NVIDIA Still Working On Linux 3.11+ Support

Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA on 2 November 2013 at 09:42 AM EDT. 17 Comments
In mid-October I had written how AMD's Catalyst driver surprisingly beat NVIDIA to modern Linux support. While NVIDIA is usually first to support new kernel releases, AMD won in shipping "out of the box" Linux 3.11 and 3.12 compatibility. NVIDIA, however, has devised a workaround and will be coming up with a more proper long-term solution.

NVIDIA outlined the issue pertaining to supporting the Linux 3.11 kernels and newer in a NVIDIA DevTalk posting this week. The blocker for 3.11 support comes down to num_physpages having been removed from the Linux 3.11 kernel and the replacement function not being an effective solution for NVIDIA.

NVIDIA's driver needs to be able to determin that all allocatable memory to the driver can be accessed by the GPU, but with this 3.11 change, that's no longer easily possible for determining the highest allocatable system memory address. NVIDIA is working on a proper solution but for now they've published a patch and are working on integrating this workaround into upcoming driver releases.

The patch provides limited support for 3.11+ by being more aggressive about falling back to a 32-bit DMA zone. This workaround will be used until a more appropriate solution has been developed. With this workaround, only users of systems with extremely large system memory capacities (128GB+ of RAM) could run into problems.
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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.

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