NVIDIA's Proposal For A New API Better Than GBM Has Already Made Some Progress
Written by Michael Larabel in Wayland on 23 September 2016 at 02:26 PM EDT. 73 Comments
On the first day of the XDC2016 conference this week in Finland NVIDIA presented over their GBM vs. EGLStreams debate that's been ongoing for months with NVIDIA's lack of GBM API support by their driver being what's preventing the binary blob from working with current-generation Wayland compositors. In that session they called for a new community-driven API to suit the needs of device memory / surface allocation and could succeed the Generic Buffer Manager. By the end of XDC2016, some progress has already been made.

James Jones briefly talked on Friday about the progress made over the past three days in communicating face-to-face with other graphics driver developers from other organizations. Progress has been made over some areas of this proposed Unix Device Memory API when it comes to allocation and capabilities and other areas. It's also been agreed upon so far that this new allocation API will be exposed via a centralized library with there being user-space driver/vendor back-ends to hook in the actual support depending upon the driver/hardware.

Of course, not all could be agreed upon and settled within a few days. There still are a number of unresolved items and areas where additional research is needed.

The results from the XDC2016 memory allocation discussions are summarized via these few slides. There is also this collaborative Google Doc where various notes and proposals are being gathered for this future API.

It will probably be months before this new API design is agreed upon by all major stakeholders and perhaps even longer until it's fully implemented by the key graphics drivers and only after that will we probably see support from the various Wayland compositors, unless the GBM interface ends up being compatible over the top of this future API. Thus for now GeForce/Quadro Linux desktop users running the NVIDIA proprietary driver will still be without Wayland support.
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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 20,000 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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