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The most popular NVIDIA Linux news + milestones in 2020



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NVIDIA’s RTX 30 “Ampere” launch was quite a success for 2020 along with new Jetson products and more. Meanwhile, NVIDIA’s proprietary driver on the Linux front continued to offer the same day-to-day support, has about parity to Windows, and little breadcrumbs with open source support so far. But there are still indications that more possible open source actions may come, as well as potentially better Wayland support to look forward to in 2021.

Unfortunately, there was no major NVIDIA open source announcement for 2020, which was originally planned before the pandemic for some kind of announcement to take place in the GTC. But it seems that something is still brewing and will hopefully learn more not so far into 2021

about which parts of the driver stack NVIDIA can potentially open up. Meanwhile, the Nouveau driver support saw the first Turing GPU support this year, but it is still paralyzed like all GPUs since the GTX 900 series in not being able to re-clock reliably to hit the rated clock frequencies.

Meanwhile, on the NVIDIA driver Wayland front, they are working on DMA-BUF support that will provide better Wayland composer integration.

As for the most popular NVIDIA Linux stories on Phoronix for 2020 (news only, not counting reviews / reference articles), they include:

There is finally support for open source-accelerated NVIDIA Turing graphics

Here’s another great feature coming for Linux 5.6: The Nouveau driver has initial accelerated support for NVIDIA “Turing” GPUs! This will eventually come with NVIDIA set to make public the Turing firmware images needed for hardware initialization.

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3000 series launches with impressive specifications, competitive prices

As expected a lot among a constant stream of rumors and leaks in recent weeks, NVIDIA just unveiled the GeForce RTX 3000 “Ampere” series.

NVIDIA contributes much less to the Linux kernel than Intel or AMD

Yesterday I put together some statistics about AMD vs. Intel’s contribution to the upstream Linux kernel during the 2010s, but one request that came in from that was how NVIDIA’s contribution compares. Here’s a look at NVIDIA’s contributions to the Linux kernel over the last decade.

Linux 5.9 provides protection after NVIDIA’s recent “GPL Condom” event

As a result of the recent discussions about the NVIDIA NetGPU code that relied on another middle layer for the interface between NVIDIA’s proprietary driver and the open source kernel code, a new update is on the way for Linux 5.9 to fight back against such an effort.

ASUS launches graphics cards that can actually be good for open source NVIDIA fans

ASUS has released a new budget graphics card that can actually be good for those who want to use the NVIDIA (Nouveau) driver stack on Linux.

Core developers work to block NVIDIA’s “GPL condom” efforts around new NetGPU code

Linux kernel developers are working to tighten access to just GPL kernel symbols and kernel shims as interfaces with proprietary kernel modules. This latest work is driven by code recently released to improve the Linux network code where NVIDIA’s proprietary core driver would be the first consumer.

An early reference for NVIDIA CUDA GPU performance on WSL2

Our recent references have shown WSL / WSL2 performance on the latest Windows 10 builds to be pretty good compared to running just metal Linux. But after the May 2020 update and on the latest Insider Preview builds, the first support for GPU acceleration is in the context of updated Windows graphics drivers. The first emphasis is on GPU computing with DirectML and for NVIDIA hardware CUDA support as well. Here are a few CUDA references that went elegantly during WSL2, although the performance leaves a lot to be desired.

NVIDIA adds firmware needed for open source acceleration GeForce 16 Series

As written about last week, in the works for the Linux 5.7 core this spring is open source NVIDIA “Nouveau” acceleration for the GeForce 16 series. This code is currently in the Nouveau development tree until it lands in DRM-Next for Linux 5.7, but NVIDIA has now released the necessary firmware binaries needed to enable hardware acceleration on these Turing GPUs.

NVIDIA does not expect to have Linux 5.9 driver support in a new month

While NVIDIA is usually quite timely in supporting new versions of the Linux kernel and aims to have a driver by the end of the release candidates for new series, in the case of the newly coined Linux 5.9 kernel it takes much longer.

Blender 2.82s NVIDIA OptiX support works very well

Continuing with our Blender 2.82 benchmarking for this open source 3D modeling software update that debuted last month with many improvements, here are some new references for CUDA and the OptiX backend for NVIDIA GPU acceleration.

Some nasty tags can make NVIDIA’s Linux driver work with accelerated XWayland

Red Hats Adam Jackson has been working on “GLX Delay” as a means of providing accelerated GLX with OpenGL for XWayland when using NVIDIA’s own driver. The proposed code goes through Mesa, although it is for the proprietary NVIDIA driver benefit and also requires modification in the OpenGL Vendor Neutral Dispatch Library (libglvnd).

NVIDIA demonstrates porting of DirectX beam tracking to Vulkan

Great “open source” performance is not so common for NVIDIA or Microsoft much less together, but thanks to their open source work on DXC DirectXCompiler, it is possible to easily convert HLSL DXR shaders to SPIR-V for Vulkan.

Open source NVIDIA “Nouveau” driver should trip less frequently on some GPUs running Linux 5.7

Last week, a number of new enhancements and features for open source core graphics / display drivers were merged for Linux 5.7. There were no changes to the features of the open source NVIDIA “Nouveau” driver front while this week there are at least some repairs / solutions, so it’s less buggy for some hardware.

Valve’s ACO helps the Radeon RX 5600 XT compete with NVIDIA’s RTX 2060

As shown yesterday, the new video BIOS for the Radeon RX 5600 XT together with the corrected SMC firmware on Linux provides impressive performance improvements that – like Windows – allow the card to compete better with NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2060. For Linux users, activation The valve-funded ACO compiler back end for the Radeon “RADV” Vulcan driver helps increase competition even more.

Nouveau Display CRC support is strengthened thanks to NVIDIA’s documentation

While you wait to see NVIDIA’s new open source games and finally how the re-clock situation will be addressed for Nouveau, so that modern GeForce GPUs can work at the intended frequencies on this open source Linux graphics driver stack, at least the screen support has been get into a more reliable state with CRC support on the horizon as a result of NVIDIA’s already published documentation.

Nsight Graphics 2020.1 Released with profiling for Vulkan + OpenGL Interop

NVIDIA on Thursday introduced Nsight Graphics 2020.1, which for its profile support can now handle OpenGL + Vulkan interoperability for games / applications that use both APIs. While not many game engines / apps yet use such as OpenGL 4.6 ARB_gl_spirv, Nsight is ready.

NVIDIA 440.66.09 Vulcan Driver Beta For Linux provides several solutions

NVIDIA today released new beta versions of the Vulkan drivers for Linux and Windows.

Blender 2.82 performance with NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 portable performance

For those who want to work with Blender 3D modeling from a laptop, having an NVIDIA RTX graphics processor can do wonders with the OptiX backend to dramatically increase playback time. Here’s a look at how the different rear ends compare when driving the HP ZBook 17 G6 mobile workstation with Quadro RTX 5000 graphics.

NVIDIA 440.82 Linux Driver Brings DOOM Eternal Performance Fix, Linux 5.6 Compatibility

NVIDIA today released the 440.82 Linux binary display driver as its latest stable update in the current 440 driver series.

GNOME Shell 3.35.3 Released with NVIDIA Driver Offloading, Shell + Nut Solutions

GNOME Shell 3.35.3 and Nut 3.35.3 were released today as part of the next development phase on the road to GNOME 3.36 coming out in March.


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