Open-Source NVIDIA "Nouveau" DRM Changes Begin Queuing Ahead Of Linux 5.1
Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 13 February 2019 at 12:03 AM EST. 23 Comments
NOUVEAU --
The Nouveau kernel driver tree where development happens on this open-source NVIDIA DRM driver saw a fresh batch of changes on Tuesday in aiming for new material with Linux 5.1.

This latest work comes from Red Hat's Ben Skeggs who continues serving as the Nouveau DRM driver maintainer and often responsible for many of the Nouveau DRM changes himself. There is just more than two dozen changes that landed into the Nouveau kernel repository.

Unfortunately, this work doesn't bring any re-clocking support for GeForce GTX 900 series or newer nor any other major improvements to this open-source, primarily reverse-engineered driver support. While the initial open-source NVIDIA Turing support for the GeForce RTX 2000 series was added into Linux 5.0, it remains display-only with kernel mode-setting. The Turing 3D acceleration remains primarily blocked at this stage by NVIDIA not yet having published the signed firmware images needed for hardware initialization.

What this code does bring is some bits of work around Turing, such as instantiating the "GSP Falcon" to which one of the patch comments reads, "Exact meaning of the acronym is unknown, but we need this for Turing ACR." The falcon for NVDEC is also now instantiated along with some other bits that appear all needed as part of the "secure boot" support for ultimately allowing Turing to be properly initialized on this open-source driver and to have hardware acceleration.

There is also Nouveau code to allow for accelerated buffer moves even when the GR initialization fails, but that will only be useful for speeding-up suspend/resume around saving the frame-buffer contents as for end-user benefits.

So Nouveau is still chugging along but unfortunately no breakthroughs in sharply improving the re-clocking situation or other features without the support of NVIDIA.
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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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