On the ATI/AMD Radeon side, when your hardware is no longer supported by the mainline Catalyst driver (e.g. right now all Radeon X1000 [R500] GPUs and older), you're left to use just the open-source driver stack, which obviously works quite well for many consumers on new and old hardware. AMD doesn't update their legacy Catalyst support for this older hardware in terms of bug-fixes and support for new X.Org / Linux releases. NVIDIA though, however, is continuing to support their vintage hardware via legacy Linux driver updates. This week they've released four new drivers.
Earlier this month NVIDIA released the first 280 series Linux driver with initial support for X.Org Server 1.11, among other changes. Before ending out last week, NVIDIA's engineers released another 280 beta Linux driver.
While NVIDIA's proprietary driver for their GeForce/Quadro hardware still lacks RandR 1.2+ support (that will hopefully change when RandR 1.4 is finally out), NVIDIA has proposed extending RandR to support over-scan compensation. This support isn't for their mainline NVIDIA binary driver but rather their TEGRA Linux driver.
While NVIDIA yesterday released a new Linux driver, it was quick to be pointed out in our forums that NVIDIA Optimus Technology still is not officially supported under Linux. But that's not all that's missing from their proprietary driver.
While NVIDIA is already in the middle of working on the 280 driver series and there's been a public beta of that, this Friday morning NVIDIA has released a new 275.xx stable release. While this release is still tagged in the 275 series, it does contain a few worthwhile fixes and new hardware enablement.
Now that NVIDIA has officially released the 275.xx Linux driver, they're onto the 280.xx driver series. Just in time for the US holiday weekend they have released the NVIDIA 280.04 binary Linux driver beta.
Being released by NVIDIA this afternoon is the Tegra 12 Alpha 1 Linux release. This is a Linux software release intended for developers using NVIDIA's Tegra 2 platform.
NVIDIA has officially introduced their 275.xx Linux driver series with the stable release of the 275.09.07 binary driver this morning.
NVIDIA's Linux/Unix engineering team has issued a new Linux beta driver in the 275.xx series. To succeed the first 275.xx Linux beta that was put out a few weeks back, NVIDIA has released the 275.09.04 Beta. There's only a few changes in this beta released today, but among them is support for the GL_EXT_x11_sync_object extension.
NVIDIA has put out two new proprietary Linux driver updates. One of the drivers is a pre-release in the 270.xx series that largely is after bug-fixing, but the second driver is more interesting as it's the first (development) NVIDIA Linux driver release in the 275.xx series. The NVIDIA 275.09 beta driver brings new features.
In continuation of the recent topic about NVIDIA Optimus coming unofficially to Linux, Red Hat's David Airlie has just pushed several patches into drm-next that deal with Optimus. These patches will be part of the DRM pull request to then go into the Linux 2.6.40 kernel once its merge window opens.
NVIDIA's Optimus multi-GPU technology now works under Linux. Well, at least for some notebooks, it's been hacked together by an open-source developer and in fact is working to use both Intel and NVIDIA graphics processors simultaneously with the respective drivers. This is the best Linux implementation we've seen yet with NVIDIA Corp still not announcing plans to officially support this technology under non-Microsoft operating systems.
Aside from political issues surrounding open vs. closed-source (graphics) drivers on Linux, the proprietary NVIDIA Linux driver is widely liked. The proprietary NVIDIA Linux driver is relatively bug/trouble-free, has a performance parity to the Windows driver, supports new hardware right away, and has a near feature parity to the Windows driver. There's not much more you could ask for from a closed-source driver, aside from a few missing features. One of the missing features that's been widely talked about as of late has been Optimus.
NVIDIA has updated its legacy binary Linux display driver. The NVIDIA 173.14.30 is this new driver release and it simply adds support for X.Org Server 1.10 and compatibility for the newest Linux kernel releases (up through Linux 2.6.38). That's it.
The NVIDIA crew working on their proprietary Linux driver have just pre-released a new build, NVIDIA 270.41.03. This Linux driver update mainly adds support for a number of new GeForce / Quadro GPUs.
A call for testing has been issued on NVIDIA's binary Linux display driver for the upcoming Ubuntu 11.04 release.
