Nouveau Developers Remain Blocked By NVIDIA From Advancing Open-Source Driver

Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 23 September 2017 at 11:48 AM EDT. 132 Comments
Longtime Nouveau contributors Martin Peres and Karol Herbst presented at this week's XDC2017 X.Org conference at the Googleplex in Mountain View. It was a quick talk as they didn't have a whole lot to report on due to their open-source NVIDIA "Nouveau" driver efforts largely being restricted by NVIDIA Corp.

Ever since the roll-out of the GeForce GTX 900 graphics cards and their requirement on signed firmware images, their hands have been tied in offering accelerated open-source driver support for these graphics cards and newer. While NVIDIA has released signed firmware images for allowing hardware acceleration on Maxwell and Pascal hardware, they still can't offer good support as NVIDIA has yet to provide any signed power management firmware support. Without that, they can't re-clock the GPUs to their maximum performance states due to being unable to control the fans and power management properly. Thus it's still with the GeForce 600/700 "Kepler" graphics cards where they can offer the best support.

The summary of the Nouveau lightning talk at XDC2017 comes down to:

- Nouveau is making progress on OpenGL 4.5 conformance testing. Support for 3D images on Fermi/Kepler is the main blocker while there are some CTS failures in the Mesa common code.

- DP MST multi-stream transport is implemented.

- Power management firmware is still missing and thus no fan management or re-clocking with Maxwell2 and Pascal.

- NVIDIA's firmware changes remain a big blocker for Nouveau being able to support GeForce GTX 900 series and newer properly on open-source.

- NVIDIA communication is mostly down now since NVIDIA's "open-source guy" left the company earlier this year.

- NVIDIA has been working more on open-source "NVGPU" as their own open-source driver for Android. NVGPU will never be accepted upstream in the kernel.

- NVIDIA developers attending the event acknowledge there are problems and more needs to be done for them to get better. "Stay tuned."

The short talk is embedded below while there are also the four PDF slides.

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