While the Nouveau driver developers have a huge disadvantage compared to the open-source Intel and AMD Radeon Linux drivers in that they need to reverse-engineer NVIDIA's binary driver at the same time as writing the open-source code and they have no form of support at all from NVIDIA Corp, their efforts can be applauded. They've been quick to bring up support for new hardware, including Gallium3D support for Fermi
already, but one area where the Nouveau driver has been slow to mature is with power management and safe re-clocking support. Fortunately, that may finally be changing.
Last October the Phoronix readers helped out with power management
by providing lots of video BIOS dumps to the Nouveau developers to help them understand NVIDIA timing management. In November, Nouveau then provided overclocking support
in a rudimentary form. There's been some progress since then on battening up power management and GPU re-clocking support, since one of the leading complaints right now of the Nouveau driver has been poor power management.
Launched to the Nouveau mailing list yesterday by Nouveau's Martin Peres is a set of two patches that seek to improve the stability of GPU re-clocking. He's looking for help testing out these patches as they need to be merged soon for NV50 timing management.
The first Nouveau DRM patches is over 300 lines of code and seeks to stabilize re-clocking for those NVIDIA IGPs without discrete memory (such as the NVIDIA ION) and cards where the GPU memory can't be re-clocked, which is a lot of the older hardware. This code should work for all Nouveau-supported hardware.
The second patch targets NV50 hardware and provides memory re-clocking support using PMS.
They're looking for help testing out these Nouveau re-clocking patches, so if you're willing and able, you can find them in this mailing list thread
. This work should land officially with the Linux 2.6.40 kernel.