The Nouveau Driver Is Moving Along Slowly But Surely
Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 28 February 2011 at 06:05 PM EST. 4 Comments
The Nouveau Companion, the newsletter by the Nouveau driver developers about the progress on their NVIDIA reverse-engineering challenge for creating an open-source NVIDIA Linux driver, has its first new issue in nearly two years.

It Is Nouveau Companion 44 and can be found on the Nouveau Wiki. Sadly it's not too overly exciting if you pay attention to the Phoronix news posts pertaining to this community project.

To sum up this newsletter issue, there is initial Fermi support in place with the latest bits but there is still a need for out-of-tree firmware/microcode, the Nouveau Fermi performance is quite interesting, memory management improvements are being made, the NVFX/NV50 Gallium3D drivers are becoming stable, lots of performance improvements will be made once the NVC0 and NV50 drivers are sharing most of the same common code, Nouveau page-flipping is a win, and Wayland now works with Nouveau.

Power management for the Nouveau DRM is also coming along (except the NVC0 power management support is basically non-existent at this point), and there is some strange bug affecting several generations of NVIDIA GPUs with Nouveau right now where the system will lock-up between one and several times per day.

The Nouveau Companion 44 does also provide some details on the Fermi firmware situation with regards to FuC, reverse engineering this micro-code, the PDAEMON engine, and a Japanese researcher has written an LLVM-based FuC compiler that can generate the working binary firmware. The code to this micro-controller compiler for NVIDIA's newest GPUs will be published soon.

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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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