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30 August 2012, 14:47

Kernel Log: NVIDIA updates graphics drivers

by Thorsten Leemhuis

NVIDIA's next driver generation will no longer support GeForce series 6 and 7 graphics cards. Mesa 3D jumps to version 9.0. The kernel developers plan to drop support for i386 processors.

Graphics support

Kernel Log penguin

  • NVIDIA has released version 304.43 of its proprietary Linux drivers for x86-32 and x86-64 Linux. These drivers from the "Long Lived" branch now support the GeForce GTX 660 Ti and various Quadro graphics cards for the first time. Phoronix has got confirmation that NVIDIA will discontinue its support for GeForce series 6 and 7 graphics cards in the next generation of these drivers. However, NVIDIA plans to continue maintaining the 304 drivers as legacy drivers in the same way that the company has handled several other driver series when removing the support for older graphics cores.
  • Planned for around October, the next release of Mesa will become version 9.0 rather than 8.1. Ian Romanick also announced that in this version, all drivers that currently support OpenGL 3.0 will likely implement 3.1. The next generation of Mesa will also support MSAA (multi-sample anti-aliasing) for some of the recent Radeon graphics cores – including the Evergreen generation (many Radeon series 5000 cards). In a blog post, Romanick also announced that the drivers for the graphics cores in Intel's Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors are now officially considered OpenGL ES 2.0-conformant. Version 2.20.5 of Intel's driver for the X Server mainly offers bug fixes. Daniel Vetter has released version 1.3 of the intel-gpu-tools – a collection of tools for testing and debugging Intel GPUs and their drivers.
  • David Herrmann, main developer of Kmscon, has recently provided background information on its development – Kmscon is a simple terminal emulator that can, in principle, replace the currently kernel-driven Virtual Terminals (VT) that are selectable with keyboard combinations such as Ctrl + F1 to F7. Like Wayland, Kmscon uses KMS (Kernel-based Mode-Setting) and the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) of Linux, which allows it to access the graphics hardware's acceleration features to output to displays. Kmscon supports hotplugging and can handle language input and output in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, which the kernel's console emulator doesn't offer.
  • In libdrm 2.4.39, the library's Radeon driver supports the PRIME infrastructure that is designed to improve the system's hybrid graphics support.
  • In a presentation, Phoronix has learnt that version 1.0 of the designated X Server successor, Wayland, is scheduled to be released in just a month or two.

Next: Btrfs analytical tool, driver backporting, i386 support

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