Google Devs Call Open-Source NVIDIA Driver Unstable, Nouveau Blacklisted By Chrome

Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 5 January 2019 at 07:04 PM EST. 66 Comments
Google developers working on the Chrome/Chromium web-browser have decided to blacklist the Nouveau driver from having GPU acceleration by default within their web-browser.

As another blow to this open-source NVIDIA Linux graphics driver, Google developers have deemed Nouveau too unstable to support for their users. This bug report seems to be the most recent that set it off though one of the Google developers in there acknowledged, "Over the years we receive many bug reports related to nouveau driver stability, so we draw the conclusion nouveau is unstable not just from this bug report, but from a aggregation of many."

Of the bug reports for Nouveau with WebGL / GPU acceleration, it mostly seems to stem from users on distributions with outdated Mesa builds... The vastly outdated Mesa builds.

As of Chrome/Chromium 71, Nouveau is completely blacklisted. Fortunately, it can be worked around with the --ignore-gpu-blacklist launch flag.

Understandably, it has upset some Nouveau developers who are deciding what to do since this means losing out on accelerated WebGL by default for all users on this open-source NVIDIA driver. Among one option being considered by longtime Nouveau developer Ilia Mirkin is to "fake" the OpenGL string when queried from Chrome/Chromium so it could mirror what the NVIDIA proprietary driver reports, which Google developers have warned against.

According to Ilia, the Nouveau developers aren't aware of any major Nouveau problems with the web browser on current versions of Mesa that should warrant the driver being blacklisted.
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