Nouveau Open-Source NVIDIA Driver Going Through A Big Rework

Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 24 August 2015 at 09:50 AM EDT. 18 Comments
While Linux 4.2 isn't bringing any notable Nouveau changes, it looks like for Linux 4.3 there could be quite a heavy rework of the Nouveau DRM driver landing that consists of hundreds of patches to this open-source NVIDIA graphics driver.

While no major Nouveau updates have landed in DRM-Next, the lack of activity back during the 4.2 merge window for Nouveau was explained as, "Ben [Skeggs, Nouveau DRM maintainer] was working on something big, and we agreed it was a bit late, there wasn't anything else he considered urgent to merge." Fortunately, it looks like this work is getting into shape for merging into Linux 4.3.

Digging through Ben Skegg's DRM repository there's been tons of new code, including more than 100 commits so far today! A lot of this new code is internal code restructuring.

There's also support ready for using external, NVIDIA-supplied firmware files. Thanks to NVIDIA's Alexandre Courbot, "NVIDIA will officially start providing GR firmwares through linux-firmware for GPUs that require it. Change the GR firmware lookup function to use these files." The firmware files are needed for accelerated support with the GeForce GTX 900 series.

There's also the GM20B support, derived from the GK20A as the Kepler GPU in the Tegra K1. The GM20B is the Maxwell GPU for the latest-generation NVIDIA Tegra X1. Thanks again to NVIDIA for that code.

There's also now user re-clocking for the NVA0.

In pouring through the other hundreds of commits, there's a lot of other code clean-ups/restructuring taking place. Overall the code churn appears quite heavy. It would appear this code is getting ready for merging into DRM-Next and then the Linux 4.3 merge window as the last commit as of writing this article was bumping the DRM driver version from 1.2.2 to 1.3.0.

Stay tuned for more details.
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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 20,000 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, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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