NVIDIA Is Working Towards HDR Display Support For Linux, But The Desktop Isn't Ready

Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA on 21 September 2016 at 08:44 AM EDT. 30 Comments
NVIDIA supports HDR displays on Windows and Android, but not currently under Linux for the infrastructure not being in place to support High Dynamic Range displays from the Linux desktop. NVIDIA though is looking at working towards ultimately supporting HDR displays on Linux.

NVIDIA's Andy Ritger talked about Linux's lack of HDR display support during the first day of XDC2016. For those unfamiliar with modern HDR displays, they come down to making brights brighter, darks darker with HDR increasing the range and granularity of luminance.

Among the shortcomings in the Linux infrastructure for HDR display support include an API for getting HDR meta-data from the display -- and the various ways that could be achieved. There's also the matter of an API for applications to express the HDR meta-data for the buffers they present. Other missing pieces include being able to submit FP16 to the display engine and ideally supporting SDR RGBA8 windows in the same desktop as FP16 HDR windows. Even in the Wayland-space, it isn't ready for HDR displays with needing to make Wayland compositors FP16-aware and being able to deal with FP16 buffers. Needless to say, X11 changes are also needed for displaying FP16 content for HDR.

NVIDIA will begin making strawman proposals in the months ahead over enabling HDR on Linux with there being many open design questions. Hopefully this HDR Linux desktop support will come together in 2017 and that other hardware vendors will begin working on the infrastructure support too.

If you are interested in more details, see Ritger's presentation slides while the presentation can be seen from XDC's video stream.
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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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