PathScale Has An "Open" NVIDIA Compute Driver
Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 14 September 2011 at 02:45 PM EDT. Add A Comment
PathScale, the company that developes the EKOPath 4 compiler and provided the *BSDs with a new run-time, is also the company behind the PSCNV driver. The PSCNV driver is the open-source NVIDIA driver that's forked from the Nouveau code and is focused on delivering maximum performance and to provide compute support. While the code isn't available at this time, it appears they have succeeded in having a working GPGPU compute abstration layer (CAL) that's independent of NVIDIA's binary driver.

Details are scarce at the moment, but Shinpei Kato was talking about GPGPU this morning at XDC2011 Chicago and mentioned this fact. Hearing this isn't new and it's been mentioned somewhat in the past, but hopefully before year's end we'll hear more information. Shinpei works with PathScale in this area and is also one of the developers working on the TimeGraph GPU scheduler.

This open compute driver was developed via reverse-engineering the proprietary NVIDIA driver. Its performance is said to be competitive with the binary blob. While the PSCNV driver is out there, this compute code apparently hasn't been pushed yet. It doesn't look to be open-source at this time. Shinpei said along the lines of, "PathScale is not yet aiming for open-source solutions until their products are released on the market"

While the code may not be out there at the moment, he's been putting out documentation. At the moment he says there's about 60% documentation coverage that's publicly available on the web for his work.

More details forthcoming.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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