What Do You Want From NVIDIA's Next Driver?
Written by Michael Larabel in NVIDIA on 27 April 2010 at 11:21 AM EDT. 76 Comments
With NVIDIA having released a stable 195.xx Linux driver and are working on a second stable update that's due out in the coming days, the bulk of the driver development work is now focused on their next major driver series. This next major driver release from NVIDIA is the 256.xx series, but what are you hoping it will bring forth?

Rather than the 200.xx series being NVIDIA's next driver series, the 256 series is what's coming next. We know the 256 release will bring for NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround Technology on GeForce 400/200 Series GPUs, according to this NVIDIA page, but beyond that the details have been scarce. Yesterday it was announced that NVIDIA would unify their desktop and mobile/notebook drivers into a single ForceWare package on Windows (such as mentioned at HotHardware), but NVIDIA's Linux driver is already unified between their desktop and mobile GeForce/Quadro/Tesla product groups. There are though their legacy binary drivers, but nothing is changing there. NVIDIA's Optimus will also be supported by their unified 256 driver on Windows, but NVIDIA still has no plans for rolling out that mobile technology within their Linux driver.

Back in October we interviewed Andy Ritger, who leads the user-space side of the NVIDIA UNIX Graphics Driver team, and in there (among other topics) he shares some of the items that will be worked on over the next twelve months include lots of new hardware support, resolving the buffer presentation/synchronization problems within composited X desktops, and expose VDPAU interoperability with OpenGL and CUDA/OpenCL.

RandR 1.2/1.3 support within NVIDIA's binary driver has also been long neglected, which will hopefully be addressed soon. Other lower priority (or unranked) items mentioned in that interview include kernel mode-setting support, VDPAU information within the nvidia-settings panel, SLI profiles within nvidia-settings, GPU usage monitoring, PerfKit/PerfHUD for Linux, and new installation mechanisms.

One of the common complaints that's also come up as of late with NVIDIA's latest Linux drivers have been issues surrounding PowerMizer not working correctly, which is hopefully one of the fixes that will work its way into NVIDIA's Release 256 for Linux / OpenSolaris / FreeBSD.

In 2006 and 2007 there were security problems with the binary NVIDIA Linux driver and now there is apparently a new zero-day vulnerability within NVIDIA's Linux stack, which we hope will be fixed by the NVIDIA 256.xx release.

Is there anything else you are hoping for with NVIDIA's next major Linux driver release? Let us know in the forums.

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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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