The Open-Source NVIDIA "Nouveau" Driver Gets A Batch Of Fixes For Linux 5.3

Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 19 July 2019 at 08:38 AM EDT. 37 Comments
With last week's big DRM pull request for Linux 5.3 that brought Navi support most notably on the AMD side while Intel received HDR display support, continued Icelake/Gen11 work, and more, there weren't any changes to the open-source NVIDIA "Nouveau" driver. It was another unfortunate cycle of no major improvements for the Nouveau driver but at least sent out today were a set of new "fixes" for this driver that remains crippled on Maxwell GPUs and newer.

Originally on Thursday was finally the Nouveau-next 5.3 pull request that offered improvements to the display color management, fixes to Secure Boot on newer hardware, and Turing TU116 mode-setting support. But that was rejected by the DRM maintainers for being way too late as usually the cut-off for new feature material is when hitting RC6 on the previous cycle, just not days before the end of the current merge window. Not that those changes were all too exciting or notable, but this pushes back the color management and other work to Linux 5.4.

Nouveau DRM maintainer Ben Skeggs of Red Hat as a result today sent in Nouveau-fixes 5.3. This pull request has support still for the TU116 GPU since that shouldn't regress any existing support as well as having fixes around KMS, a memory leak, and a few other basic fixes.

These Nouveau fixes aren't notable at all sans the TU116 GPU support for being able to light up the displays connected to a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti.

We still hold out hope that some kernel release in the not too distant future will bring re-clocking support for GeForce GTX 900 "Maxwell" series and newer as well as automatic re-clocking support for GTX 600/700 "Kepler" GPUs. That is arguably the biggest blocker to this open-source NVIDIA driver right now as since NVIDIA introduced these signed firmware restrictions on their hardware it really has positioned this open-source DRM/KMS driver into quite poor shape and painfully slow on these newer generations of hardware. Even in the case of Turing it's only mode-setting/display support only as there isn't any 3D engine support until NVIDIA ends up releasing the signed firmware files at some point in the future, only then likely still to be crippled by the limited boot clock frequencies.
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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

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