Open source Linux driver supports 3D acceleration with all GeForce GPUs

The Nouveau drivers in stable Linux kernel versions already support the acceleration features of all GeForce chips; however, with some current mid-range and high-end cards, the features could previously only be used after making manual adjustments. This is due to acceleration only being available with the firmware from NVIDIA’s proprietary graphics driver for the GF119 Fermi graphics core (for example used in GeForce GT 520, 520M, 520MX and 610M cards) that is part of the NVC0 family. The same applies for Kepler chips in the NVE0 family (for example used in GeForce GTX 670, 670M, 680, 680M, 690 cards). This firmware can’t simply be obtained from the driver archive or downloaded from the internet; instead, prospective users must install the NVIDIA drivers and then laboriously extract the firmware when initialising the graphics hardware. However, just before New Year’s Eve (and therefore after the completion of the main development phase of Linux 3.8), Linus Torvalds integrated various modifications that were mainly written by Red Hat employee Ben Skeggs and which enable the Nouveau driver itself to supply a firmware for the mentioned graphics chips (1, 2). For other GeForce graphics cores, the driver has offered all the necessary components for some time.