NVIDIA 1.0-9XXX Series Preview
It was a year ago today that we were here to share with you what to expect from NVIDIA's 1.0-8XXX Linux display drivers. Most notably in that preview was word of SLI (Scalable Link Interface) finally coming to the proprietary Linux drivers. When that support did finally come, we at Phoronix were quickly disappointed with its indigent support. The performance benefits of strapping in two GPUs were non-existent with the popular Linux native games. There were also a few problems that had to be resolved, and still the quality of Linux SLI remains inferior to the Windows ForceWare advantages. Today for your reading pleasure are a few details as to what NVIDIA Linux users can expect to see from the upcoming 1.0-9XXX driver series.
The NVIDIA Linux 1.0-8XXX drivers had made their debut back on December 5, 2005 with the release of the 1.0-8174 drivers (after the 1.0-8168 display drivers were originally leaked on the Internet). The 1.0-8178 drivers quickly replaced the 1.0-8174 release later on in the month. The next step in the Linux Rel80 series was the 1.0-8756 release in April followed by 1.0-8762 in May. The latest driver to come out of NVIDIA has been the 1.0-8774 driver late last month. This latest release had delivered the long awaited X.Org 7.1 support. To this date, no official or Beta candidates for NVIDIA's 1.0-9XXX Linux display drivers have yet to appear. The NVIDIA Solaris and FreeBSD drivers have mostly followed the same release schedule as the Linux drivers. The Solaris/FreeBSD drivers have contained many of the same features (except for BSD lacking SLI support).
For comparison, the first official Windows XP NVIDIA display driver in the Rel90 series had come on June 23 of this year. Since then there have been multiple 9X.XX driver releases, as well as a number of Beta candidates for Windows on NVIDIA's nZone. The common release practice for NVIDIA's Linux display drivers has been approximately 4 month/1 month cycles. Based upon details exposed by NVIDIA Linux representatives, as well as other information discovered, the popular thought has been that the 1.0-9XXX drivers would make their appearance in the August/September/October timeframe. September is quickly coming to an end, and as of yet we have seen no sign of these drivers. Whether or not NVIDIA has revised their release schedule, we do not know at this point. As the releases have progressed, it has become harder to gauge their exact release cycle. With the NVIDIA Quadro Plex VCS being an $18,000+ USD graphics solution, and officially supporting Linux, it should warrant a new driver release in the near future in order to append this needed support. NVIDIA's only public comment on the release date was from Lonni Friedman in early September when he had shared on NvNews that the inaugural 1.0-9XXX driver would be here within six months.
We do know several details as to what changes are in store for this first 1.0-9XXX release. This information was gathered from the NvNews forums, the unofficial NVIDIA Linux IRC channel, and confirming the information with other sources. Lonni Friedman and Christian Zander are moderators on the NvNews NVIDIA Linux forum, and from time to time, they have shared a few details as to what will be coming in the next driver release. There also has been activity on the IRC channels by such employees as Aarron Plattner. On the next page are a few of the details (listed in no particular order) as to what can be found in the next driver release.