Nouveau In Linux 3.20 Will Have A Lot Of Code Cleaning
Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 26 January 2015 at 12:38 PM EST. Add A Comment
While the Nouveau pull request has yet to be issued for the DRM-Next merge window that will ultimately target the Linux 3.20 kernel, a look at the changes so far appear to mostly indicate this open-source NVIDIA driver is just going through a period of code cleaning and reorganization.

Those wanting to peek at the Nouveau changes that will go into DRM-Next and then onto the mainline Linux kernel in two to three weeks time, there's currently the Linux-3.20 Git branch of Nouveau DRM that's maintained by Ben Skeggs at Red Hat.

That Git branch has nearly 100 changes that were pushed five days ago, but most of those commits are about cleaning up the code as opposed to adding in any exciting end-user changes. One of the changes done by NVIDIA's Alexandre Courbot merges the nouveau_platform and nouveau kernel modules to simplify future development. While the two kernel modules have been combined, the platform device support with Tegra remains optional to compile into the main Nouveau driver.

There's also a lot of churn due to a namespace switch with renaming a lot of functions from nouveau_* over to nvkm_* name with NVKM appearing short for being the NVIDIA Kernel Module. No binary changes result from the Nouveau to NVKM changes. "The namespace of NVKM is being changed to nvkm_ instead of nouveau_, which will be used for the DRM part of the driver. This is being done in order to make it very clear as to what part of the driver a given symbol belongs to, and as a minor step towards splitting the DRM driver out to be able to stand on its own (for virt)."

The 3.20 changes also shift the Nouveau driver to using the device and chipset names as officially used by NVIDIA, rather than the own Nouveau names, to ease in collaboration and communication with NVIDIA Corp. Also included as part of the Linux 3.20 work is PWR support for the GK20A (Tegra K1 Kepler graphics), a VT suspend/resume fix, and other mostly maintenance work for this kernel cycle.

Sadly there's no GeForce GTX 900 "Maxwell" hardware acceleration support, which still appears to be blocked by waiting on NVIDIA to provide signed GPU firmware/microcode images. There's also no major breakthroughs in the graphics core re-clocking realm to report this cycle, which is the driver's number one limitation right now to performing well.

In case you missed it, one of the top Nouveau developers recently joined Intel's open-source graphics team. If you want to get involved with Nouveau to improve this community-based, open-source NVIDIA Linux driver, visit their project site.
Related News
About The Author
Author picture

Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

Popular News This Week