NVIDIA Online GTC 2020 Kicks Off Today But No Open-Source Linux Announcement Expected

Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA on 5 October 2020 at 10:07 AM EDT. 25 Comments
NVIDIA's online GTC 2020 event kicks off today with a ton of announcements coming across the wire but not one many Linux users have been clamoring to hear more about.

In addition to announcing the $59 NVIDIA Jetson Nano 2GB, this morning has also seen the announcements for the Ampere RTX A6000 and A40 graphics cards, Jarvis and Merlin in open beta, more Arm ecosystem support, EGX edge AI platform, and more.

In addition the GTC 2020 workshops and conference programs have hundreds of talks planned from today through 9 October. More details can be found via the GTC site albeit paid registration is required for the public.

While there are a lot of interesting NVIDIA announcements this week, not expected is any news on open-source Linux driver changes. Back when the spring GTC 2020 was going to be an in-person event, there was scheduled an open-source Linux kernel driver talk on possible "last minute developments" and "future plans" that pointed to possibly coming behind an open-source Linux kernel GPU driver. That talk was slashed from the virtual GTC 2020 in the spring and now for the virtual autumn event there isn't any such talk scheduled either. I am working to find out more as to the state of any NVIDIA open-source driver plans but for this week's GPU Technology Conference there doesn't appear to be anything on tap.

There also hasn't been any visible development changes by NVIDIA's Linux engineers in recent weeks/months and the extent to that they are supporting the open-source Nouveau driver stack largely remains Tegra focused and then occasional patches and documentation elsewhere. The number one current limitation of Nouveau remains and that is the lack of re-clocking support for allowing graphics cards to operate at their optimal frequencies / performance states and that remains blocked over PMU firmware restrictions. But given the significant investments by Red Hat and partners in continuing to advance the Nouveau driver stack even with that major limitation, there still remains hope of some open-source solution to come.
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