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.
Just three days ago we shared that Nouveau will become the default NVIDIA driver in Fedora 11 to replace the obfuscated xf86-video-nv mess. Now proposed for Fedora 11 is to also integrate the Nouveau kernel mode-setting driver.
Among a horde of other features to be introduced with Fedora 11 (a.k.a. Leonidas), the Nouveau driver will become the default NVIDIA driver on this Red Hat distribution.
The Nouveau driver has seen a lot of progress in the past year when it comes to new NVIDIA GPU support, improved 2D acceleration, 3D acceleration working for some GeForce series, and various other improvements. All 3D work for this open-source community-generated driver for NVIDIA graphics card is being done within Gallium3D.
Younes Manton, the student developer that has been working on Generic GPU Video Decoding that allows video decoding to be done universally in the GPU's shaders with any Gallium3D driver, has made some more progress on the NVIDIA front.
Stephane Marchesin, the leader of the Nouveau project, has announced that the Mesa work has been merged into the Gallium3D version 0.2 branch instead of being developed in an independent branch. Nouveau is the community project that's been reverse-engineering NVIDIA's binary Linux driver in order to provide an open-source 2D and 3D driver for NVIDIA graphics hardware. Gallium3D is the 3D graphics architecture developed by Tungsten Graphics that delivers a number of advantages to both developers and end-users.
In some weekend Linux graphics news not related to the much belated X.Org 7.4 or the recent open ATI innovations, there is another interesting change to report on coming from the Nouveau developers who have been tediously reverse-engineering NVIDIA's binary X driver. Recently they began work on Kernel-based mode-setting and NV50 series EXA Composite / X-Video support, but this news is different. With a git commit this afternoon they have abolished their old DRI driver, which totaled over 60 files and thousands of lines of code, from the Mesa tree.
While Nouveau's Maarten Maathuis is busy working on NV50 kernel mode-setting support, Ben Skeggs has been working on a variety of 3D / video features for the NV50 class GPUs. Committed to their development repository tonight is NV50 X-Video support, tile off-screen pixmaps, EXA composite support, and cleaning up some of the code define statements. With this support being all reverse-engineered as NVIDIA is against an open-source strategy the level of support may vary between graphics processors and some of the functionality may be broken or not fully implemented (yet).
Late last month we reported on Nouveau Kernel-Based Mode-Setting Support (or KMS for short) for the NVIDIA GeForce 8 series graphics cards. This kernel mode-setting support isn't perfect (yet) and lacks support for several features, but it's continued to progress since we first mentioned this support on the horizon. Over the past few days there have been several more NV50 (GeForce 8) kernel mode-setting commits. NV50 KMS now supports gamma changes, unaccelerated rotation support, auto detection of kernel mode-setting when active, output DPMS, and other changes. If you're interested in trying out this initial Nouveau kernel mode-setting support, checkout the xf86-video-nouveau driver from its git repository. For more information on KMS, checkout our Preview of Kernel-Based Mode-Setting.
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.
It's been over a month since Nouveau Companion 39, but don't expect the 40th edition of the Nouveau Companion to come anytime soon. In a message to Phoronix, the Nouveau Companion's lead writer "KoalaBR" has said "the project is in a kind of hiatus." This is mostly because Stephane Marchesin, the leader of Nouveau, has been missing due to looking at future job opportunities. In addition, KoalaBR is in a similar boat. The Nouveau Companion isn't being disbanded quite yet, but a new edition won't be out until at least the end of August.
Yesterday the RadeonHD driver had 55 commits, which consisted of major code restructuring and laying down the groundwork for TV-Out support and most notably the open-source support for the Radeon HD 3400 / 3600 series (Radeon HD 3650 Linux review). Today the Nouveau developers are in the spotlight with their own arsenal of new open-source NVIDIA activity.
