Open-Source NVIDIA Vulkan Driver "NVK" Merged Into Mesa 23.3

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 4 August 2023 at 06:45 PM EDT. 146 Comments
The NVK open-source NVIDIA Vulkan driver has finally been merged into mainline Mesa for easing development of this driver moving forward.

The NVK driver has come together via contributions by Red Hat, Collabora, and the open-source community for working with the Nouveau DRM kernel driver to provide an open-source driver stack. This complements the long-standing NVC0 Nouveau Gallium3D driver that has provided open-source OpenGL support.

This NVK driver though is contingent on new Nouveau user-space APIs that have yet to be mainlined. Until all the NVIDIA GSP bits are squared away in the Nouveau DRM kernel driver upstream, the performance with recent generations of NVIDIA GPUs is also to be very slow -- an unfortunate state we've seen since the GeForce GTX 900 series due to signed firmware restrictions around power management / re-clocking.

At least getting NVK upstreamed into Mesa now will help in easing development of this driver moving forward and making it easier for enthusiasts to experiment with this open-source NVIDIA Vulkan driver once the kernel bits are merged. Mesa 23.3 stable is due out in Q4.

See this MR for the details on the new Vulkan driver. Here's to hoping potentially seeing the new Nouveau kernel bits for Linux 6.6...

Update: David Airlie has put out a blog post commenting on the necessary kernel changes. He confirms the changes to the Nouveau kernel user-space API will be sent in for Linux 6.6. While not yet in DRM-Next, today they were picked up by drm-misc-next, so then next week should make it to DRM-Next. Great to see these kernel improvements coming for Linux 6.6!
Related News
About The Author
Michael Larabel

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

Popular News This Week