September 27, 2022


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NVIDIA officially open-sources its Linux GPU kernel module

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NVIDIA officially open-sources its Linux GPU kernel module


NVIDIA officially open-sources its Linux GPU kernel module.

On May 11, NVIDIA announced in a blog that it officially open-sourced its Linux GPU kernel module under a dual GPL/MIT license.


As we all know, unlike old rival AMD’s enthusiasm for open source, NVIDIA has been very resistant to embracing open source.

Although they provide excellent Linux driver support, their proprietary closed-source drivers have been criticized by the Linux community. For example, the famous Linus + middle finger + “So, fxxk you NVIDIA”, the Fedora project leader has also issued a document criticizing NVIDIA ‘s proprietary driver software stack.

Today, NVIDIA directly open-sources the entire Linux GPU kernel module, which is really unexpected.


NVIDIA officially open-sources its Linux GPU kernel module


Currently, the first release of this NVIDIA Open GPU kernel module is R515, which provides a fully built and packaged version of the driver in addition to the source code.

  • These codes are production ready for data center GPUs in the NVIDIA Turing and NVIDIA Ampere architecture families.
  • For GeForce and workstation GPUs, these codes are considered “alpha quality”
  • Customers with Turing and Ampere GPUs can choose which modules to install.
  • Pre-Turing customers will continue to run closed source modules.


Note: Precompiled versions of closed-source drivers and open-source kernel modules are provided in the R515 release.

These driver versions are mutually exclusive and can be selected by the user during installation.


NVIDIA officially open-sources its Linux GPU kernel module


According to NVIDIA, the move is just the first step in the company’s broader open-source initiative aimed at “improving the experience of using NVIDIA GPUs in Linux, tighter integration with the operating system, and easier developer debugging, integration, and feedback.” .


Currently, Ubuntu, Red Hat, and SUSE are all preparing to package and use the open kernel module, and Ubuntu, for example, said it will be available for the recent Ubuntu 22.04 LTS release in the short term.


But these kernel modules cannot be upstreamed yet because “the current codebase does not conform to Linux kernel design conventions”.

After all, in order to save trouble, NVIDIA’s proprietary drivers on Linux still use the same set of code across Windows / Linux / FreeBSD / Solaris platforms.

To make it upstream in the Linux kernel, more refactoring may be required to Caters to Linux. But NVIDIA says it has plans to work with the Linux kernel community to improve the situation.


The source code for this Linux GPU kernel module is currently hosted in the NVIDIA Open GPU Kernel Modules repository on GitHub .

The R515 Linux beta driver is available for download at .


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