Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.
With a great deal of NVIDIA Linux users questioning Phoronix in regards to when they may possibly see the next driver release, as they haven't seen any since early December of last year, we have compiled some public information in regards to what these drivers may include as well as a very likely release date. Keep in mind, as of writing NVIDIA has not officially commented on most of these matters, and only time will tell what these drivers will truly possess. We will post information accordingly once any additional resources have been obtained, or our sources have commented on these matters. Right now, we are able to publicly confirm that the next NVIDIA Linux driver release will finally append support for the GeForce 7300 GPUs as well as the mobile GeForce Go 7300 and 7600 parts. In addition, we are speculating that XvMC (X-Video Motion Compensation) will be appended for the GeForce 6100/6150. This release should also include H.264 support for the GeForce 7 series under Linux. Another area taking stage recently has been Novell's Xgl framework and the recently announced Fedora AIGLX -- Accelerated Indirect GL X. The next NVIDIA Linux release will likely include official support for these new projects, along with official support for X.Org v6.9/7.0. We have successfully ran Xgl + Compiz using the current NVIDIA 1.0-8178 display drivers, however, AIGLX is known not to work but the driver support is expected to be soon -- possibly in this upcoming release. We are also anticipating that this next release will fix some of the issues NVIDIA users have reported with the 1.0-8XXX series. One of the most common complaints with the newer Rel80 drivers are related to notable memory leaks in the display drivers as well as these recent versions have problems with specific features like XvMC and OpenGL sync, which can result in poor performance. Another area for pondering is whether any new Scalable Link Interface items will be appended or corrected in this upcoming release, but at this time we have received no NVIDIA insight into this area. The newest drivers should also include a handful of other changes and fixes. The area, however, most Linux users have been pondering over with their graphics driver is when a new release will be made available. Well, there is no need to wait too much longer. It appears NVIDIA will likely be targeting an early March release to coincide with the launch of their G71, GeForce 7900GTX 512MB. It is expected that this 90 nanometer G71 chip will be unveiled at this year's CeBIT exposition, which runs from March 9 to the 15th in Hannover, Germany. Whether this will be a paper or hard launch, NVIDIA will likely deliver new Linux and Windows display drivers, which will append support for this card. As we had seen last year on June 22 with the launch of the GeForce 7800GTX 256MB, this flagship product had same-day Linux support. Although the initial support for the card in the 1.0-7667 drivers had possessed a performance-limiting flaw, the fact of the matter is the wait was minimal when dealing with their unrivaled product. The new NVIDIA Linux display drivers are likely to premiere the same day as these new drivers, or rather in the same general time-frame. They will most likely attempt a release prior to ATI's monthly ritual of Windows CATALYST, and now Linux fglrx, driver updates. NVIDIA has also likely learned from the spectacle with the ATI fglrx proprietary driver support for their X1000 series, that even though these new GPUs were launched last year, there continues to be no official Linux support, which is incredibly disconcerting for many Linux mobile and desktop users. As we had reported previously at Phoronix, the X1k drivers should finally launch this spring. With that said, look for a hefty NVIDIA Linux driver release in what should equate to hopefully a few weeks! We will post additional updates when applicable.