NVIDIA 2013 Linux Graphics Driver Year-In-Review
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 18 December 2013. Page 2 of 7. 1 Comment

Keeping us entertained over the summer months was the 319.32 driver that supported new GPUs (GeForce GTX 760, GeForce 720M, GRID K520, and GRID K340), PowerMizer changes inside NVIDIA Settings, some tearing work for Kepler-based GPUs when using RandR 1.4 Source Output, and various bug-fixes. This driver release was also the first to bring a NVIDIA ARM Linux graphics driver. NVIDIA now maintains an ARMv7 (32-bit) build of their GeForce Linux graphics driver (not to be confused with the Tegra ARM Linux drivers).

While the NVIDIA Linux driver had already advanced a lot by mid-way through 2013 thanks to the 319.xx series, July was marked by the first 325.xx beta. This driver brought a lot of GPU driver fixes, removed support for Linux 2.4 kernels, improved rendering performance for certain situations, support for configuring SLI Mosaic and Base Mosaic modes, and other changes that were smaller in importance. The NVIDIA 325 driver series was stabilized in August.

During Oktoberfest came the introduction of yet another big upgraded driver series. The NVIDIA 331 driver brought initial EGL support. The EGL support though was (and still is) limited to supporting the API on 32-bit platforms for OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0 and only with the X11 windowing system. EGL is needed for Wayland and Mir support, besides being important in the mobile world, and we can expect full OpenGL and multiple windowing system support from the NVIDIA binary blob hopefully not too far out.

The NVIDIA 331.13 Beta driver also brought many bug-fixes, GPU utilization reporting within the NVIDIA Settings panel, support for reporting the tachometer-measured fan speed via NVIDIA Settings and NV-CONTROL, support for multiple NVIDIA kernel modules for dealing with different GPUs, a system memory cache for improving the performance of certain X rendering operations, an updated NVIDIA driver installer, and an assortment of other work.

A few weeks after the 331 series premiere was the 331.17 Beta update to add a new NVIDIA Unified Memory Kernel Module. This new unified memory kernel module is needed for NVIDIA's CUDA 6 support.

Last but certainly not least, the latest major driver release we're at now is NVIDIA 331.20 driver package. The NVIDIA 331.20 driver brought support for NVIDIA OpenGL Framebuffer Capture (NvFBCOpenGL) as a high-performance, low-latency interface for capturing a composited frame-buffer of an X screen. This can be used in instances like streaming video games to mobile devices as part of NVIDIA's GRID activities. The 331.20 driver also brought several bug fixes and other minor improvements, including new Linux kernel support.

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