Why is NVIDIA's open source driver so important to Linux?

RedHat desktop 、 graphics 、 Infotainment and i18n director Christian F.K. Schaller stay Blog Shared his right to NVIDIA Open source Linux GPU Some views of kernel modules , And analyzed NVidia Open source driver pair Linux The importance of community .

What are the drivers of open source

The first thing to be clear is :NVIDIA Open source out of tree Source code kernel driver . These drivers have been tested , It's working as a data center GPU Upper support CUDA Use cases , However, graphical display is not yet supported . Although there are codes that support graphical display , But the code has not been written or fully tested .

Besides , Open source is only the kernel part , However, a large part of modern graphics drivers is in firmware and user space components , And these are still closed sources . therefore , For ordinary Linux For desktop users , at present NVIDIA Open source drivers don't bring some obvious benefits .

But anyway , Now there's one NVidia Kernel driver , It can use linux Only supported in the kernel gpl Of API , This lays the foundation for the following cutting .

Can open source drivers replace binary drivers ?

Not yet , The open source driver only supports NVidia Turing chip and newer graphics processor , That means it's good for 2018 The graphics processor didn't work before . in addition , stay The open source kernel module has been fully tested and extended , To graphically display the use case , Even if you're using Turing or a newer version of GPU, You still need to use binary drivers in the system .

Besides , As mentioned above , A large part of modern graphics drivers is in firmware and user space components , therefore , Even if the open source kernel driver has graphic display capability , Binary drivers will continue to exist .

Open source driver for Nouveau What's the impact

Nouveau Is a program designed to NVIDIA GPU Build high quality 、 Free open source driven projects , It was originally developed as a reverse engineering driver , But in recent years, it has been NVIDIA Active support of .Nouveau The function is all ready , But because you can't recalculate NVidia The clock and other functions of the graphics card are seriously hindered , This means that it cannot provide complete performance like binary drivers , this NVIDIA Open source GPU Kernel module  Nouveau Communities and projects are very helpful .

It should be noted that : Linux The kernel does not allow multiple drivers for the same hardware , So if you want a new NVidia The kernel driver is in the current Linux Run... In version , You have to quit the present Nouveau, Or at least limited to a different set of hardware . Just like binary drivers ,Nouveau A large part of is not in the kernel , But in Mesa and NVidia At present Nouveau The portion of user space found in a particular firmware .

at present NVIDIA and RadHat The plan discussed in the release is to make NVidia Binary driver and Mesa Share a kernel driver , This may be a new driver , Designed to meet both NVidia User space and Mesa User space requirements . But it may take years to achieve . This is for the open source community and NVidia There are obvious advantages . For the open source community , This means that you will now have a kernel driver and firmware , It allows you to change GPU The clock of , To provide what people expect from NVidia The display performance obtained by the graphics card , It means Linux There will be a new generation that can be accessed at the first time NVidia Hardware firmware and kernel update drivers .

Open source driver for Linux What does distribution mean ?

In the near future , It will not have a significant impact . But over time , It provides a fundamental simplification of NVidia Hardware support approach . In the long run , Users have the opportunity to NVidia Hardware access and Linux by Intel and AMD The experience provided by the hardware , That is, some functions out of the box

Open source also means Linux The distribution can support new NVIDIA chip , A high performance NVidia Open source Mesa The driver will allow Linux Signature of the release NVidia Drivers and other parts of the kernel , To achieve safe restart and other functions .

Due to the first open source driver version R515 It is for calculation GPU Of , Therefore, it can be expected that these options will also be provided to computing users first , Then provide... For graphics card users .

What's next ?

NVidia We need to continue to work hard to complete this new driver function , Whether it's calculation or graphical display of use cases . and Linux Communities and NVIDIA We need to work together to develop a plan for the future unified kernel driver , And make a model suitable for it around it . Whether it's Linux Community or NVidia, You need to add Mesa Vulkan Drivers and things like that , Similar to AMD Provide RADV The way .


Xiaobian's understanding of the driver is limited , If there are some misunderstandings , Welcome to correct and criticize . If a friend is interested in this article , It can be moved Blog Read in detail .

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