Unlike the open-source AMD camp that now has deep roots going back to AMD thanks to their new open-source strategy with four full-time RadeonHD developers and even access to pre-production hardware, this is far different for the open-source NVIDIA side. While we've received information that NVIDIA may be plotting an open-source strategy, the Nouveau developers have yet to hear anything from NVIDIA nor do they expect any communication (as was stated in the Nouveau Companion 34). The Nouveau developers are simply working on this open-source 2D/3D NVIDIA driver in their spare time and with their own hardware -- they don't have any corporate backing. The Nouveau team relies upon the community for testing and contributing of any spare hardware, while they did raise $10,000 in a pledge drive but are still working on obtaining that money tax-free.
Back in Nouveau Companion 30, we found out the Nouveau developers are getting very close to their first stable release. This first Nouveau driver release will include 2D, X-Video, and EXA acceleration across all NVIDIA graphics cards from the NV05 to NV4x. Recently there has been quite a number of commits to the xf86-video-nouveau git tree, which could be one last development hoorah before the first release.
While it will be a while before the next Nouveau Companion is out, we wanted to let you all know that over the past couple of days the Nouveau driver has received some additional RandR 1.2 work. The RandR 1.2 changes range from adding extra initialization code, new PLL restrictions, a regression fix, and automatically disabling RandR 1.2 support on versions previous to X server 1.3. There's also been a number of other changes taking place with this open-source NVIDIA driver over the past couple of days. Find out all of the details on the Nouveau gitweb.
After reading the Nouveau Question and Answer, if you're interested in trying out this open-source NVIDIA driver be sure to check out the latest git code. Over the past nine hours there have been 14 commits so far. These commits change such things as PCI rework compatibility, eliminating XAA support, NVIDIA GeForce 8 improvements, and in traditional open-source fashion a number of bugs have been fixed. Find out more on the Nouveau git summary.
Do you have a question you've been wanting to ask the open-source 3D driver developers for NVIDIA hardware about their Nouveau work or their thoughts on some related Linux topic? We are accepting questions in this Phoronix Forums thread. After we've got a good stack of questions they will be answered by the Nouveau developers. Questions could range from when a feature will be implemented in the driver to if they believe NVIDIA will ever open-source their 3D driver component. We look forward to seeing your questions!
The 25th edition of the Nouveau Companion is out a bit late, but it's filled with interesting content on the latest work going into this open-source NVIDIA driver. The topics making up this issue include the DMA notifier, the TTM memory manager, continued work with X-Video and XvMC, renouveau splitting, PowerPC work, and DRM 0.0.10. After a heated discussion, the decision was made to move to the TTM memory manager with the Nouveau driver as David Airlie would only like one memory manager in the DRM tree. The X-Video performance on many NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards should also be improved in this release. Check out Nouveau Companion 25 on the Nouveau Wiki.
This morning we told you about some of the Nouveau commits in the past 24 hours and there are more changes to report this afternoon. The open-source X.Org NVIDIA driver now has XAA working on the NV17 GPU and fixes for explicit usage of sub-channels while removing sub-channel defines completely.
In the past day there have been a number of commits to the xf86-video-nouveau git code. This recent activity started out with clamping NV_MEMORY_TO_MEMORY_FORMAT_LINE_COUNT to 2047 lines followed by an X-Video fix with freeing notifiers. Changing with the Nouveau driver earlier today was adapting the code to support drm 0.0.10 with additional work being done for handling sub-channel code, fixing UTS/DFS in some transfer sizes, and removing the debugging ErrorF statements. All of this recent work has been done in the master branch of nouveau/xf86-video-nouveau.
If you're using the open-source NVIDIA 3D display driver or hope to try it out soon, there's been several X-Video related commits in the past few days. The Nouveau driver is still much a work in progress, but recently there's been X-Video fixes by Arthur Huillet. You can find out more about the X-Video changes and other updates from the Nouveau git page.
Another Nouveau Companion has been written to update the status of the open-source NVIDIA display driver. Changes were pushed in the DRM and DDX for the nv50-branch to offer preliminary GeForce 8 open-source support, X-Video DMA work was accomplished, oprofiling tests completed, and branch changes. The nv50-branch has been merged into the Nouveau randr-1.2 branch, which is the new location that GeForce 8 owners will want to go for code. The Nouveau team still needs help with GeForce 8 testing. The 24th edition of the Nouveau Companion can be read, as always, on FreeDesktop.org.
