Nouveau Driver Comes to Kernel 2.6.33

Dec 15, 2009

Good news for anyone with a NVIDIA graphics card: the Nouveau driver goes into Kernel 2.6.33 and supports DRM.

Nouveau is the free driver mainly developed by Red Hat with 2D and partial 3D support for the NVIDIA graphics cards. The nv driver currently used for 2D support is fairly old and leaves most NVIDIA cards well below their full capabilities.

Nouveau developers have now appealed to have the code of about 36,000 lines taken up in Kernel version 2.6.33, which was not previously possible in that the driver was still comprised of proprietary code, albeit a very small part. The team around David Airlie and Ben Skeggs has since outsourced this part (the ctx_voodoo microcode) in firmware that can be subsequently loaded on the current GeForce 6 cards.

The driver will first land in the staging tree, which Greg Kroah-Hartman maintains, as the drm-nouveau-pony branch. It will then flow about one or two versions later into the main branch. With the inclusion into the kernel and DRM support, most distros will shortly switch to the Nouveau driver as the standard for NVIDIA cards. Up to now only Fedora had adopted the driver that had been long classified as experimental.


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