NVIDIA Doesn't Expect To Have Linux 5.9 Driver Support For Another Month

Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA on 17 October 2020 at 02:39 PM EDT. 135 Comments
While NVIDIA is usually quite timely in supporting new versions of the Linux kernel and aim to have out a driver by the end of the release candidates for new series, in the case of the recently minted Linux 5.9 kernel it's taking a lot longer.

NVIDIA sent out an advisory to their customers on Friday that they don't expect to have Linux 5.9 kernel support in their proprietary graphics driver until mid-November, or about one month after the kernel was released as stable.

The advisory notes, "Linux Kernel 5.9+ is incompatible with current and previous NVIDIA Linux GPU drivers. We advise customers to defer updating to Linux Kernel 5.9+ until mid-November when an NVIDIA Linux GPU driver update with Kernel 5.9+ support is expected to be available. NVIDIA is aware of the impact this will have on customers, and we are working diligently to provide the driver update with Kernel 5.9+ support as soon as possible."

At least the likes of this month's Ubuntu 20.10 release are relying on Linux 5.8 but if you are wanting to upgrade to 5.9 for any of the many new features or new hardware support in other areas, you'll be left without proprietary NVIDIA driver support until the mid-November timeframe.

NVIDIA didn't publicly spell out why it's taking them much longer than normal to deliver support for the new kernel. It may very well have to do with the change around tainting with GPL shims that circumvent GPL symbol exports used by proprietary drivers that comes with Linux 5.9 following the recent NetGPU NVIDIA "GPL condom" incident that spurred this 5.9 fundamental change.
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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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