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NVIDIA Starts Publishing GPU Hardware Documentation To Help Open-Source Drivers

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  • NVIDIA Starts Publishing GPU Hardware Documentation To Help Open-Source Drivers

    Phoronix: NVIDIA Starts Publishing GPU Hardware Documentation To Help Open-Source Drivers

    Today is a wild one for open-source/Linux users. Let's begin with the unexpected news: NVIDIA is releasing more GPU hardware documentation at long last! Yes, freely-available hardware interface documentation to assist in the development of the open-source NVIDIA Linux driver (Nouveau)...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...-Open-GPU-Docs

  • #2
    So does this mean reclo-
    Before anyone asks in the forums: unfortunately, no, at this stage it doesn't help with Nouveau's biggest challenge of re-clocking / signed firmware since GTX 900 series making it a real obstruction to be able to re-program the hardware to operate at its effective clock speeds rather than the lower boot clock speeds. When asking NVIDIA about it, they are aware of the situation but no solution to announce right now.
    Oh...

    But seriously... that's the bare minimum we ask of Nvidia. The nouveau devs are smart people and have done a fantastic job considering how little they have to work with. But they can't do anything about the firmware.
    Last edited by schmidtbag; 08-07-2019, 03:56 PM.

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    • #3
      For some of my uses (Just having a sodding working GPU), this is really good news. In many cases, I don't mind saving power with the boot clocked GPUs.

      As for the clocking / firmware; isn't it possible for Nouveau to just upload the signed firmware (extracted from the binary blob) to the hardware?
      Last edited by kpedersen; 08-07-2019, 02:38 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by phoronix View Post
        Before anyone asks in the forums: unfortunately, no, at this stage it doesn't help with Nouveau's biggest challenge of re-clocking / signed firmware since GTX 900 series making it a real obstruction to be able to re-program the hardware to operate at its effective clock speeds rather than the lower boot clock speeds. When asking NVIDIA about it, they are aware of the situation but no solution to announce right now.
        NVIDIA, please stop doing this "I'm gonna open but with a big exception" crap!

        When you announced PRIME support, it wasn't for Bumblebee-like behavior.
        When you announced Wayland support, you didn't adopt GBM but rather brought EGLStreams up.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by kpedersen View Post
          As for the clocking / firmware; is it possible for Nouveau to just upload the signed firmware (extracted from the binary blob) to the hardware?
          I'd have to dig to find it, but Ilia Mirkin had a good post a ways back on why the last part has gotten a lot harder recently. It used to be that you could just capture the firmware being uploaded to the GPU by some mmio tracing and checking which commands the CPU was using to load the firmware to the GPU. Nowadays, the GPU does a direct DMA load from system RAM into the GPU RAM so it's a bit more complicated. Not impossible, but hard enough no one has bothered yet.

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          • #6
            In other news, while this additional documentation is nice, I still feel happy/justified in owning pretty much all Radeon chips in my systems.

            My laptop is the only machine I still have that runs an Nvidia (GF9400M on a 2009 Macbook), and I've got a GTX760 in a box for development/testing purposes that a friend was getting rid of. Otherwise, I've had purely AMD chips since, umm, the Radeon 4850 I bought for the decent (for the time) open-source support back in ?2008?.

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            • #7
              Looks like pressure from AMD and Intel planning to release high end GPUs with open drivers next year finally broke Nivida's nasty refusal to open up documentation for their GPUs. Good development! But so far it's not enough:

              When asking NVIDIA about it, they are aware of the situation but no solution to announce right now.
              This is the elephant in the room. Nvidia get more pressure now, but they want to retain their blob relevance. If Nouveau becomes fully performant, no one will need their blob anymore, and they'll lose ability to charge enterprise market extra money for unlocking features in their blob.
              Last edited by shmerl; 08-07-2019, 02:47 PM.

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              • #8
                Well that took a while...

                Better late than never tho!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by shmerl View Post
                  Looks like pressure from AMD and Intel planning to release high end GPUs with open drivers next year finally broke Nivida's nasty refusal to open up documentation for their GPUs. Good development! But so far it's not enough:



                  This is the elephant in the room. Nvidia get more pressure now, but they want to retain their blob relevance. If Nouveau becomes fully performant, no one will need their blob anymore, and they'll lose ability to charge enterprise market extra money for unlocking features in their blob.
                  NVIDIA could use their userland blob with the nouveau drivers, similar to what AMD does.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Britoid View Post
                    NVIDIA could use their userland blob with the nouveau drivers, similar to what AMD does.
                    Point is, no one will pay them anything, if they can use Nouveau with Mesa. Nvidia profits by controlling the market by the fact that the blob is the only functional kernel driver now. I.e. if they want, they can charge anything to those who need certain features. since they are the gatekeeper. Open driver will remove the middleman. I think that's the primary reason Nvidia were such jerks towards Nouveau.
                    Last edited by shmerl; 08-07-2019, 02:56 PM.

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