Nouveau Using The NVIDIA GSP Will Lead To More Firmware Bloat

Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 19 April 2023 at 08:22 AM EDT. 24 Comments
The upstream, open-source Nouveau DRM kernel driver working to make use of the NVIDIA GPU System Processor "GSP" will ideally lead to more punctual new hardware support, hopefully overcome the power management / re-clocking challenges that have plagued the driver for years with very low performance, and other current limitations. But it will also lead to more NVIDIA GPU firmware files in the linux-firmware tree and increased bloat.

The linux-firmware.git tree already carries NVIDIA GPU firmware files for use by Nouveau with the GeForce GTX 900 series and later requiring these signed firmware blobs. But with the ongoing transition to make use of the NVIDIA GSP found in the GeForce RTX 20 series and newer, there will be increased float.

NVIDIA GSP firmware use is currently problematic because these firmware files are updated with each NVIDIA Linux driver revision and currently no guarantees over stable interfaces, etc. Rather than updating the NVIDIA GSP firmware files in the linux-firmware tree each time there is a new version published, the current Nouveau planning is to only update when there is new hardware support enabled, security fixes, or new features needed. But in turn this will cause more bloat compared to the GPU firmware handling currently and how the firmware is handled on the AMDGPU/Radeon side.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090
Not only are NVIDIA GPUs getting physically much larger, but their GSP firmware handling is leading to more software weight to deal with for the linux-firmware tree and initramfs builds moving forward.

Rather than yielding increasing large initramfs builds with these forthcoming firmware files, David Airlie is working on a new "MODULE_FIRMWARE_GROUP_ONLY_ONE" feature for the kernel as well as Dracut. The kernel change is a simple one-liner while there is also the Dracut change for helping to reduce the extra initramfs weight.

More details on this issue via David Airlie's blog.
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