Collabora Announces NVK, a New Open-Source Vulkan Driver for NVIDIA Hardware in Mesa


Collabora’s Jason Ekstrand announced today a new Vulkan graphics driver for NVIDIA hardware called NVK, which will be implemented in the Mesa open-source graphics stack for everyone to enjoy.

We all know that NVIDIA GPUs don’t receive enough support from the Linux and Open Source community, at least not until NVIDIA finally decided to open source their graphics drivers. The open-source Nouveau driver lacks new hardware support and features, at least compared to the open-source drivers available for AMD and Intel GPUs.

This is where NVK comes into play, written almost entirely from scratch by Collabora’s Jason Ekstrand, as well as Red Hat’s Karol Herbst and Dave Airlie, using the new official headers from NVIDIA. NVK aims to be the new reference Vulkan driver for NVIDIA hardware and will ship with an upcoming Mesa graphics stack release.

“The unfortunate reality is that, while the original nouveau drivers were written by some amazing engineers and were state-of-the-art a decade ago, they have fallen behind in the last several years,” said Jason Ekstrand. “One of my personal goals for NVK is for it to become the new reference Vulkan driver within Mesa. To that end, I’m building NVK with all the best practices we’ve developed for Vulkan drivers over the last 7.5 years and trying to keep the code-base clean and well-organized.”

NVK has been in development for the past couple of months and currently comes with a very basic set of features and it supports NVIDIA Turing and later architectures. Support for Kepler, Maxwell, and Pascal NVIDIA GPU architectures is coming too, hopefully before it is ready for mass deployment in an upcoming Mesa release.

But, if you can’t wait until NVK hits the streets, you can give it a try right now by pulling and compiling the nvk/main branch from the nouveau/mesa project. If you do try it out, its creators welcome any contributions from the Open Source and Linux communities, so just head to Jason Ekstrand’s blog post for more details on that.

Image credits: Collabora

Last updated 1 year ago

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