Nouveau vs. Modesetting X.Org Drivers For Open-Source NVIDIA Users

Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 6 April 2016 at 09:09 PM EDT. 7 Comments
As a result of comments made on the recent Intel's Unreleased 3.0 X.Org Driver Gets More Fixes For DRI3/Present article, a reader inquired to the Nouveau developers about the X.Org DDX driver options for open-source NVIDIA users on Linux.

Specifically, the user asked whether the xf86-video-modesetting generic DDX is better than xf86-video-nouveau and why don't Nouveau developers drop the xf86-video-nouveau DDX in favor of this universal DDX driver that relies upon KMS support and GLAMOR for 2D acceleration.

Prolific Nouveau developer Ilia Mirkin went on to explain that GLAMOR acceleration on works on the NVIDIA G80 (GeForce 8) GPUs and newer where as Nouveau focuses on support going back to the Riva TNT2 days. Also, the xf86-video-nouveau is designed to be simple and work well, this DDX driver can be used without Nouveau's OpenGL driver (unlike the mode-setting driver when wanting GLAMOR acceleration), and previously GLAMOR happened to have some bugs with Nouveau (but that appears to now be addressed).

Nouveau DRM maintainer Ben Skeggs also chimed in to say that he's for using xf86-video-modesetting on GeForce 8 series hardware and newer. He also doesn't plan to maintain the xf86-video-nouveau DDX driver beyond bug fixes. New hardware and newer features will thus only be in the modesetting DDX driver unless other independent developers step up to improve xf86-video-nouveau. The commentary can be read here.
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