One of the features that's supported by NVIDIA's binary Linux driver that is not supported -- nor has even been attempted -- by the community Nouveau project or any other open-source project is for 3D Vision / 3D Vision Pro. 3D Vision is NVIDIA's technology that combines their consumer and workstation GPUs with specialized glasses and capable displays/projectors to provide a realistic 3D experience. 3D Vision Pro is effectively the same but with a focus upon the professional/enterprise markets by creating an immerse experience in Autodesk, Maya, and other costly applications.
Due to RandR 1.4 being pulled from X.Org Server 1.10, the video driver ABI had to be bumped to again, and this was at the last possible minute with X.Org Server 1.10 being released just days later. For the open-source X.Org drivers this just means recompiling the driver for the latest binary interface. For the binary blobs, this means NVIDIA and AMD must put out new releases.
NVIDIA has announced the release of the CUDA 4.0 Tool-Kit this morning, which continues to be fully supported under Linux. NVIDIA's Compute Unified Device Architecture 4.0 focuses upon GPUDirect 2.0 Technology, Unified Virtual Addressing, and Thrust C++ Template Performance Primitive Libraries.
And so it begins. Less than 24 hours after presenting OpenBenchmarking.org on the weekend, dozens of results are beginning to pour in (the latest test results). In particular, there's already a few sets off results that may interest many Phoronix readers.
Last week when talking about NVIDIA looking to expand its Linux team (hire more engineers), I asked what else NVIDIA Linux customers wanted that already wasn't offered by the proprietary driver for Linux / BSD / Solaris operating systems. Aside from the obvious one, of many desktop users wanting NVIDIA to support some sort of an open-source strategy, other expressed views are listed below.
In early December I shared that NVIDIA was looking to expand its Linux driver team after Andy Ritger mentioned they were looking to take on new engineers. It appears they're still looking to expand with an updated job posting yesterday seeking a Linux graphics software engineer.
This morning I talked about a stable NVIDIA Linux driver update (v260.19.36) and that a 270.xx beta driver would be imminent. It turns out, however, that the NVIDIA 270.18 Beta driver is already publicly available. It can be tested for Linux x86/x86_64 with a couple of new features to this proprietary graphics driver.
On Friday the NVIDIA engineers working on their proprietary Linux driver put out a new driver update. This new driver update is marked NVIDIA 260.19.36 Certified, but it brings just three official changes.
NVIDIA has announced from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that it's working to deliver ARM CPUs for a range of devices from PCs to super-computers. NVIDIA plans to build high-performance ARM CPUs for a range of devices, including servers and workstations. Internally this is being worked on at NVIDIA under the Project Denver codename.
Two weeks after NVIDIA had put out their unannounced 260.19.21 Linux driver, they have returned to the web and have officially released the NVIDIA 260.19.26 graphics driver for Linux x86/x86_64 along with Solaris and FreeBSD operating systems.
Over the week I mentioned that NVIDIA may be working on a new driver architecture for its unified, proprietary GPU driver on Windows/Linux/Solaris/BSD platforms. This information was learned when one of NVIDIA's Linux engineers was engaging in a technical debate over their fence synchronization patches for the X.Org Server. Andy Ritger who heads the NVIDIA Unix Graphics Driver team, has provided us some brief comments with regards to their ongoing architectural work.
When going over the mailing list messages from the past few days regarding concerns over NVIDIA's fence sync patches for X.Org Server 1.10, one of the statements by NVIDIA's James Jones indicates that they are working on a new driver architecture. What though could this new driver architecture hold in store?
As reported this morning, RandR 1.4 is now ready for X.Org Server 1.10 after this next xorg-server release's merge window was kept open to allow this work to be finished and land in the Git tree. RandR 1.4 brings per-CRTC pixmaps, sprite transforms, and a new RandR request that will hopefully allow NVIDIA's binary driver to finally support RandR 1.2+ features. While the merge window is kept open for a short period of time, NVIDIA has been trying to put in their Fence Sync support for the X Server. While it looks like these patches will still be accepted, some objections and questions have arose over this open-source contribution by NVIDIA.
X.Org Server 1.10 was just looking to be a big bug-fix release to the X.Org Server with no major features being introduced, up until the merge window was about to be closed. Then last night it was proposed by Keith Packard, the xorg-server 1.10 release manager, to keep it open a few extra days so that he could finally merge the per-CRTC pixmap support. This work alone is nice and is long awaited, but now NVIDIA's James Jones is calling for pulling another feature that's had code available for months: X Synchronization Fences.
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