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Next year could certainly be interesting in the world of Linux GPU drivers, specifically NVIDIA this time going by a talk they're going to have at the GPU Technology Conference.

On their website (thanks Phoronix) they're listing a session titled "Open Source, Linux Kernel, and NVIDIA", which is being presented by long-time NVIDIA engineer John Hubbard. The title alone is enough to really get you thinking, what exactly are they up to? Then you read the details of the talk, which makes it sound even more exciting and makes me very curious:

We'll report up-to-the-minute developments on NVIDIA's status and activities, and possibly (depending on last-minute developments) a few future plans and directions, regarding our contributions to Linux kernel; supporting Nouveau (the open source kernel driver for NVIDIA GPUs, that is in the Linux kernel), including signed firmware behavior, documentation, and patches; and NVIDIA kernel drivers.

Both AMD and Intel already have their drivers open, with developers paid to work on them and so perhaps NVIDIA will finally follow along? Stranger things have happened, so I wouldn't completely count NVIDIA out on that, although I'm not expecting them to make such a big shift. What do you think they're planning?

GTC is being hosted in San Jose, California and runs from March 23 - 26, 2020. The talk doesn't seem to have a set time or date yet.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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23 comments
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x_wing 6 Dec, 2019
To be honest, I don't get very exited as the primary topic for the sessions is listed as 'Supercomputing'. Lets see what the announce but I don't have big expectations.
lectrode 6 Dec, 2019
Quoting: x_wingTo be honest, I don't get very exited as the primary topic for the sessions is listed as 'Supercomputing'. Lets see what the announce but I don't have big expectations.

Primary topic might not be very important. Any plans on the part of Nvidia for "supporting Nouveau" will likely make it better all-around, and hopefully help with overall development. Very much looking forward to their announcements in this regard.

IMHO, any steps in the right direction are better than no steps or steps in the wrong direction.
slaapliedje 6 Dec, 2019
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Quoting: GuestInteresting. I think that earths polar caps will melt before NVIDIA open up their driver. But we'll see what happens in the next year.Maybe NVIDIA will give us a big surprise in conference and open up their driver code:) One can hope that.But in reality that doesn't happen easily. So my expectations are low...
Oh, so a few years from now? :P
tuubi 6 Dec, 2019
Quoting: GuestAlready bought an AMD RX 5700 XT too late Nvidia.
Even if the unthinkable happens and they actually start properly contributing to Nouveau development, it'll likely be quite a while until it results in perfect open source driver support for their latest gaming hardware. So, maybe we'll actually have more choice the next time we're looking for a GPU. (I got a 5700 XT as well.)
Shmerl 6 Dec, 2019
Good, if true. Nouveau replacing the blob will be very good for Linux desktop progress and Wayland adoption, that has been slowed down by Nvidia for years. But for now, I'm pretty skeptical about them actually working with upstream, given long standing Nvidia's reputation.


Last edited by Shmerl on 6 December 2019 at 8:58 pm UTC
Stenka 6 Dec, 2019
Quoting: GuestAlready bought an AMD RX 5700 XT too late Nvidia.

AMD... No hardware encoder support for in-home streaming, no thanks.
Shmerl 6 Dec, 2019
Quoting: StenkaAMD... No hardware encoder support for in-home streaming, no thanks.

It has H.265 hardware encoder, but not VP9. That's annoying, but not a major issue.

From vainfo on RX 5700XT:

vainfo: Driver version: Mesa Gallium driver 19.3.0-rc5 for AMD NAVI10 (DRM 3.35.0, 5.4.1+, LLVM 9.0.0)
vainfo: Supported profile and entrypoints
      VAProfileMPEG2Simple            : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileMPEG2Main              : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVC1Simple              : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVC1Main                : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVC1Advanced            : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264ConstrainedBaseline: VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264ConstrainedBaseline: VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileH264Main               : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264Main               : VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileH264High               : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264High               : VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileHEVCMain               : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileHEVCMain               : VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileHEVCMain10             : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileJPEGBaseline           : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVP9Profile0            : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVP9Profile2            : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileNone                   : VAEntrypointVideoProc


Personally, I'm looking forward to AV1 becoming ubiquitous everywhere. It should happen soon.


Last edited by Shmerl on 6 December 2019 at 9:09 pm UTC
Patola 6 Dec, 2019
Won't happen, not in any meaningful way. I doubt NVIDIA will ever allow their buyers to control their own property. They do not allow passthrough virtualization nor high-throughput video recording on their consumer products by purposeful disabling these features on them, letting them enabled only in their corporate GPUs. Example, https://www.reddit.com/r/linux_gaming/comments/e47rr7/ever_wanted_something_faster_than_xcomposite_or/ -- just see how long that hack lasts.
Stenka 6 Dec, 2019
Quoting: Shmerl
Quoting: StenkaAMD... No hardware encoder support for in-home streaming, no thanks.

It has H.265 hardware encoder, but not VP9. That's annoying, but not a major issue.

From vainfo on RX 5700XT:

vainfo: Driver version: Mesa Gallium driver 19.3.0-rc5 for AMD NAVI10 (DRM 3.35.0, 5.4.1+, LLVM 9.0.0)
vainfo: Supported profile and entrypoints
      VAProfileMPEG2Simple            : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileMPEG2Main              : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVC1Simple              : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVC1Main                : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVC1Advanced            : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264ConstrainedBaseline: VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264ConstrainedBaseline: VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileH264Main               : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264Main               : VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileH264High               : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264High               : VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileHEVCMain               : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileHEVCMain               : VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileHEVCMain10             : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileJPEGBaseline           : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVP9Profile0            : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVP9Profile2            : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileNone                   : VAEntrypointVideoProc


Personally, I'm looking forward to AV1 becoming ubiquitous everywhere. It should happen soon.

Steam no support amd mesa vaapi implementation, gaming on Steam link not playable, totally choppy software-rendered, in nvidia simply works.
Kimyrielle 6 Dec, 2019
I am sooo happy that AMD is a true choice again, so I don't need to worry about these guys open-sourcing their driver, or not. There is absolutely no way that my next PC will feature an NVidia-made GPU. NVidia is a textbook example why (near-)monopolies are bad, and also a textbook example for a thoroughly evil company.
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