


Beyond kernel mode-setting, X-Video also works with the Nouveau stack in Fedora 11. Granted, X-Video is not as good as VDPAU or even XvMC, but it's a start.

Kudos to all of the Nouveau developers and to Red Hat for taking this stand in enabling it by default. Hopefully we will see other Linux desktop distributions make the switch from xf86-video-nv to Nouveau.

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 .
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. Trying The Configurable 45 Watt TDP With AMD's A10-7800 / A6-7400K
  2. Sumo's Omni Gets Reloaded
  3. AMD A10-7800 & A6-7400K APUs Run Great On Linux
  4. Radeon Gallium3D Is Running Increasingly Well Against AMD's Catalyst Driver
Latest Linux Articles
  1. Intel Sandy Bridge Gets A Surprise Boost From Linux 3.17
  2. Open-Source Radeon Graphics Have Some Improvements On Linux 3.17
  3. CPUFreq Scaling Tests With AMD's Kaveri On Linux 3.16
  4. Enabling HyperZ Is Still An Easy Way For Faster RadeonSI Performance
Latest Linux News
  1. NVIDIA Releases CUDA 6.5 As A Huge Update
  2. GNOME 3.14 Beta Makes GLSL Optional, Supports Wayland Gesture/Touch Events
  3. KDE Software Compilation 4.14 Released
  4. The Many Things You Can Build With A Raspberry Pi
  5. AMD's Catalyst Linux Driver Preparing For A World Without An X Server?
  6. Khronos Publishes Its Slides About OpenGL-Next
  7. Proposed: A Tainted Performance State For The Linux Kernel
  8. Systemd 216 Piles On More Features, Aims For New User-Space VT
  9. LXQt 0.8 Is Being Released Soon
  10. Linux 3.17 Lands Memfd, A KDBUS Prerequisite
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Remote gui not accessible in Phoronix Test Suite 5.2
  2. The dangers of Linux kernel development
  3. Dead Island for Linux (?)
  4. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  5. AMD Offers Mantle For OpenGL-Next, Pushes Mantle To Workstations
  6. Next-Gen OpenGL To Be Announced Next Month
  7. OpenGL 4.5 Released With New Features
  8. Updated graphics drivers for Ubuntu 12.04 Precise LTS