The 23rd edition of the Nouveau Companion has been posted online. Covered in this edition is the Nouveau: Where It Stands Today article from us, some NV1x code fixes, NV4x implementing the EXA functions via the 3D engine, X-Video working for AGP with DMA, and a few new RandR 1.2 patches. With the NV4x GPUs implementing the EXA functions via the 3D engine, this should eliminate a number of bugs as well as offering a speed boost to this open-source NVIDIA driver. Nouveau Companion 23 can be read over on their FreeDesktop Wiki.
The 22nd edition of the Nouveau Companion is now online after a three-day delay. Some of the work covered in this issue is rules-ng now containing ATI Radeon register data, renouveau improvements, and X-Video work has started. The improvements to renouveau include replacing the nv_object data structure over to an XML database and splitting renouveau into a dumper and parser program. Fixes have also been merged into Nouveau main for the NV49 and NV4b GPUs. No new progress has been made in open-source 3D support for the GeForce 8 (G80) series. Read more on the Nouveau Wiki.
Over the past two weeks have been some interesting developments for the Nouveau driver. The initial steps are being taken to work on X-Video support for the Nouveau driver with additional work starting later in the month. Darktama also has figured out some 3D features like shaders addresses and virtual memory management for the NVIDIA driver figured out. Stephane Marchesin also will be working on Nouveau support for other architectures soon. Nouveau Companion 21 can be read on the FreeDesktop Wiki.
It's been two weeks since Nouveau Companion 19 and now this afternoon Nouveau Companion 20 is now out. There's still no word on the Nouveau introduction to the Software Freedom Conservancy and the SourceForge quota remains exceeded, but there are a few developments with the driver itself.
Continuing in the bi-weekly ritual, another issue of Nouveau Companion is now available. Nouveau Companion 19 looks in-depth at the TTM manager, Vacation of Code, lack of XvMC for GeForce 8 graphics cards, and the current status of the open-source NVIDIA driver. Some of the recent changes to the Nouveau driver is NV15 3D rendering fixes, vertex program problems, and more RandR 1.2 work. Also, the Nouveau driver port for *BSD is back on track, but they are in need of help to finish porting the driver and testing. Nouveau Companion 19 can be read on the FreeDesktop Wiki.
If you would like to provide feedback to Nouveau developers or discuss bugs in the open-source 3D NVIDIA driver, a Nouveau mailing list was started yesterday. This FreeDesktop.org mailing list can be used to discuss Nouveau developments, ask questions, and coordinate what you are working on. The Mailman information page for the Nouveau drivers is here for subscribing or to view the archives.
The Nouveau developers have once again put out another bi-weekly edition of their newsletter that updates everyone on the state of the open-source 3D NVIDIA display driver. Covered in the 18th edition of the Nouveau Companion are status updates on Google's Summer of Code, Nouveau pledge, and the current 2D/3D driver status. Google hadn't provided any slots for Nouveau to have Computer Science students help out on this project over the summer, but X.Org has announced their "Vacation of Code". The Nouveau-related projects for this "Vacation of Code" is Xv support for Nouveau along with creating a new algorithm for the S3TC texture compression. The funds generated from the Nouveau pledge still aren't in the hands of the developers due to tax reasons. Some of the recent driver changes mentioned in this Wiki newsletter are renouveau improvements, a script for reporting information when Nouveau crashes, and an attempt at porting Nouveau to *BSD. Due to BSD lagging behind Linux when it comes to the DRM, porting Nouveau to *BSD has stopped. There have also been a few RandR 1.2 changes for the Nouveau drivers this month.
Another Nouveau Companion (the Wiki newsletter that talks about developments in the open-source 3D NVIDIA display driver) has come out this morning with their seventeenth edition. Covered in Nouveau Companion #17 are developments on what has happened with the Nouveau driver in the past three weeks. There has some progress made in a variety of areas and can be read about over on the Nouveau Wiki.
307 Nouveau news articles published on Phoronix.