Nouveau Kernel Driver Patches Updated For Supporting Vulkan Features

Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 17 February 2023 at 10:51 AM EST. 3 Comments
In addition to Nouveau developers at Red Hat working on NVIDIA GPU System Processor (GSP) support to ease their kernel driver development and ideally leading to quicker upstream hardware support and finally tackling power management / re-clocking for newer GPUs, another important area on the open-source kernel driver side has been about re-architecting certain interfaces to be able to better support features for the Vulkan API.

As first written about back in January, Red Hat has been working on Nouveau kernel driver changes for supporting Vulkan. Many of the Nouveau DRM kernel driver interfaces were designed many years ago and back then just OpenGL 2.x/3.x was their primary concern.

With the Vulkan API and its changes around memory management there are new considerations for the kernel driver to make, especially around sparse bindings and sparse residency support. Danilo Krummrich at Red Hat today published the updated patches providing a new user-space API for the Nouveau driver to take modern Vulkan API requirements into consideration. As part of this is also introducing the new DRM GPUVA manager as a DRM core feature for tracking GPU virtual address mappings in a way that can be more easily re-used by the different Direct Rendering Manager drivers.

These patches implement the latest DRM GPUVA manager and Nouveau uAPI changes in preparing the open-source kernel driver for Vulkan. Over on the user-space side is work with the in-development "NVK" Vulkan driver for taking advantage of the new uAPI.

It's great to see this work advancing and hopefully later in the year we'll see the Nouveau Vulkan driver coming together nicely and finally seeing substantive work around re-clocking / better performance when engaging the GSP.
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