Don't Expect An Open-Source NVIDIA Vulkan Driver Anytime Soon
Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 23 September 2016 at 08:10 AM EDT. 34 Comments
NOUVEAU --
Besides Nouveau developers being frustrated by NVIDIA's signed firmware blobs, at XDC2016 they also made other remarks about their focus on OpenGL and performance while Vulkan support isn't expected anytime soon.

Some of the other highlights from Thursday's Nouveau status update include:

- The "ultimate goal" is having OpenGL 4.5 support. They aren't out too far, at least when it comes to Fermi support. The next Mesa release having OpenGL 4.1 done for Maxwell and Pascal.

- They've been working hard on supporting new features of modern NVIDIA GPUs.

- There have been experiments with SPIR-V (the IR of OpenCL 2.1+ and Vulkan) to NV50 IR although extended to support Fermi/Kepler/Maxwell. Basic functionality is supported, including support for if statements, clCreateProgramWithBinary/clCreateProgramWithIL, atomic operations, and more. There is work-in-progress Nouveau SPIR-V support for textures and surfaces. Support for ARB_gl_spirv may be looked at in the future along with mainlining this code.

- While there has been work on SPIR-V support, regarding actual Vulkan support they mentioned "don't expect something soon" and "see you at XDC'17", implying not to expect any Nouveau Vulkan support in the next year.

- The firmware comments and shortcomings as explained in the earlier article.

- At the end, Andy Ritger of NVIDIA does apologize to how the company has been acting with regard to the firmware situation in recent years, etc.

The presentation slides have yet to be uploaded, but the video stream from yesterday is now finalized. The hour-long presentation can be found from the day two video embedded below, just jump in roughly 60 minutes to where the Nouveau presentation starts.



Update: PDF slides now available.
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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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