Running Clear Linux With NVIDIA's Proprietary Driver Stack
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 7 May 2019. Page 1 of 1. 18 Comments

Following a Phoronix reader pointing out a NVIDIA driver setup guide for Clear Linux, I decided to have a go at it to see how well NVIDIA's proprietary graphics driver stack can work with Intel's high-performance Linux distribution.

With the fast-moving kernel and other packages of Clear Linux, it hasn't been the easiest to target for proprietary drivers. Since earlier this year they began offering an optional "kernel-native-dkms" kernel package that enables DKMS (Dynamic Kernel Module System) support for allowing the likes of the NVIDIA kernel module to run easier and in most cases remain building against the distribution's rolling-release kernel updates. Now with the "Install NVIDIA Drivers" guide they have offered their official guidance on installing the NVIDIA proprietary driver so that it jives with the rest of their software stack as to not cause any interference.

After it was pointed out this weekend by a forum member, I tried it out and sure enough the simple guide worked out just fine and I was quickly off to the races with a NVIDIA-enabled Clear Linux stack. Granted, the experience isn't one-click/trivial if you are a beginner/new Linux user it's not as simple as enabling the NVIDIA binary driver on the likes of Ubuntu.

Obviously with being a proprietary driver and the same binary bits across distributions, there isn't any magical performance gains to point out when it comes to using the NVIDIA driver itself. But depending upon your workloads, Clear Linux could yield an upper-hand in cases where it comes down to its default P-State governor choice, glibc optimizations, etc, but for the actual GPU performance they aren't able to offer any miracles with the binary driver.

When running some quick tests on the GeForce GTX 1060 + Core i9 9900K configuration between Ubuntu 19.04 and Clear Linux 29250 with the NVIDIA 430.09 driver on each, it yielded as much with only performance differences in cases of CPU-bound tests.

Anyhow, see this tutorial if wanting to setup NVIDIA driver GPU support on Clear Linux. If you are using NVIDIA hardware, it's certainly a much better experience than using Nouveau where for recent hardware you have no re-clocking support, no working Vulkan or OpenCL support yet, and other limitations.


About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.


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