NVIDIA Offers Update On Their Proposed Unix Device Memory Allocation Library

Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA on 20 September 2017 at 04:15 PM EDT. 42 Comments
James Jones of NVIDIA presented this morning at XDC2017 with their annual update on a new Unix device memory allocation library. As a reminder, this library originated from NVIDIA's concerns over the Generic Buffer Manager (GBM) currently used by Wayland compositors not being suitable for use with their driver's architecture and then the other driver developers not being interested in switching to EGLStreams, NVIDIA's original push for supporting Wayland.

While having a new Unix Device Memory Allocation Library has been talked about for years, at this stage it's still in a prototype phase. NVIDIA has worked out a basic allocator interface and implemented it into a library along with a small demo driver for them, but nothing yet is production ready and the presentation made it clear there still are open items to address.

This allocator so far is capable of creating devices, querying capabilities and constraints, creating allocations, and other basic functionality. But at this stage there is not yet any import/export of allocations, integration for Vulkan or OpenGL, nor support for DRM or non-graphics devices. EGLSurface integration also still has to happen for getting back to their original design goals and supporting legacy Wayland applications.

There are also open questions where this allocator belongs if it should live as its own standalone library, be integrated back into GBM, merged into libdrm, etc.

More technical details on the current state of the proposed Unix Device Memory Allocator can be found from this GitHub repo.
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