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NVIDIA Releases Open-Source GPU Kernel Modules


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NVIDIA is now publishing Linux GPU kernel modules as open source with dual GPL/MIT license, starting with the R515 driver release. You can find the source code for these kernel modules in the NVIDIA Open GPU Kernel Modules repo on GitHub.

 

This release is a significant step toward improving the experience of using NVIDIA GPUs in Linux, for tighter integration with the OS and for developers to debug, integrate, and contribute back. For Linux distribution providers, the open-source modules increase ease of use. They also improve the out-of-the-box user experience to sign and distribute the NVIDIA GPU driver. Canonical and SUSE are able to immediately package the open kernel modules with Ubuntu and SUSE Linux Enterprise Distributions. 

 

Developers can trace into code paths and see how kernel event scheduling is interacting with their workload for faster root cause debugging. In addition, enterprise software developers can now integrate the driver seamlessly into the customized Linux kernel configured for their project.

 

This will further help improve NVIDIA GPU driver quality and security with input and reviews from the Linux end-user community.

With each new driver release, NVIDIA publishes a snapshot of the source code on GitHub. Community submitted patches are reviewed and if approved, integrated into a future driver release. 

 

Refer to the NVIDIA contribution guidelines and overview of the driver release cadence and life-cycle documentation for more information........

 

https://developer.nvidia.com/blog/nvidia-releases-open-source-gpu-kernel-modules/

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sunrat

It's a good start from Nvidia but it will be a long time before it helps us mere users.

It only will support Turing and later GPUs so tough luck if yours is pre-2018. Currently it only supports Compute functions like CUDA whereas actual Display support is experimental.

In a few years it should trickle down to an improved Nouveau driver which may be the most important aspect for normal users.

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securitybreach

Well my 1080 is supported but it will be a while before we get the drivers.

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sunrat
8 hours ago, securitybreach said:

Well my 1080 is supported but it will be a while before we get the drivers.

 

GTX1080 is Pascal, not Turing. The first Turing cards were RTX 20xx and GTX 16XX. The 515 drivers do support Pascal but not with the open kernel module.

It's only the kernel module being open sourced. Firmware and user-space components remain closed.

 

Phoronix did performance tests for the alpha driver and compared the open and closed modules. There was only a very slight lead for the closed one.

https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=nvidia-r515-open&num=1

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securitybreach

I was reading that the later Geforce series (including 1080 on a chart I seen from Nvidia) was in Alpha stage development but I would have to go through my history to find the link.

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sunrat
40 minutes ago, securitybreach said:

I was reading that the later Geforce series (including 1080 on a chart I seen from Nvidia) was in Alpha stage development but I would have to go through my history to find the link.

 

It's mentioned that it is Turing and Ampere only in both the link you posted as well as in the comments of that Phoronix article.

Hopefully it will aid Nouveau development but that could take some time.

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raymac46

I've found that if you are not gaming the Nouveau driver is OK for normal Linux use. Any Nvidia cards I have are former Windows hardware. If I were buying new for Linux and needed a discrete card I would go AMD. Just sayin'...

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securitybreach
59 minutes ago, raymac46 said:

I've found that if you are not gaming the Nouveau driver is OK for normal Linux use. Any Nvidia cards I have are former Windows hardware. If I were buying new for Linux and needed a discrete card I would go AMD. Just sayin'...

 

While I agree, I still use nvidia for now. My next one will probably be AMD though.

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sunrat
9 hours ago, raymac46 said:

I've found that if you are not gaming the Nouveau driver is OK for normal Linux use. Any Nvidia cards I have are former Windows hardware. If I were buying new for Linux and needed a discrete card I would go AMD. Just sayin'...

 

Nouveau was OK for my old GTX560 but nvidia blob definitely works better on current GTX970. For my 4K monitors the difference is chalk and cheese particularly the text rendering.

I'm ambivalent about preference between Nvidia and AMD. It would come down to cost/benefit analysis mainly if buying a new card but the open source philosophy would be a small consideration in favour of AMD. I've had a few Nvidia cards with mostly no issues.

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raymac46

Well I was using Nouveau on a GTX 650 with 1080p so I suppose I got decent support. I did put in the Nvidia blob when I installed Linux on my old Acer Veriton for the grandkids. That was with  a GTX 1060. I don't have a big problem with Nvidia either.

AMD has given great open source results but again that is on a relatively old R7 360 GPU. As far as Turing and Ampere cards go, I've read that Nouveau is dead in the water.

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V.T. Eric Layton

I've run both Nouveau and proprietary Nvidia (currently) in Slackware. I can use either, really. I don't "game" in Linux. That's the one reason I still have an installation of MS Win on my main system; it uses Nvidia proprietary drivers, for sure. The generic MS vid drivers in Windows don't cut it for gaming, I'm afraid. Sadly, though... haven't been gaming much. I can't even remember the last time I booted into Windows. ;)

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securitybreach

I just game on linux via steam+proton. I can play pretty much any window's only game that way.

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abarbarian

Never had any trouble with Nvidia drivers on any linux os I have run. Guess I must just be lucky. 😎

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raymac46
Posted (edited)

I've had problems with MX Linux when I tried to use its graphical driver manager to install the Nvidia blob. Things got totally borked. Had to go into recovery mode and purge all the corrupt drivers. Mind you this was some time ago with a brutally old desktop.

 

Edited by raymac46
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  • 2 weeks later...
sunrat
6 hours ago, crp said:

so have any gamers here tried these drivers?

 

See that Phoronix link I posted above.

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V.T. Eric Layton
20 hours ago, crp said:

so have any gamers here tried these drivers?

 

Nope. Still using the proprietary Nvidia drivers on my Win installation.

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